Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Learnin', Had Me a Blast.

{Is my title cheesy? Sorry! I've had the song stuck in my head ever since my husband sang a few lines of it last weekend.}

Here, in Connecticut, we have just a few weeks of school left. In your part of the country, school might be out for the summer already. Either way, the summer slide is our minds. I've already had an email from one client who wants to counteract the summer slide for her son, and I'm sure I'll get other emails.

First, let's be real. Summer homework is for the birds!  Any kid will agree with me and probably some parents, too. BUT the summer slide is a very real issue for certain kids. If a kid likes to read, and reads on his or her own, then there is probably not much to worry about. Going to the library a few times a week or downloading new books will be more than enough, along with getting outside and enjoying a little freedom.

The summer slide is the result of minds being left idle, so the solution is fairly simple, right? Keep the kids engaged, and their minds will follow suit.  Engagement is easier when it doesn't look or feel like work. I happen to have a kid, going into first grade, who loves to do workbooks, so I'll probably get her a workbook like this one because she enjoys it but we'll be doing plenty of other things too. There are a lot of ways to keep kids engaged and thinking over the summer.
Here are five ideas to try this summer:

  1. Letterboxing This is a scavenger hunt-style activity that reinforces navigational skills (math!), reading comprehension and nature hikes (science!). I took my almost-a-Kindergartener and my preschooler on a letterbox hike last summer and they got a real kick out of it. There are letterbox activities for all age and grade levels.  Click here to find letterboxing sites in your area: 
  2. Correspondence If your child is going to sleep away camp, chances are, you'll be tucking a few postage-paid postcards into his or her suitcase, right? But every kid should write letters, camp or not. Some ideas: grandparents,  friends that have moved away, famous people, favorite authors. 
  3. Legos There is bound to be a rainy day or a super-hot day that keeps you indoors. A Lego kit like Lego Friends or Lego City is great because it involves following visual instructions (reading comprehension), sorting by color and size (math), problem-solving and imaginative play. 
  4. Children's Museums For younger kids, children's museums are great! They are designed for play and learning, across all subject areas. Find your area museum here:
  5. Public Library My public library has a summer reading program and other events going on all summer, for kids. If you have a kid that thrives on rewards and incentives, a summer reading program might do the trick, to get him or her reading. 
For kids that are struggling, and are behind, some tutoring sessions over the summer will keep them on track for Fall but self-directed play and structured activities are just as valuable in the fight against the summer slide.  

{This post contains Amazon affiliate links.}