It’s nearly summer – the weather is heating up, and kids are getting antsy in their classrooms. Students and teachers are counting down the days until summer vacation, while most parents are probably a bit envious of the upcoming time off that their kids have. As we discussed in an earlier blog post (check it out here), summer time can cause a bit of a problem when it comes to retained learning for children, specifically in reference to a phenomenon known as Learning Loss. That is to say, when an individual learns something, after a period of non-discussion or engagement, they will lose some of the information and it will need to be retaught. That is why the first few days of every new school year are essentially a review of the year before – to kick the student’s brain into gear, jog their memory, and refresh what may have been forgotten.
The summer doesn’t have to be a total loss, though. There are lots of ways that students can stay engaged during the summer that will help them with retaining learned information and possibly gaining new knowledge. Below, we offer some suggestions for how to keep kids active, engaged, and learning during the summer months so that they’re ready and raring to go come September.
Whether your child’s school assigns it or not, summer reading is incredibly important, especially for students in the lower grades who are just honing their reading skills. For students in the higher grades of elementary school, and even into middle school, reading age-appropriate books throughout the summer can help them enhance their reading comprehension, keeping them primed and ready for the year ahead.
And, of course, there’s the recreational benefits of reading. A great story about wizards or dragons (or whatever they’re interested in) will encourage children to use their imaginations on rainy days, while non-fiction books about a topic of interest will open their minds to a world of endless possibilities.
Every parent has probably told their kids the stories of their youth when they didn’t come home from playing outside until the streetlights came on. These days parents are much more hesitant about letting their kids roam the neighborhood free range but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a great time right in the backyard.
Encourage your kids to invite over some of the neighborhood kids for a water balloon fight or game of capture the flag to get them moving and absorbing some Vitamin D (and fine, it’ll get them burning off some of that energy so they don’t destroy the house). If they’re older, a nature scavenger hunt where they explore slightly outside the bounds of your yard for specific leaves, flowers, or scenes could be fun and informative as they identify different species and become more cognizant of their environments. (If the kids have a smartphone they can use it to take photos of the items so they don’t have to pluck them from their stems.)
For kids who aren’t afraid of the dark, there’s nothing better than a backyard campout in the summer. Invite some friends over, help them roast marshmallows over the fire pit (or even over the grill), and tell a few silly stories.
At Pay4SchoolStuff.com we’re committed to helping you manage the various aspects of having children in school all year long. Whether you’re looking for ideas on how to keep the kids busy this summer or debating the merits of summer camp v. summer courses, we’ve got you covered.