20 Super Easy Ways To Keep Students Learning This Summer
Summer is here!
Kids are ready to relax on the couch and watch Netflix. They are ready to do whatever they want without as much daily structure.
While it is much easier for us as parents to allow our children to entertain themselves throughout the summer break, it does not help prepare them for their upcoming school year. It is quite the opposite actually. Research has shown that students who are not academically active over the summer can forget things they have learned and even fall behind their peers. Teachers call this regression the “summer slide.”
At the same time, we also don’t want our kids to feel like they are in school all year long. How can we keep our kids academically active without boring them with worksheets and grammar exercises?
I’ve done some research, and here are a few of the top ideas to keep your kids learning over the summer.
Read Read Read!
I wrote this one first because I just cannot stress it enough. Get your kids reading! It doesn’t matter what, it doesn’t matter how. Let them read novels, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, whatever they like. Kids who read a lot over the summer come to school far more prepared for the year than those who do not.
Help your kids create a reading nook. Allow them to be creative in where it is (indoor/outdoor), and what is inside it (beanbag chair, cozy blankets, reading light, anything). Giving them a special place to read makes a summer of reading way more fun!
Writing does not have to be boring! Most kids enjoy writing once they have enough confidence in their abilities. Not everyone loves to write, but giving kids ownership over the writing helps a lot.
Most kids would not be excited if you told them they If had to write one essay per week this summer – but you could tell them to write one story a week. If your student struggles with an open-ended writing piece, Story Cubes are a fun way to help them with ideas.
Creative writing can also be fun in a group. I have done “sentence stories” with students are all ages – up to high school. I give the kids starter elements. (I used Story Cubes to come up with a character or a place.) Sit in a circle. Each person writes one sentence, then the story gets passed to the next person. The stories end up crazy because everyone adds just one sentence, which doesn’t allow one person to really lead the story idea.
If your student doesn’t enjoy creative writing, have them write about a topic of his or her choice. Some kids prefer nonfiction over fiction, so this allows students to practice organizing paragraphs and their ideas.
You can also have your kids write letters to friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, whomever! Students could even write letters to themselves in a journal. They could write about their summer activities (or what they wish they were doing over summer.)
I know what you are thinking, “Math over the summer?!” Math is so easy to add to daily life that kids won’t even realize they are doing it.
With a bit of forethought, you can make a trip to the grocery store about math. Students can help you keep track of your spending by rounding prices and adding them. Older students can help you determine which brand or size is the best deal by figuring our price per ounce.
Cooking is another great way to practice math. Students can measure the ingredients and learn to visualize fractions. Double a recipe to have students practice adding fractions.
They could also figure out how much food you need to serve guests at a summer get together. For example, if a recipe makes 5 servings, but you have 18 people, how much should you make?
Board games and card games are another easy way to practice math without kids realizing it, Yahtzee is one of my favorites for practicing adding and multiplication. Any board game that requires players to count spaces would be great for younger kids. Games that involve money, such as Monopoly or Life, also help practice math skills.
There are so many things you can do outside with your kids that are “accidentally educational.”
- Letting your kids enjoy free play outside encourages creativity and playing together.
- Gardening is a bit of a challenge in some areas, but giving your kids a few seeds and the tools they need to be a success can be a huge thing for them. If you make it clear that the garden (or a specific part) is their responsibility, you can watch them rise to the occasion and care for those little seeds.
- Head to your local craft store and let your kids make their own bird feeder. Get them a bird book and let them learn to identify the different flying visitors.
- Set up an obstacle course for your child. American Ninja Warrior has some elaborate obstacles, but even a simple balance beam can help kids improve their physical abilities.
Work on Specific Skills
Was there a particular subject that your child struggled with this school year? Now is the time to help them through it. They can then walk into their next grade confident and ready, having mastered all the content of the previous grade.
Fun at Home
There is so much you can do at home that keeps your kid’s minds engaged and learning. Here are a few of my favorites.
- There is nothing like a good, messy science project on the driveway to get your kids excited. Go to https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/ for some great ideas!
- Give your kids the supplies they need to make puppets and a stage and watch as they come up with funny stories and conversations.
- Give your kids your old digital camera and buy them the supplies they need to make a fun scrapbook to remember the awesome summer you had!
- Have your child do a Genius Hour/ passion project. Is your child really into Lego? Create a Lego station just for them! Have a child who is really into space? Get them a rocket kit. Your kids finally have time to really work on something they enjoy, encourage that!
- Pop some popcorn, grab some candy, and sit with your kids while they watch a film. After the movie is over, ask your kids questions about the movie. What was the theme? Which characters were the protagonist and antagonist? What was their favorite part of the movie? Why? There is plenty to be learned from a good movie.
- Stock up on craft supplies and let your children create whatever their creative hearts desire.
There is so much that we can do with our kids over the summer to keep their minds engaged and active. Allowing our kids to sit on the couch and lounge all summer long is a disservice to them.
What do you do with your kids over the summer? Comment below and let me know!