Summer break is finally here! Children cannot wait for the break from school, homework, and getting up and on the school bus every Monday through Friday. Your child has learned so much this school year and has really gained momentum! Unfortunately, according to John Hopkins University, summer learning loss can be the equivalent of three months of math skills and two months of reading skills. How can you encourage your child to continue learning and growing this summer, while giving them their needed break?
Make Learning Fun
It is so important to keep this in mind while encouraging your child’s summer learning! Children have been working hard to learn in school from fall through spring, so making summer learning fun is crucial to keep them excited and engaged, and make sure they are still able to rest up for the school year ahead. Choose a topic your child is especially interested in, and create learning ideas around those topics! If they are passionate about music, see if there is someone you know who could help them learn more about music theory, history, or how to play an instrument! If your child loves vehicles, encourage them to learn about the different kinds that exist, and how engines run. If your child loves art, see what opportunities there are in your area! Some towns have art shows or even public art days that can include chalk, paint, and more. Even gaming can become a learning opportunity! Try to encourage your growing gamer to research things that are important in that industry, such as coding or graphic design. The opportunities are practically endless, and if all else fails, take the kids to your local library and have them each pick out a book or two of their choosing!
Summertime is a great time to get together with friends, especially ones that may be hard to get with during the school year! Social experiences are not only a great way to have fun, but also an opportunity to reinforce what your children have learned. Signing up for various programs through your park district or library not only enriches learning through introducing new information, it enriches learning through social interaction with others. Don’t let the television, iPad, computer, or smart phone be your child’s sole source of interaction this summer, help them get out and play!
Make Every Opportunity Count
Your child doesn’t need to even realize they are learning for it to count! By using things you are already doing, such as going on vacation or swimming at the local pool, you can easily encourage learning. Create a photo book from vacation and have your children write descriptions for the pictures to practice their writing skills, and have them try their hand at taking a few shots to teach them a little about art! On a trip to a museum, have children read the various plaques out loud to the rest of the family to practice reading skills, and to help them learn about facts they may not have noticed!
Learning during summer break is done best through experiences and hands-on activities, as opposed to the classroom learning done during the school year. Encouraging your children to learn, not as work for school, but as something fun, exciting, and valuable is a great way to keep their skills over the summer! It will also help them grow up to be lifelong learners, so they continue to explore and learn long after they have left a classroom for the last time.