Everyone loves summer break, especially students. Just watch students on the last day of school; they grin from ear to ear as they throw papers in the air and backpacks under the bed or in the trash. It is a time to celebrate. The lazy and hazy days of summer are about to begin. However, as much fun as summer can be with swimming, video games and vacations, it is not the time to stop learning.
The summer slide or summer setback is a real phenomenon that occurs each year. Specifically, students often lose math skills and most disadvantaged youth lose both math and literacy skills. After this particular school year with remote learning and disruptions occurring regularly, most students are already behind in some areas. Summer time offers an opportunity to dig deeper into topics that hold your child’s interest. With more time to explore, now is the time to read, take a coding class, create artwork, and discover a new talent.
So, in addition to the usual summer pastimes of swimming and video games, here are a few activities that will add learning and fun to your kids’ summer.
One way to approach the summer slide is to create a well-rounded weekly routine that includes all aspects of your child’s education. You can begin with Math Mondays. Not certain how to keep your child engaged with Math? Common Sense Media for an array of math games and apps for all ages.
You can also create math games that include physical activity. Cut-out puddles using blue construction paper. Add a number to each puddle. Place the puddles on the sidewalk and begin the game by calling out a math problem such as what is 6×8? The child must then jump to the puddle with the correct answer. This game requires exercise for the brain and the body.
Another math game that is a lot of fun but doesn’t require physical activity is a secret code game. Begin by writing a secret message your child must decode in order to read. First, decide what your message will be, assigning a number to each letter in your message. Create math equations that match the answers needed to reveal the message. Then, create a decoder list that includes each letter of the alphabet your child will use to decode the message. You can even give your child extra incentive by making the secret message the Wi-Fi password for the day.
Create a toolkit loaded with art supplies including markers, scraps of material, pom poms, paint, paint brushes, glitter, glue, construction paper, tape, yarn, sewing supplies, buttons and more. Put your toolkit to use and add to your child’s creativity by checking out Art Projects for Kids. These projects range from simple three step creations to more involved masterpieces.
Art can also include baking. What better way to spend time with your kids than to create a homemade cake or pie? You can begin with an easy recipe and then as your children improve their skills, you can add recipes that require more involvement. From Pixie Dust Cookies to Snickerdoodle Apple Dump Cake, you’re sure to find recipes that the entire family can devour. Baking is also a great way to encourage math skills since your children will need to understand measurements. Once they become experts in the kitchen, you can encourage them to double a recipe or reduce it in half.
If you’d like a different kind of entertainment, find a good book. When was the last time you took a visit to your local library? The librarian will show you the latest books for both children and adults and even make suggestions according to your child’s preferences. You can take the book to the beach or pool. And, once your child finishes it, she can keep track of what she liked (or didn’t like) about it in a journal.
Wednesdays can focus on writing skills. Encourage your child to write in a journal as a way to help improve his or her writing. If your children are willing to share their writing with someone else, their writing improves even more. Writing with an audience in mind helps develop stronger skills.
Bullet journals have become popular with all ages because of their creativity and usefulness. Wednesdays can be the day to create pages in the bullet journal. It is also a way to use some material from your ready-made toolkit to decorate the pages in the journal. The best part about a bullet journal is the freedom your children have to make it their own.
Technology Thursday does not mean send your children off with a tablet in hand and let them play games; they have the entire summer to do that. Create a technology day with purpose. Learning to code is more than just technical skills, it introduces children to building logic and creative thinking. Skills that are necessary in school and the workplace. Through the use of puzzles, riddles, coding games, and other types of challenges, coding teaches skills like problem-solving, patience, creativity, and persistence. Even children in preschool can begin to learn the concepts of coding. Learning how computers work and technology in general will give your child an advantage in school and in life. Many free sources are available online such as code.org and scratch.mit.org.
Most children already feel comfortable using technology, so you can increase their skills by choosing a coding course for kids. This site will let you see some of the options available for children of all ages.
The summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and try a new activity along with some tried and true fun. From flying a kite, riding bikes, taking a hike to planting a garden, the summer allows you to find fun in a variety of outdoor activities.
A great way to build coordination and maybe a little competition is to create an obstacle course. You can have your children help you create a course in your backyard. They can circle around lawn chairs, hop over cones, and crawl under a sliding board. Time your kids going through the course the first time and then see if each one can beat their first time. Depending on the number of children in your backyard, you can create teams where they encourage each other through the obstacles.