Kids long for those school breaks where they can escape the pressures of everyday classes. However, studies show that achievement scores can decline by a month’s worth of school year learning when children don’t sharpen their academic skills over the summer. Learning loss from an extended time away from school can be a concern. What can be done?
It can be fun to keep children learning in an enjoyable, low-pressure way that doesn’t switch them off. Here are five techniques that just might help students stay on track.
Love Structure? Try Workbooks
Workbooks are an informative, structured tool to reinforce what students have learned throughout the year and can help prepare them for what comes next. Grade-specific workbooks, instructional charts and kits support pre-kindergarteners through seventh and eighth-grade students with activities such as math, social studies, and fitness.
Some workbooks can actually be a game. The Mad Libs workbooks for Grade 1 and Grade 2 include a review of reading skills in addition to fun story pages. Another workbook is all about the stories and just right for stay home fun.
Make Activities Educational
Spending activity time with kids is an opportunity for reconnecting and learning at the same time. Teaching children to cook can enable them to brush up on measuring, while also involving math skills. This can create opportunities for discussing everything from history, “How did grandma cook?” to health “Why are greens good for you?” Eating, and of course cooking, is fun for everybody!
For more fun, go outside to discover and play. Educational philosopher John Dewey advocated gardening as a form of education. You can think about the math of spacing seeds, the science of photosynthesis, and the basics of design. If you don’t have a garden or window box, then the warm weather is the ideal time for a nature walk. Consider supervising the kids while they race to spot and identify as many different plants and critters as they can.
Reading is crucial all year long, but especially during a long break. A study from the University of Tennessee found that children who don’t read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development, while those who do read gain a month.
Reading with your kids is a great way to encourage them to establish the habit; Another is by turning it into a game. Local libraries offer reading challenges, or you can create one tailored to the children’s ages and interests. Perhaps throw in a book from your childhood to discuss with them.
Books don’t have to be a solitary activity. Consider audiobooks with kid-friendly titles that everyone can listen to out loud.
Kids may sometimes slump on the couch on their phone or tablets, but that doesn’t mean a little screen time can’t be useful. Educational apps can help stimulate the mind, especially when enjoyed with an adult.
For the young ones, Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar lets kids design and color. It’s a creative complement to the classic book. Older kids may enjoy MentalUP – Brain Games which includes scientific and entertaining games to work cognitive abilities and intelligence with fun brain teasers.
Neighborhood Study Groups
As seen when severe weather issues have occurred, neighbors helping neighbors can be a highlight in a tough situation. This may be a time when we are seeing more of our neighbors. With more people at home, we may notice children and adults that we didn’t realize were just a few doors down.
Consider getting a few similarly aged neighborhood children together virtually and create an enjoyable online study group. This could be the time to get learn from home schoolwork completed and develop relationships for future social interactions.
These tips can help kids enjoy the fun and play that time away from school should bring, while striving to keep them sharp when they get back to the classroom. Whoever said that studying couldn’t be fun?
Reprinted with permission; visit Office Depot OfficeMax for more great ideas. Office Depot has been helping students and schools succeed for more than 30 years. It’s more than our job. It’s our passion. As a proud National Sponsor of the PTA, our goal is to help make this year—and every year—a success. Connect with Office Depot.