Summer is almost here and your kids are about to be free from grades, tests and homework for the next few months. Are you ready?! If you’re like most parents, you’re likely filled with both relief and trepidation and also wondering how to keep your kids engaged during summer break. You want to give them time to relax and play, but you also want to avoid the “summer slide.”
What is “summer slide”? While it might sound like a fun piece of playground equipment, it actually refers to the loss of learning, and even backsliding in skills, that can happen for kids while they’re out of school for the summer. Research shows that many kids experience a loss in academic skills like reading comprehension and word recognition during the summer months. This is especially common among lower-income families. This loss can have serious repercussions on a student’s long-term academic success since most academic placement assessments happen at the beginning of the school year. This is when a student’s skills are most likely to be affected by summer slide.
This slide is often the result of a lack of access to ongoing learning opportunities and experiences over the summer. But you can help your kids stay engaged in learning during summer break without having to invest a ton of time and money. These 5 tips for how to keep your kids engaged during summer break will help prevent “summer slide” while still letting your child enjoy a fun summer. And the best part is, these activities are so much fun, your kids won’t even know they’re learning!
1. Make a Summer Reading List
One of the best ways to keep your kids engaged during summer break is to help them create a summer reading list. Now that school’s out they can read for fun, so encourage them to choose books they enjoy reading. This will make reminding them to read so much easier! Often, your local library will have a summer reading program that your kids can sign up for. You can also find summer reading programs online, like the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Suggestions for summer reading lists and strategies from Reading Rockets, Common Sense Media and PBS Kids are great resources, too!
You and your family can set a goal to read for a certain amount of time each day, read before other activities, or set aside time to read together either silently or aloud from the same book. Bring a book to the park, the beach, or spend a little time reading each night before bed. Kids mirror their parents’ habits, so make reading an important activity for yourself, and your kids will often follow suit!
If focus and staying attentive while reading are challenging for your kiddo, why not try supplementing with Tranquility Labs’ own Focusene? Focusene is a safe, natural, research-based supplement that helps with focus and attentiveness problems. It’s also soy, gluten and GMO free!
2. Learning Can Be Fun with (Educational) Outings
You don’t have to tell your kids you’re taking them on an educational outing – even if they won’t be able to avoid learning once you get there! A trip to a local museum, national park, or historic monument are great opportunities to inspire learning while also having fun. Many museums and parks have regular free-entry days, so check your local events to find out when they are. And while there isn’t a free National Parks day until September, if you have a fourth grader, he or she can get a free, year-long pass to all federal lands and waters through the Every Kid in a Park program! This pass admits all kids under 16 and up to three adults in your group.
3. Get Crafty Together
Kids love hands-on activities, especially when grown ups participate, too! Research shows that the integration of arts education improves academic performance and can even eliminate gaps created by economic disadvantage. Arts can help kids develop motor skills, strengthen language, decision-making, and critical thinking skills, too! Keep these benefits going throughout the summer by engaging your kids in arts and crafts at home. You can find lots of ideas online or just get out some paper and crayons and let your kids get creative! The National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian also have activities and ideas for kids on their websites.
4. Explore Your Family Tree
Take a trip through time with your kids this summer as you explore your family history and genealogy! With so many new resources available to help trace your ancestry (Ancestry.com, MyHeritageDNA, 23andMe), you can learn more about your family history than ever before!
You can explore your family tree for free, too, and turn it into a fun art project. Gather your old photo albums, family Bible, or other mementos passed down through your family. Use what you know to draw a family tree together. Or you can use free online resources like FamilySearch to learn more.
Use props to tell or act out a family story, teach your kids how to write like their ancestors (handwritten letters in cursive!), or do chores the old-fashioned way. The possibilities for exploring your family history are endless! Many classrooms work on family history projects during the school year, so you’ll be ahead of the game if you get started on the legwork now.
5. Online Learning Resources
There are a ton of free, online learning resources available that can keep your kids engaged in learning during summer break while also having fun! SketchUp is a 3D drawing software geared towards kids who love to build, design and make models. Lego is another great online resource for little builders. Common Sense Media lists the best parent-approved games, apps and sites for learning.
Keep Your Kids Engaged During Summer Break
If you’re like most parents, you want to find ways to keep your kids engaged in learning during summer break without them catching on to what you’re up to! There are so many ways you can create learning opportunities that are also fun.
With the help of your local library, you can create a summer reading list for both you and your kiddos. Take your family on a (shhh … educational!) summer outing to your local museum, historic site, or national park. Keep exercising creative muscles by engaging in crafts with your kids. You don’t have to be a professional artist to draw, paint, color, or create things together! Explore your family history together by creating a family tree, researching family genealogy, learning about your ancestors and how they lived. You’ll already have the legwork done when your child is assigned a family history project in school.
Finally, there are many online resources that are fun and educational. Common Sense Media is a great resource to find games, movies, books, and more, that are age-appropriate and parent-approved. If you’re still looking for more ideas, this list from Parents magazine is chock full of fun, educational activities to keep your kids engaged during summer break!
Don’t forget to add Tranquility Labs’ Focusene to your family’s nutritional supplement regime! Guided by research, our all-natural Focusene addresses focus and attentiveness issues in both kids and adults!