Research has shown that many students lose academic skills over the summer vacation. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Summer learning – and keeping those skills sharp and ready to go for the fall – can be a whole family endeavor that’s fun and goes beyond your typical book report assignment or summer math packet!
Below are some activities that engage a variety of thinking skills. There are endless possibilities and teachable moments within daily life and routines; it’s just a matter of finding what piques your child’s curiosity and engagement!
- Have your school age child help you cook breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Measurement skills, fractions skills, and reinforcement of visual-spatial and counting skills are targeted as well as reading to perform a task; not to mention, your child is fast becoming a cook.
- Grocery shopping is something that we all have to do and provides an opportunity for working on estimation skills, counting skills and budgeting all while developing the grocery list and filling the cart.
- Sorting and rolling coins you’ve been collecting during the year is a great way to practice counting with and adding money. Your child might earn a percentage of the total value of the coins rolled, which is another teachable moment. You can also use coins (or dice or dominoes) to practice subitizing.
- Younger children often enjoy setting and/or clearing the table. Ask them to count how many utensils and/or plates and glasses are used during a meal. Sorting skills can be practiced if utensils are loaded into the dishwasher by category, for example, all the forks are placed together, etc.
- If you are traveling on a trip or even in a car or subway for errands, this is an excellent time to practice using elapsed time skills. You might say to your child, if we leave the house at 10:30 a.m. and it will take us 45 minutes to get there, what time will we arrive? Or, we need to be at your friend’s house at 11:00 a.m. and it takes us 30 minutes to get there. What time do we need to leave the house?
Reading and Writing
- If your family is planning a trip during the summer, consider having a family book club and reading about the area you will be visiting.
- Identify a book of interest to the whole family and hold read aloud time, with each family member reading a portion of the text, as appropriate. Discussion can follow with predictions made about the plot or character’s actions or choices. This is a great way to engage family members of varying ages.
- If a family member or close friend is traveling, ask them to send postcards from each location they visit. Ask your youngest child to try and read the message and then identify the location on a map.
- Students of all ages can have a pen-pal that they write to using paper and pencil and/or email. Identify a relative who is committed to developing a pen pal relationship – it’s a win-win venture.
- Don’t forget to visit the public library – many offer a variety of programs during the summer.
- Ask your child to write, direct and produce a small play. Don’t forget to reinforce that there needs to be a beginning, middle and end.
- It’s fun for students of all ages to develop a picture book. An older child could write the story while the younger child dictates it. Students of all ages can be the illustrators.
- Museums in small doses can also ignite interests and wonder and be a springboard for verbal discussions and targeted reading.
If you’re interested in more targeted activities to help address summer slide for your child, please contact us and we’d be happy to develop a program for your family.By Laurie Gross, Educational Consultant and Executive Director
My Learning Springboard, Inc.