If the idea of workbooks fills you with dread and the words “the summer slide” make you want to slide into a corner and hide, don’t worry. Your kids can have a mentally engaging summer — without resorting to formalized school work style learning.
Hit the Beach
Wait, what? How can a trip to the beach help avoid the summer slide? Well, it’s all in what you make of it. Before you go, read up on tide pools, creatures that live in your local body of water and other info about the ecosystem. Then, while building sandcastles and jumping waves, point out the snails, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs and share little facts with the kids.
They’ll love hearing what exactly the snails eat and why clams squirt water through airholes when they bury themselves beneath the sand. Or focus on tides and teach them how the moon impacts the tide, as well as where the water goes when it “goes away.” And you’ll love continuing to help your kids learn in a total no-pressure way.
Take a Hike
Like the beach, hiking can provide infinite opportunities for learning. You can teach about rocks, plants, animals and so much more. Choose your trail wisely – some nature centers have self-guided tours that can help with the learning on the go. Or try geocaching, which is a sort-of scavenger hunt that requires you to use GPS coordinates to find special spots where geocaches are hidden.
Another option? Hike a waterfall – then you can talk about water flow, erosion and more. Again, this is a fun and active way to enjoy summer without falling into the Summer Slide trap.
Visit the Library
It’s no secret that instilling a love of reading in kids is important. Stories let children explore new worlds, discover creativity and linger in their imagination – all good things. So, if you haven’t already, join your local library and go weekly.
The kids will love choosing stories, and you can tap into all the resources that libraries offer for families – like story hours for kids, author visits and more. And just the act of going to the library will help prevent the Summer Slide since the kids will be inspired to learn.
Also, check to see if your library has any summer reading incentives for kids – they can range from prizes to cold, hard cash just for reading a certain number of books. Pretty sweet, right?
When it comes to practicing math, cooking is an awesome way to do it without even thinking about it. Between number recognition, fractions and time (this takes 15 minutes to cook – when will it be done?), numbers are part and parcel with everything done in the kitchen.
Better yet, if you are working from a recipe, kids can practice their reading skills and their direction-following skills too.
Plus, the help in the kitchen is a priceless way to bond too (it’s not just about avoiding the Summer Slide!).
Psst! There’s a lot of learning that can happen just by doing – like by planting and maintaining a garden. It’s not too late to get pretty flowers in the ground and cultivate them.
Have the kids help with the planning, planting and care-taking of the garden. They will learn first-hand about what makes plants grow, garden pests and so much more.
Here are some ideas on fun summer activities!