8 Ways to Keep Kids Learning Over Summer
For children, summer is a time to relax, spend time doing fun activities and not think about school. But this relaxed mindset doesn’t come without a cost.
Studies show that when kids take a break from learning all summer long, they run the risk of losing up to three months’ worth of reading and math skills from the previous years. Teachers can spend up to six weeks re-teaching material that kids have forgotten during the summer months. This “Summer Brain Drain” can add more stress to kids’ lives when they transition back to school.
A kid’s brain is a muscle, like any other: if it isn’t used consistently, it will lose some of the ‘strength’ it built up during the school year. Beyond learning skills, the brain flexes other muscles to learn about following rules, meeting expectations, building social skills, organizing and more. Keeping kids engaged in some sort of routine and expectations during summer can make the transition back to school easier and reduce stress for both kids and parents.
Tips for helping kids learn in summer
Keeping kids engaged during summer months does not have to be a ‘buzzkill’ all summer long. Niki Grajewski, Clinical Manager at Centerstone, provides some easy and fun tips to keep kids’ brains active.
- Sign kids up for summer camps. Camps provide structure, expectations and can create opportunities for various types of learning that is fun, social and engaging.
- Read! Either read with your kids or create reading challenges for older kids during the summer. Many local libraries have reading clubs or programs during summer months that are fun and engaging.
- Take small trips to museums, zoos, music venues, parks and more. Ask your kids questions about these activities as you do them or have them journal about their experiences.
- Look for volunteer opportunities in your community. This will also help your child learn the value of making a difference and putting good into the world.
- Teach kids how to play a new board or card game. Many games include math or counting of some sort, and games for older kids might spark creative thinking, problem solving or teamwork.
- Include kids in meal planning. Have each child plan a weekly meal. Asking them to help plan, shop, cook, and present the meal involves many great skills to keep their brains sharp.
- Get kids building. Use tangible items like Legos, Play Doh or even household items to build forts, houses, obstacle courses or anything else. These activities will spark all sorts of creative thinking and math skills.
- Ignite your kids’ passions. Find out what your kid really loves and find ways to engage them in activities around them. Art, music, sports, reading and writing are all great ways to keep kids motivated, engaged and having fun.
Keeping kids engaged throughout the summer does not have to feel like a chore. What’s most important is finding any way to create opportunities for continued learning that are enjoyable. Talking to them about the importance of structure and routine should be a year-long lesson we use to help kids learn as they grow and mature. Remember that a little goes a long way, and you don’t have to overload their brains either. Summer should be fun, stimulating and enjoyable overall!