School is almost out here in Arizona (8 days left!) and then summer break will be upon us. Normally, we’d have a short 7 weeks of summer here, since we are on a modified year ’round schedule, but since we are moving after school is done to Pennsylvania, my kids won’t be going back to school until the end of August, leaving them with a whopping 14 weeks of summer break- 14 WEEKS!! WHAATT? Yes, that is a long time- not only for me but for their little brains. The summer slide is a real thing- kids are less busy, routines get thrown out the window and parents expectations often sink wayyyy down. It is definitely a GOOD thing to give your kids time just to relax and play, but the last thing we want is for them to head back to school in the fall and have a hard time getting started again. The thing that’s nice about the shorter summer is there is less time for the summer slide to happen, but with this extended summer, or if you live in a place with a more traditional school schedule, then the possibility of your kids losing knowledge over the summer is a real thing, but have no fear! I have come up with 25 fun and SIMPLE ways to keep your kids brain engaged over the summer, that won’t be painful for you or them.
Many children, especially struggling readers, forget some of what they’ve learned or slip out of practice during the summer months. Having taught first grade for so long, I saw this first hand. The summer slide doesn’t only happen in reading though (but a reading slip the the worst one to have happen, in my opinion), it can happen in any and all subjects. Preventing the summer slide doesn’t have to be boring though, check out these ways to keep your kid’s brains sharp and fresh in fun ways that they won’t mind doing:
1. Read, read read! Anything and everything- books, cereal boxes, comics, magazines, restaurant menus- anything! Block out some “reading time” everyday, even 15 minutes where everyone reads- yes even you mom! Reading is the #1 way you can help prevent your kids from losing valuable skills over the summer.
2. Join a summer reading program at your local library, often they have prizes for reading a certain number of books
3. Read aloud to you kids, or have them read aloud to you!
4. Cook with your kids– they will be working on reading, math and practice following directions.
5. Plant a garden
6. Visit a museum (art, science, children’s) and discuss what you see
7. Visit the zoo and learn about the animals
8. Go on a hike and discuss the plants and animals around you
9. Go geocaching!
10. Play card games like concentration, war or crazy 8’s.
11. Compete a REALLY big puzzle together!
12. Take pictures of what you did and make a summer scrapbook
13. Play some educational apps
14. Have a lemonade stand to work on some money skills
15. Volunteer at a local community food bank or visit a nursing home and read to the residents
16. Keep active in sports or camps
17. Do arts and crafts projects
18. Have your kids author their own books and read them to you
19. Read maps when you take a road trip
20. Create a summer journals and have your kids write abut what you did together or at home
21. Have a “book reading” competition – Create a challenge with your kids to read a certain number of books or minutes. Decide ahead of time what their “prize” will be if they complete the challenge: maybe a special trip, or a new toy or a new book- whatever they pick!
22. Build legos
23. Go see a play or a musical
24. Do some science experiences
25. Play board games
So now with these 25 fun and SIMPLE ideas, there is no reason for your kids to have the summer slide. The very most important thing for you to do is make sure your kids are reading- anything and everything.