Water slides and park slides are fun additions to summer vacation. But there’s one kind of slide you should avoid: the summer slide. When kids are out of school and on summer vacation, they tend to lose over two months of knowledge from the school year before. This is commonly referred to as the “summer slide.”
Here are a few ways that you can help keep the summer slide from affecting your kids.
- Get involved with a community education group.
Many communities offer summer courses for kids to help them continue to learn and grow. These classes tend to be more interactive than the typical school model, plus they start later and end earlier than the normal school day. Community classes also give your kids the opportunity to stay connected with their friends and meet new pals during the summer months. Check with your local school districts, parks and rec departments or the closest YMCA for summer options.
- Go on a family field trip.
Visit a local museum, aquarium or zoo. Better yet, plan a monthly excursion to one of these fun and educational destinations, and have your child keep a journal of their experiences. Have the kids take part in the planning and create a summer bucket list they help design. Not only will this mean fun family outings for everyone, but your child will be able to expand their mind and knowledge and learn a bit about history, wildlife and other topics they find interesting. Bonus: when they go back to school, they can share their experiences with their classmates.
- Plant a garden.
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the literal fruits of your labor. Planting a garden teaches your child responsibility and patience—plus it’s fun. Watch the plants grow and you may eventually be able to use them in your meals if you plant vegetables or herbs. Your kids will feel pride knowing they accomplished something that you were then able to use in your everyday life. Plus, gardening is a healthy outdoor activity for the whole family—providing a variety of health benefits including weight loss, decreased stress and lower blood pressure.
- Keep skills strong through play.
Play a math game or use flashcards to keep your child’s number skills top notch. Just as you have to practice to be good at a sport, math skills must be practiced in order to get better. There are tons of games and flashcards available today that enhance a child’s math skills. You can also schedule a fun weekly family game night (try playing outside for a fun twist) with board games or card games that use numbers such as UNO, Monopoly, Yahtzee and more. And when you’re hitting the road for those summer road trips, bring along some games for the car that develop the brain in many ways—there are dozens of free options online. Schedule dedicated time each week to play and learn.
- Read something every day.
Reading is a hobby that should be nurtured and encouraged year-round. Kids who read at least six books during the summer months went back to school better prepared for the year ahead and needed less time to get back into the school work routine. Plus, reading expands one’s mind and helps to grow imagination. Reading just 20 minutes each day will help increase your child’s reading tests scores and expose them to 1.8 million words a year. To make it a challenge, consider joining your local library’s summer reading program with challenges that offer prizes as incentives. Or, create your own reward system for dedicated daily reading.
Don’t let your child fall behind during the summer months. Have fun and keep their brains active to avoid the summer slide so they can succeed and keep their brains active year-round.