Fun Ways to Prevent Summer Learning Loss
Learn more about summer learning loss or “summer brain drain.”
Our summer vacation started this week, and like most moms, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. No more alarm clocks or fighting over homework or packing lunches for my picky eaters! Instead, I’m looking forward to long, lazy mornings in our pajamas, and hot afternoons in the backyard. Riding bikes, going to the beach, watching movies…that’s what summer vacation is all about, right?
Yes, summer vacation is about all that and more. But did you know that it’s common for children to lose at least two months of knowledge during summer vacation? That’s 20% or more of what they worked so hard during the school year to learn! This is particularly true for math skills.
So how do we, as parents, let our kids enjoy a fun and relaxing summer vacation while also helping to prevent summer learning loss? Here are some ways to incorporate learning into summer fun:
Try to set aside time to read with your children each day. Let them pick out books that interest them, and encourage conversation about the plot and characters to help keep them engaged. My daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter books right now, and she loves them – they’ve helped turned my reluctant reader into one who begs me to read “just one more page” every night.
Take advantage of the free educational programs offered by your local public library. For example, my local library offers free summer reading programs, tech clubs, art activities, and hands-on educational presentations on everything from turtles and bats to underwater archeology.
Look into enrichment programs or camps offered by local organizations. Museums, public & private schools, churches, and even the YMCA may offer budget friendly classes on science, math, history, art, cooking, photography, and many other areas of interest.
Make math part of your child’s day. Discuss fractions while cooking, and practice money skills, addition, and subtraction while grocery shopping. There are tons of websites with free math games (we love Coolmath-Games.com). And for more traditional learning, you can use the free math problems offered HERE and HERE.
Encourage physical activity and outdoor play. Children need exercise to stay healthy, and time spent outdoors will reduce their time in front of the television or video games. Go swimming, ride bikes, go hiking, play ball, or simply let them run under a sprinkler in the backyard.
Plan road trips (long or short) to landmarks, museums, zoos, planetariums, exhibits, and other spots that can be both entertaining and educational. Yesterday, I took my children to visit the Fountain of Youth, where they were exposed to history, archeology, and a multitude of plants and birds.
These are just a few ideas to keep your children’s brains and bodies active and engaged during the long, lazy summer months. With a little planning, parents can help reduce summer learning loss AND spend a fun, relaxing summer vacation with their kids!