Tips to Help Keep Your Kid’s Brains From Shrinking This Summer
Ah, summertime. The time when you get to spend every waking second with your kids because they’re not in school. While it’s fun to go on vacation, relax and spend quality time together, kids tend to forget what they’ve learned during the break. As they play on slides at the park, they may experience what’s known as the summer slide.
In fact, a study from Brown University showed that:
The average student loses 17-34% of the previous year’s learning during summer
The study was done on kids in grades 1-8, and it also showed that if they go one break without learning, they’re likely to follow suit the next year.
So, what can you do to make sure the wheels in their little brains turn through the warm summer months? Nobody wants to sit down and do math problems when they could be at the beach, so it can be hard to get them to WANT to learn. You may just have to trick them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep those noggins in tip-top shape during the summer months.
Plant a Family Garden
Everyone wants to be outside during the summer, so why not start a garden to keep them busy? Planting a garden will teach your kids responsibility and patience as they learn about growing their own plants. One idea is to give them their own row in the garden that they are in charge of, and let them choose the type of vegetables they’d like to grow.
When they pick the vegetables out, encourage them to learn as much about them as they plant their garden. Once they grow, you can even use the vegetables to teach them about cooking, as well. A garden is a wealth of knowledge for children and adults alike! The best thing is that they’ll have no idea they’re learning and will have fun growing their own food.
Get Them Reading
In the age of technology, we as well as our kids spend so much time in front of screens. One of the best ways to keep them sharp during summer is to keep them reading. The good news is if you’re attempting to get them to read on break they can pick whatever they want.
Children are more likely to read when they aren’t obligated to for homework. When they have the freedom to choose a book about something they want to read, they will read that thing cover to cover.
Typically, libraries will have a summer reading program that offers incentives for reading. If not, you could set up a reward system at home to motivate them to read 20 minutes a day.
Get Them Educational Toys
They don’t have to know it’s education. They’ll be happy to have a new toy and you’ll be happy that they’re secretly learning (and giving you a little time to enjoy a cup of coffee). There are plenty of options on the market for toys that will help your kids busy while teaching skills like science and math to everything in between. Using educational toys is a fantastic way to “trick” the reluctant into developing skills for the future.
Clixo’s magnetic building toys are a good example of this. These educational toys take building blocks to another level. They are flexible 2D shapes that are magnetic and your child will develop skills as they play. You’ll probably like them too!
Take Them On A “Field Trip”
Another way to keep the summer slide away is to take your little ones on a no-school field trip. If your kids have specific interests such as science or animals, take them to the science museum or zoo. Removing the aspect of the field trip that leaves from school will help them learn without realizing that’s what they’re doing!
A day at the museum is a fun and educational day for the whole family. If you don’t live close to one, many establishments hold virtual tours you can take to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer.
Keep It Moving
Exercise is not only important for physical health, but for your mental health as well. Research has shown over and over again how good exercise is for cognitive function. Your kids are already going to want to run around outside this summer, so turn it into a workout!
You can engage in games with your kids such as tag or hide and seek to keep them playing while exercising. Another great activity is to get bicycles and go for a family bike ride.
Sign Them Up For Summercamp
Even though it’s summer break for them, you’re probably still busy! Sign your kids up for a summer camp that offers educational activities. There are many camps that focus on STEM skills that will prepare them for the future, and they’ll have fun at the same time. In fact, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are now virtual camps that involve STEM and other educational functions.
Writing is just as important as reading. Try having your kids write in a journal either every day or once a week to reflect on their summer activities. This will get their brain working and a good way to keep their memory sharp. Take them to the store so they can pick out their own journals to make it extra special.
The bottom line is that summer should be fun, but also educational. You don’t want your kids to suffer from the dreaded ‘summer slide’ and fall into a vicious cycle. Keep them reading, moving, and playing and their brains should stay sharp as a tack until it’s time for back to school shopping.