Don’t let your kids fall down the summer slide! Try these super-simple tips and keep their brains active and learning all summer long.
One summer, my daughter was writing a letter to a friend who lived far away. When she was done, she asked if she could read it to me…but then couldn’t.
She couldn’t read her own handwriting anymore!
That’s when I realized we’d fallen victim to the dreaded summer slide. We’d been so caught up in our summer fun that year, we hadn’t kept up with reading, writing, or anything learning at all!
Luckily, beating the summer slide is easy, but it does take regular, conscious effort.
WHAT IS THE SUMMER SLIDE?
To sum it up, the summer slide is basically summer learning loss. It’s important to remember that the skills our kids are learning in school are still being developed. They’re not second-nature yet.
And that means they need consistent practice – even if it’s just a little bit each day.
As a former music teacher, I saw the summer slide happen all the time in my students. Their routines changed over the summer and practicing their instruments slid into the background. But avoiding learning loss can be as simple as 10-30 minutes per day!
The same goes for academic learning.
I have 4 kids, and I have no desire to do a full curriculum over the summer. It’s summer break after all. “Break” being the key word!
But that doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze a few simple activities into our summer routine to keep our brains active.
7 EASY WAYS TO BEAT THE SUMMER SLIDE
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To help beat the summer slide this year, try creating space in your daily routine for learning time. It can be anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour or more (including reading time).
Here are 7 ideas your kids can try during learning time. They’re short and easy, but effective enough to keep their minds sharp!
(These ideas are meant for elementary-aged children.)
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and go through flashcards. Depending on your child’s age, you can do them together or they can do them on their own.
There are so many types of flashcards to choose from. Younger kids can benefit from flashcards with animals, shapes, colors, numbers or everyday items. Older kids can do addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, patterns, time, money, etc.
2. PRACTICE HANDWRITING
Kids don’t have too many chances to write over the summer, and their handwriting can get pretty sloppy without practice.
So during learning time, have them fill up a piece of notebook paper with anything they can think of for the day. (For my older kids, I have them fill up the front and back.)
They can write random words or sentences or they can write a story. They can also use it as an opportunity to practice journaling. (You can get summer journal pages with prompts as a part of the Ultimate Summer Boredom Buster Kit here.)
To take summer learning up a notch, have kids work on simple worksheets over the summer. There are workbooks like these, worksheet bundles like these, or even packets at the dollar store! (You can find flash cards there too!)
To keep it from becoming overwhelming, I just have my kids do one page per day.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to find reading on this list. It’s the easiest way to keep brains active over the summer!
Reading can be a part of learning time, an afternoon quiet time or even a bedtime routine. And to keep kids excited about reading, be sure to check your local library or bookstore for fun summer reading programs or try this Summer Reading Challenge.
5. CREATIVE TIME
For creative time, set the timer for 30 minutes to 1 hour and let kids pick one activity that requires them to be creative. This could be coloring, building with building sets, playing with playdough, art, or anything that gets their imaginations going.
Cooking doesn’t have to be an official part of “learning time”, but can fit naturally into your week.
Find a time to let the kids be more involved with cooking, following recipes or even planning the meals and groceries.
7. TIME MANAGEMENT
Summer break often comes with more relaxed schedules. And this makes it too easy to forget about practicing time management skills.
Here are some ideas to keep kids learning these important skills:
- Use timers.
- Have them do chores.
- Have them help with daily cleanup.
- Create a daily routine for the family.
- Establish a simple morning routine for kids.
- Help them learn good screen time habits.
FITTING SUMMER LEARNING ACTIVITIES INTO THE DAY
Between summer activities, friends and relaxing, it might seem intrusive to add learning activities to the mix. But it doesn’t have to be anything big to be effective.
For example, this is how our “Learning Time” usually looks:
- Flash Cards: 5 minutes
- Handwriting: 10-15 minutes
- Worksheet: 5-10 minutes
For reading, we usually aim for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. Everything else we just work into our daily routine, which often needs to be flexible since it’s summer!
SUMMER READING CHALLENGE
I know how busy summers can get. So if you only pick one thing to focus on this summer, let it be reading.
Try this fun Summer Reading Challenge and get kids discovering all sorts of new books!
Reading is powerful enough to help fight the effects of the summer slide. For even more ways to make summer reading fun, head to this post.
What are some of your kids’ favorite books right now? Let me know in the comments!
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