4 Ways to Keep Your Child Learning All Summer Long
Summertime is an excellent opportunity for children to get some well-deserved rest from regular school assignments, quizzes, and projects. However, taking a full-on break from learning may not be the route you want your kids to take. Summer learning loss in children can lead to setbacks that could affect how well they do in the school year. Research suggests that elementary-aged children who experience summer learning loss make up at least half of the achievement gap in reading at a 9th-grade level.
So how can you give your kids a balance between a restful summer while still helping them to keep up with their learning? Here are four ways to keep your child learning all summer long.
After a long school year, your child has earned a break from the typical weekly routine, so look for creative ways to keep them learning without having to sit in a classroom most of the day. When it comes to something like math, don't give your children a lecture then practice equations from a book. Instead, get your kids involved in math-related activities like cooking. For example, give your child a recipe for something you'd like to make, then ask them to help you divide it by half. This will give them a chance to flex their math skills while also learning about food and nutrition. You could also take an activity that your child already likes and turn it into a learning opportunity. For instance, one teacher took water bottle flipping and turned it into a math activity. There are also many free math worksheets that you can find online to download and print for your kids to do at home.
Spend Time Outside
Spending plenty of time enjoying the outdoors is exactly what summer calls for, especially in those states where it's cold for half of the year. Encourage your child to spend time outside playing and exploring your yard or at local parks. More than playtime, there are many ways that kids can spend time outside while learning. Take your kids on a picnic at a local park or even your backyard, and bring books that you can read together outside. If your child is curious about what kinds of animals and plants live near your home, give them a book that they can take outside and identify many different species.
Field trips are fascinating for many children during the school year, so keep up with that tradition throughout the summer. Going to museums and historical sites in or near your hometown can help your child learn about history, both local and beyond. You could also visit your local library to pick up some more reading materials, head to a local beach to swim and learn about marine life, or contact a local farm to see if you can bring your child for a visit.
Let Them Socialize
As a parent, your summer schedule is likely to be very busy already, particularly if you are managing a job and other responsibilities on top of parenting. Learning isn't just about math and reading; learning how to socialize is also very important for children. Talk to other parents about setting up play dates where your child and spend time learning and playing with other children. Summer day camps and overnight camps also provide a great opportunity for your child to socialize and learn new things. If you hire a full-time nanny or babysitter, discuss ways that they can incorporate learning into their time with your child throughout the summer.
Keeping your child learning all summer long isn't hard, but it will take some dedication on your part as a parent. Think of creative ways to blend learning with summertime fun by spending time outside, taking trips, and hanging out with friends.