Looking for ways to incorporate some learning into your summer routine? The key is to make learning fun this summer and avoid summer learning loss.
Keep your kids reading regularly this summer to keep them from falling behind. Each age range has different skills to focus on. Below are some suggestions.
Ages 5-6: Focus on sight words, print awareness and beginning reading. Make sight words fun by making flash cards together. Tape them to doorways and make them the secret password to enter. Read them in the dark with a flashlight. Hide them throughout the back yard and try to have your child find them. To practice print awareness, read to your child and then let them read to you to practice their reading. You can even use the sight words to make sentences.
Ages 7 and up: Focus on comprehension and vocabulary. Take your child to the library and let them choose a few books. Encourage a new topic and make it fun. They’ll be happy to have the choice of what to read. Are you going on vacation? Maybe they’ll want to read about where you’re traveling to before you set off. Once they’ve read a new book, ask them to read some of it to you. You can also share what you’re reading. This is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words. Take a walk and talk about what you see. This is another fun and likely a new way to discuss vocabulary words.
Another idea to make reading fun for all ages is to create a cozy reading nook. Let your child chose what goes into it and make it their own space. Buy a book light so they can read in a tent or under the covers. Make your time in the car more fun and listen to audio book. Maybe they’ll even find a new author or series they like.
It’s hard to motivate kids to write over the summer, but it’s essential that they do. You can use some of our suggestions below to keep it fun or ask your kids what might inspire them to write.
Ages 5-6: Focus on tracing, letter writing, writing sight words and writing for real purposes (stories, lists, journals). To keep children from getting bored or really feeling like this is work, mix it up. Change what the writing focus is and the task at hand. Use the sight word flash cards to make sentences. Then have your child re-write those sentences on paper. Talk about a story and then help them write it. Talk about your summer vacations and adventures and write about those.
Ages 7 and up: Practice print and cursive writing. Write for real purposes (stories, lists, journals). Follow some of the same ideas for the younger children. Keep it fun and interesting. Ask them to write a short letter or story about their summer. Maybe they have a friend or family member who lives in another state or town. Become their pen pal. Make up a story and create their own short novel. Compromise with older children. Writing may not be something they want to do over the summer so let them set the schedule. Agree to a set number of writing pieces or amount of time per week and they can choose the day to work on it.
The same principle goes with math facts – if kids don’t practice, those memorized facts will just slip away, and so will all the other math concepts the teachers taught them this year. This can be a tough one and just as with writing, let your children take part in the planning of when and how to do math activities.
Ages 4-6: Practice counting, reading and writing numbers, addition and subtraction and patterns. For younger children math can be fun. Play eye spy while out at the grocery store and try to find every number 3 in the store, or count all the numbers on the checkout aisles while waiting at the register. Let children count how many items you are buying. They can also add and subtract these items. Count flowers outside or the number of buckets at the beach.
Ages 7-8: Money skills, addition and subtraction facts and place values are all important to work on over the summer. Teach your children about using a credit card and let them see the bills when you pay them. Make a cash only week where everything is purchased in cash so they can learn the values of different currency. Let children plan one of the shopping trips to understand budgeting. Use your surroundings where ever you go to make a game. You may also want to incorporate some work sheets or an online learning tool.
Ages 9 and up: Should keep up with mental math, critical thinking, multiplication and division facts. The key again is to keep things fun. You could find a word problem of the day and once they’ve answered it they get a special reward. Talk about player’s stats while watching baseball or soccer. Play games that incorporate numbers and math like UNO and Monopoly. Plan a project around the house that requires math. Build a bird house, plan to redesign a room, or plan the family vacation and learn about mileage and budgeting. Also look into different online learning tools and apps.
Remember to give your kids choices whenever possible – it will make them more motivated if they have a say in their own learning.