Summer break is for sleeping in, adventure, popsicles and running through sprinklers but it’s also an important time to prevent summer learning loss. You’re probably familiar with all the popular phrases: Summer slide, Summer brain drain, Summer setback. Research shows that on average, 2 months of reading skills are lost, 2.6 months of math skills are lost and 6 weeks in the Fall are spent re-learning old material. It is crucial that children continue to learn and practice skills, especially reading and math, over the summer months to prevent this summer slide. Here are 5 tips to help prevent it and turn brain drain into brain gain!
1. Disguise Learning as Fun Think back to when you were sneaking veggies into your kids’ meals to maximize nutrition while going to lengths to disguise their greens as a different food entirely. The same idea goes for summer learning! Ask yourself what it is your kids like to do; what are they interested in? Perhaps it is video games, or maybe its Legos, comics, drawing or crossword puzzles. Zero in on what they think is fun, then have them do some online research on the topic.
2. Improve Reading Comprehension Summertime can make reading more enjoyable because it gives students opportunities to read books that aren’t assigned for school, and to read in places other than school. Students can read outside: in a park, the backyard, or while on a camping trip. They can spend long car rides listening to audiobooks or reading silently. When selecting books, it’s important to make sure your child is excited by the content. Also, make sure the reading material will stretch your child’s skills, introducing new words and ideas.
3. Encourage Creative Writing Encourage all types of writing to help your child find his or her voice from poems to cartoons. If your child is experiencing writer’s block you can help by introducing new and exciting topics and ideas. Journal writing can start from a young age and will encourage your child to write freely, creating a love for expression and the written word.
4. Develop Math Skills One way to inspire students to practice math skills throughout the summer is to connect math to everyday life. Chores like sorting laundry reinforce geometrical principles like distinguishing shapes based on their characteristics. Math, however, can also be part of play. Figuring out how to get to a friend’s house requires using directions and determining how long it takes to travel certain distances. You can also encourage kids to play dice and card games during the summer because that helps them practice their number sense. Make it joyful. Make it fun.
5. Encourage STEM thinking You can boost STEAM thinking at home by encouraging your child’s natural questioning and curiosity. Instead of giving them the answer or solution to a problem immediately, encourage your child to come up with several possible solutions on their own.
Green Kid Crafts Discovery Boxes are a fun and easy way to keep your child engaged through hands-on exploration and STEAM discovery. Each package contains the materials and easy to follow, step-by-step instructions. Your child can build their own Newton’s Cradle or learn all about amphibians. Or launch into STEM by creating their own electric car! Check them out here: https://www.greenkidcrafts.com/shop/
Penny Bauder, a mom of two and an environmental scientist with a passion for STEAM education, is the founder of Green Kid Crafts, a green company that provides kids with convenient and sustainable STEAM activities through the company’s subscription program. The company has shipped over 2 million packages around the world designed to help inspire the next generations of environmental leaders. Penny was a winner of Entrepreneur’s “Build it Like a Woman” Inspiring Woman in Business Award, the Startup Nation Leading Moms in Business Competition and a recipient of the Female Founder Fellowship at the Founder’s Institute. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Management and an M.S. in Environmental Science.