During summer break, how can we ensure that kids have fun, but still keep practicing their skills so they don't become victims of the summer slide? They are ready to play and forget about school for awhile, but it is still important to maintain learning.
What is the summer slide?
Summer slide is a real thing and it can create a wide range of learning challenges at the beginning of the year if it isn't addressed. Summer slide is the drop in academic levels after a couple of months of inactivity with skills and concepts studied during the year. It can mean more intensive review and relearning may be needed when school resumes if it is allowed to happen.
Many families don't think much about maintaining learning activities during the summer. This is not a criticism, but rather an observation. Kids are done with school by the end of the year and they are not eager to continue doing academic work during the summer holidays. Families use the time for vacations, if they are not working, or they are looking for ways to provide daycare for the kids. When they are together, they want to do things that are fun and they don't always see ways to combine the fun with academic practice.
Summer school with a twist
In our district, we have summer school for the first month of the summer break. This is not your typical summer school where kids just do academic work, but rather it is a mix of academics and other activities that make learning more fun and connected. It is broken down into 2 week sets and parents can sign kids up for one or two sets.
The variety of courses may combine science and art, reading and sports, writing and acting, math and science, STEM, or other combinations of academics and the arts or sports.
More ways to link fun and academics
Day camps are another way of getting outdoors, having fun, and hopefully applying some skills learned to practical situations. They may include field trips to different places, art activities, sports, or other games and activities. Tapping into these and reinforcing skills linked to the practical activities is also another way of continuing to use skills and concepts taught at school.
Many libraries have programs that happen in the summer. Perhaps kids could be signed up for these. Signing out books to read and participating in puppet shows, or other reading related activities is sure to help keep them engaged and reading throughout the summer.
Keeping a journal or diary of vacation adventures or weekly happenings is a great way to encourage writing and also helps with remembering all the things that were done throughout the summer. Sometimes kids will be amazed at how much they did when they look back at their journal. Creating a memory book with photos and drawings is another way of capturing moments for the future.
Create some games or ways of keeping track of the different activities so that they are fun to do, but they help kids to keep learning and practicing skills throughout the summer. Grab this sport themed game board to create a variety of different games that can help.
Teachers can provide materials and suggestions, but ultimately, the families have to buy into the idea that maintaining skills throughout the summer is important if the summer slide is to be avoided. Check out the related posts below for some specific ideas for the various subject areas.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.