Children who suffer from the “summer slide” or summer learning loss every year are likely to end up 2-3 years behind their peers by the time they reach 6th grade! 🤯 WHAT!!! 🤯 Now that is something we should all know and care about. I know, as adults summer seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. So how much can a child really “slide” education-wise during those hot, short months? As a kid, however, I remember summer lasting FOREVER! By the time August rolled around and I was expected to sit in a classroom again, I was all but ready. So, what can we do as our children’s first and best teachers to help them keep up the skills they’ve learned while also enjoying a summer break? Don’t fret—I have five easy tips for you to follow this summer!
Make Reading Fun
One of my best memories of summer growing up is spending time in the library. I am from Arizona, so summertime is about being inside with good A/C or outside in the pool. Spending summer days in the library has become a tradition with my own children. Together with my little ones, we create a reading challenge. We all set a goal for how many books we want to finish and how many minutes we will read per day. Then, we make a game plan. We plan to hit the library every week to either refresh our bookbags or spend some quiet, refreshing time reading. Every couple of weeks, my kids look back on the books they’ve read and rank them from best to worst. This is also a good time to work on reading comprehension. We talk about what we liked or didn’t like about each book. Starting in our June boxes, Learning with Kelsey subscribers will get their own summer reading challenge sheet! This is because I know just how important it is to keep up on those reading skills, but I also know that it can be hard to motivate a child who is on “break”.
Set Aside Time for Structured Learning
Sure, your child may not be super excited to have “school time” on summer break, but bring in fun activities and their attitudes will change. For example, each Learning with Kelsey box comes with 8 units that teach your child so many important skills. However, these skills aren’t taught through worksheets or boring lessons. Each skill is taught through a carefully curated activity that allows your child to learn without even realizing it. Set an expectation with your kids that you will have about 30 minutes of planned learning time each day. Make it easy on yourself by having all the activities and supplies delivered to you in a box each month!
Use Math in Fun, New Ways
James Kim, Ed.D., an assistant professor of education at Harvard University, notes that math skills are “very susceptible to decay without frequent practice." So, what can we do other than handing our child a worksheet that will likely not be completed? Try working math into games! I love the game Sorry! for this reason. It forces my kids to count, add, and subtract. They also have to problem solve by deciding which pawn they want to move and how many spaces they should move each one. Learning with Kelsey monthly subscription boxes always come with counting, number, and math practice. Some of my preschoolers' favorite activities include ones with the counting cubes. They love stacking them and choosing the colors. We like to work on patterns as well with counting cubes or bears!
Keep Practicing Letters—Summer Style
There are so many fun ways to practice letters. For instance, try tracing letters in different mediums. This summer, try finding different tracing mediums everywhere you go! Taking a trip to the beach? Have your child practice writing their name or other letters in the sand! Then, pack up a plastic baggie full of sand to practice back at home! On a hike? Gather some dried leaves, crunch them up at home, and practice tracing in that. Another fun way to practice letters is by creating letters with different items or toys. Try making letters with shells from the beach, rocks collected on a walk, or whatever else you find on your summer escapades!
Finally, problem-solving skills are so important. They are also so easy to practice and bring into your daily activities. One easy way to do this is with puzzles! Take your kids to the thrift store, dollar store, or your local Target (and get yourself something) ;) and grab a couple of new puzzles. The novelty of them will make your kids excited to get to work! Puzzles help your child test out ideas and problem solve. Another great problem-solving activity that your kids will certainly love is an obstacle course! Get out some large pillows, chairs, or anything else your child can climb over or scoot under. Set up a course together! You can also set up obstacles outside and incorporate refreshing water activities. Then, have a challenge timing each other as you go through. For added fun, go through the course at different speeds or imitating different animals!
I hope this blog helps you feel prepared to keep encouraging your curious little learners. You’ve got this, I know it! 😉