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5 Fun and Easy Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

posted: 06/01/16
by: Amanda Mushro

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks." Your kids have probably been chanting this phrase since, well, spring break as they're looking forward to warmer weather and lesson-free days. And though every parents wants their kids to enjoy every minute of their summer, at the same time, they don't want them to forget everything they learned during this school year.

Summer slide, which refers the fact that students, especially those from low-income families, fall behind on math and reading over the summer, is real. Research shows that the first six weeks of the new school year is often focused on relearning old material because 25% of academic learning is lost during the summer. But the good news is you can stop the summer slide with just a few fun and easy activities (no summer camp required). Try these to keep your kids' brains sharp while school's out for summer.

Start a mom and me journal

This simply journal is an easy way to keep your kids writing all summer and a fun way to learn a little more about them. Each week, write a few questions and a few writing prompts in a journal and pass it over to your child. Ask them to write a few sentences every day to answer the questions and encourage to write questions for you, too. Share stories of your favorite summer activities and what you liked to do when you were their age. For kids new to reading, have them draw pictures instead of writing words. If you're reading a book together, ask a few questions about the book and encourage them come up with different characters or endings for the book to keep those little brains thinking all summer.

Update your apps

If your kids are like mine and love their iPads, then use it to prevent summer slide. Take the time to update all of the apps your kids are using on their iPads, tablets, and computers. Sure all those games are fun, but start adding educational apps that match their grade level and get rid of any apps that are too easy for them. When they ask for screen time, encourage them to try these new apps rather than watch a show. Sit down with them and try the new apps out, too. Some of our favorites include The Magic School Bus: Oceans by Scholastic, Dexteria Dots 2, and Stack the States (this one is great for road trips).

Read every day

The easiest things you can do for your child is to read to them every day, and if they are old enough, have them read to you every day. Get that library card out and make frequent trips to grab new books and to check out any local and inexpensive educational programs in your neighborhood. So say yes to a reading a few more books at night. Come one, Mom, it's not a school night!

Create self-driven incentives

Don't put all the responsibility of summer learning on you. Give your kids a fun way to stay motivated. For younger kids, create reading charts they can mark when they complete tasks, add reading and writing to their to-do list of chores, or create motivation by helping them reach goals for rewards. If they read five books, they get to pick a special treat or choose the activity for the day. Make it fun and easy for everyone, and you're sure to see results.

Set goals for yourself

Let's be realistic. It's summer and your schedule is probably a lot more relaxed than during the school year. So set realistic goals for yourself when it comes to your kid's summer learning. Set a calendar reminder with weekly or bi-weekly goals you'd like to reach. Is it a certain number of books read? Maybe a few science experiments that you do together? If you don't meet the goals, don't stress, just set new goals for the following week. Trips to a local museum or zoo, cooking classes, or even backyard gardening sessions are all easy ways for your child to learn outside of the classroom.