Summer is a time for enjoying the weather, having fun, and finding time to relax. While it gives a great break from tests and homework, it can also lead to kids suffering from summer learning loss. Summer learning loss, also called the “summer slide”, is when kids lose some of the knowledge and ability they learned in school. When kids aren’t using those skills they may forget some concepts and start the new year a step behind. Spark Math by Spark Education knows that just because school is out, doesn’t mean learning has to stop. It’s important to find some great activities that make learning fun and exciting and keep the previous year’s skills fresh. Here are 5 ways to make summer learning fun and stop the summer slide.
1. Cards & Board Games
A fun family game night is a great way to help kids use their school skills in an interactive and exciting way. Card games like Uno, Gin Rummy, or Crazy Eights can help kids work on math concepts like number recognition, counting, and patterns. Playing cards are also useful in creating addition and subtraction problems in more exciting ways than using worksheets. There are tons of games and activities that use playing cards. Having a deck of cards around the house is a go-to for using math the whole family can enjoy.
Some of the oldest and most popular board games are an exciting way for kids use what they learn in school. For older kids, a game like Monopoly uses tons of math skills in one fun game. Monopoly uses strategy, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, reading, and money skills throughout gameplay. Scrabble is a game that is perfect for working on vocabulary and spelling. While these games are made for older kids and adults, both have “Junior” versions for children from 5-8 years old. Using board games is a great way to use educational skills with kids in a fun way. They also show how adults are still using those skills in everyday life. Keeping skills fresh isn’t just for the summer, it’s essential throughout life.
2. Outdoor Fun
Who wants to stay inside during those beautiful summer days? Just because kids are spending the day outside, doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Get out and enjoy nature with a leisurely walk through a park or a fun adventure at the beach. Take time to notice the different plants and flowers you see throughout nature. Take pictures of all the different plants and animals your kids see while outside. At the end of the summer, go back and look at the list of everything you discovered as a family. Talk about your child’s favorite moments from your walks. Did they discover a new favorite animal or flower? This takes science and STEM learning from the classroom and into the real world.
Science isn’t the only subject you can enjoy outside. Kids can use what they find in nature to create fun ways to show what you learned that year in school. Use a stick or chalk to write names or messages on the sidewalk, dirt, or sand. Try and find shapes in nature, or help kids create shapes with items they find. No matter what subjects your family is working on, being outdoors is a change in setting from where kids usually learn. Using old skills in a new place can make it more exciting and feel fresh.
3. Read, Read, and Read Some More
For a lot of adults, sitting on the beach is the perfect time to read a good book. This is the perfect habit to share with your children. Reading over the summer shouldn’t be focused solely on summer reading lists or educational books. From comic books to young adult novels, building a passion for reading books helps reinforce reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Books can also help kids work on other subjects in fun and exciting ways. For younger kids, find activity books that mix coloring, games and math activities like connect the dots. For older kids, puzzle books like sudoku or crossword puzzles are a fun interactive way to relax on a hot summer day. Summer is about enjoying the time off and the weather, but don’t forget to take time to sit back and relax.
4. Field Trips
Parents are always looking for new and exciting places to go with their kids or for their kids. From summer camps focused on education and art, to visiting fairs filled with mindful activities, summer is the perfect time to explore new events. Many museums and zoos offer free or donation days for kids and the entire family. Taking a day to see aspects of history and science in real life helps kids become immersed in the information they’ve been learning in school. Parents might learn a thing or two on these trips as well, helping build a connection and a better understanding of what gets their kids excited about learning.
5. Cooking (And Other Practical Skills)
Everyone uses the skills we learned in school every day, even if we don’t notice it. Take time out to include your child while doing everyday tasks and point out when you use skills they are learning in school. That can mean reading signs and ads at a store, or creating a budget for grocery shopping. Pick a family dinner or dessert that kids can help you make. Show the science behind making ice cream at home. Culinary math covers a wide range of skills, from basic addition and subtraction all the way to counting portions and determining ratios. Have your kids read a recipe out loud and help create something for the family to enjoy. Cooking shows how, with the right math skills, you can create something new and delicious.
6. Online Support (Programs and Games)
Sometimes the best way to keep learning fresh is to continue taking specific time out to use those skills in a more education-focused way. Having specific time for kids to work on learning over the summer shows kids that just because school is on a break, doesn’t mean learning stops. For some kids, playing online educational games might help them use their skills in a fun and interactive way. Some kids might need a little more structure and online education programs might be a way to help them fight off the summer slide.
Spark Man Takes on Summer Slide
Spark Math by Spark Education is a great online math program that can help kids prepare for the next school year in fun and exciting ways. Whether your child is looking to keep up with what they learned over the school year or is ready for a new challenge, Spark Math is for you. Spark Math helps kids keep learning throughout the summer with live classes, real teachers, and gamified learning.
Want to see if Spark Math could work for your family this summer? Sign up to try a free demo class today! Looking for more great resources, blogs, and activities from Spark Math for the summer? Check out our Pintrest Page!