Did you know that research has shown that the average student will lose up to 3 months of learning over the summer break? It’s true. This frequently cited article from the National Summer Learning Association found that:
- Children who aren’t involved in educational summer activities will lose an average of 1 – 3 months of academic progress.
- Kids tend to lose the most progress in math, but they also lose progress in spelling.
- Lower-income children tend to be more affected by summer learning loss.
- Teachers often spend the first month of the next school year re-teaching last year’s skills, and test scores are lower at the beginning of school years.
- The effect is cumulative. By graduation, summer learning loss can account for about 2/3 of the achievement gap in students.
So what’s a smart, savvy, and education-craving Mom such as you to do? Get started by checking out these must-know tips for turning your child’s summer brain drain… into summer brain gain!
#1. It all starts with Moms & Dads
Even if your kiddos aren’t going to camp or enrolled in any summer activities, you can play a huge role in helping them build summer smarts. At last once a week, take a trip somewhere that will get their brain juices flowing, like a museum, an aquarium, or even the zoo.
#2. Learning is everywhere!
Anything you do with your child can be turned into a learning opportunity, especially activities that they consider fun. A trip to the beach can be a natural history lesson. Playing a sport can be a chance to practice counting and math skills. Use simple techniques like asking open-ended questions to encourage your kids to practice critical thinking and problem solving.
#3. Turn education into a game
One of the best ways to encourage kids to learn over the summer is to make it fun. Try using your creativity – and some of the ideas we’ll be posting on the Learning Resources blog all month long – to come up with cool learning activities that your kids will love. Have an outdoor educational scavenger hunt to learn about natural sciences. Put on an at-home science experiment. Make your own slime or face paint! Turn a trip to the beach into a learning opportunity. Or, learn about engineering by making your own birdhouse!
#4 Stay on schedule
One of the best ways to beat summer brain drain is to simply schedule a little bit of learning every day or week. Many children respond well to structure, and if you set up a summer learning schedule at the start of summer break, you’ll only need to explain the idea to them once. From then on, your kids will understand that it’s time for their daily half-hour reading break, or their weekly hour of math. Try gamifying the summer schedule, so your kids feel challenged to advance to the next level of learning. You can even try working in little incentives, like stickers or badges, to help support their feeling of achievement.
#5. Start a new hobby
Hobbies can be one of the best ways to keep little brains engaged all summer long. If your kiddos are naturally artistic, trying crafting hobbies like scrapbooking, sculpting with clay, drawing, and more. If your children are natural builders, try making a birdhouse, or checking out beginner woodworking projects for kids. Pick up a telescope and inspire an early love of astronomy. The possibilities are almost limitless.
#6. Library, library, library…
One of the easiest, but most effective, ways to stop the summer slide is to make weekly library visits part of the routine. Most libraries have play stations and computers available for kids to use, so beyond books, you can keep your little learners involved in hands-on educational activities.
#7. Find free stuff
There are lots of resources out that have been developed to help parents fight summer brain drain, and some of the best ones are actually free. Grab some free educational printables. Plus, check out the Learning Resources blog all month long for more tips and ideas, and visit these handy sites to find even more free educational resources: