“Summer learning loss.” “Summer setback.” “Summer slide.” Call it what you want, but you know its effects: as soon as the school bell rings in the end of the school year, it can seem as if all the knowledge your child accumulated begins to escape in a slow, steady leak.
But are students really losing their learnings? In its 2017 study, the Brookings Institute found that summer learning loss is a real issue, with its impact varying across geographies, grade levels, and subjects.
How can parents prevent this learning loss from happening? The most effective approach is to adopt a “use it or lose it” approach, engaging your children with learning activities that incorporate STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
Here are five activities you can use to help minimize summer brain drain in your child:
Reading and writing don’t have to feel like homework. Give your child pre-stamped, pre-addressed post cards to write notes to family members. Grocery shopping can become a game in which children write out the grocery list, then race to fill the cart. You can even allow for extra TV time — with the sound off and subtitles on.
Blogging and vlogging are great outlets for children to express themselves — and great opportunities to practice writing, communicating, and even basic coding. Help your child pick the right platform and establish important habits for staying safe online.
Whether digital or traditional, scavenger hunts are a fun way to get the entire family working together to explore your surroundings. Choose from several free scavenger hunt apps, including some specifically designed for traveling — perfect for keeping your child engaged while on vacation.
Recipes provide the perfect example of fractions in action. Get your child involved in the kitchen by having them read recipes out loud and measure the ingredients. For an added challenge, children can break each measurement into smaller units: one cup of flour equals two scoops of a 1/2-cup scoop, three from a 1/3-cup scoop, and so on.
Rather than simply watching or watering plants, children can get more involved in the gardening process by keeping a summer garden journal. Encourage your child to record questions, observations, and measurements, then share and discuss the latest updates over dinner.