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Jun 24, 2024

Summer Learning: How to Prevent Learning Loss & Have Fun

Summer is a great time for kids to get outside, play, and have fun while providing a great break from the school year grind. Few people want to think about school during the summer, but summer learning loss is a real concern. This article will help you have fun & prevent that dreaded loss that can happen over the summer.

Summer Learning Loss

It is unclear how much learning loss happens over a summer due to varying factors. Whether your student is struggling already, or you simply want to prevent that from happening, summer is a great time to set your student up for success in the coming school year. The activities that follow provide a great way to have fun while accomplishing your summer learning goals!

Fun & Activity 

Not only is it important to allow your child to have fun in the summer, it actually turns out that being active could actually help your child to absorb more information

We all know being active is important for living a healthy life. So, if being active is healthier, more fun, and more effective for learning, then it is a no-brainer to make this a key staple of your summer learning. This is exactly why activity and fun are tied into all these awesome activities covered in this blog. For more information about how activity stimulates learning, read our How Movement Activates Learning blog.

Icons of the General Concepts: Play, Word Problems, Word of the Week

General Concepts

Play

The most important thing for a child over the summer is to have fun and stay active. Through self-directed play, they will naturally follow their own curiosities, allowing them to learn and discover. There are many great ways to encourage this: Consider making a simple obstacle course in your backyard, it doesn't have to be fancy at all. You could go to a local playground and let them run free. Playing sports in your yard or at a park is another great way to let them have fun and stay active. Additionally, you could also incorporate many of these activities and strategies into the games they already want to play. Making learning fun is a fantastic way to keep them engaged and motivated.

Word Problems

A super important part of school and life is being able to logically answer an open ended question, which is why it is great to ask these regularly so they can sharpen their skills. Throughout the day make it a point to ask your child questions such as: "Dinner is at 5:30. How long is it until dinner?" "How many days until Friday?" "How many inches are in a foot?" These kinds of questions are great because your child has to understand the question you are asking, then apply logic to solve the problem, and provide you with an answer. 

Word of The Week

Incorporate a word of the week! Pick a vocabulary word for your whole family to use and post it somewhere in plain sight. Spend a little time discussing what the word means and how it is spelled. Try and use the word as much as possible throughout the week. Keep each word, and at the end of the summer, look back on all of the new words that you learned! If your family wants, you can continue it all year long!

A picture of a girl playing with chalk

Outdoor Activities

Nature Walk

Not only is a hike or walk through nature great exercise and great fun, it can be a great learning opportunity. Allow your children to be curious and ask tons of questions. If they see a flower, bug, tree, or anything else that peaks their interest, do your best to facilitate that curiosity. You can look up the item they are curious about either on the trail, or when you get home (depending on reception). This will help them to develop skills that are great in school and life beyond. Additionally, if you are looking to build sight word recognition, consider bringing along some science sight words such as our SnapWords® Science Kit. You can bring these flash cards along as a sort of checklist and encourage your child to find those items in nature; for example, if you bring a flower flash card, try to have your child find a flower. Try to find as many items in nature as you can that correspond to a sight word flash card. Nature walks are also a great way for your child to learn more about science and the ecosystem, which is often a forgotten, but incredibly important subject.

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk is fun for all ages (c'mon, let's be honest, you love it too), and it can be a great way to help your child work on some fundamental skills. There are so many ways you could incorporate learning with sidewalk chalk; it's a great way to allow your child to be creative and have fun while reinforcing their knowledge of colors and shapes. You could simply instruct your child to "Draw something in blue," or "Draw a triangle." You could use sight word flash cards such as SnapWords® Numbers, Colors, Days, Months, Seasons and have them draw something based on the words they recognize, have your child draw out different images related to sight words, or you could have them write out the words themselves. Let you and your child's imagination run free with this!

Trips

Trail

Whether you take a trip to the Caribbean or the local park, trips are great fun and they can be great learning opportunities as well! Try to take at least two trips, no matter how small, and then ask your child to compare the differences between the two places you visited. This helps your child to work on their observational and comparative skills, which are both great for school and life beyond.

Science

Science activities can be a lot of fun to do in the summer, especially because the outdoors allows you to do those messier experiments you may not want to do indoors. 

Consider making bubbles for your children to blow outside; not only is it a ton of fun, but super easy to make. It only takes a little water and dish soap and you have an entire afternoon of entertainment. You can make the bubble blower using some pipe cleaner, string, and straws!

Another great activity, especially if you're planning beach day, is making a real volcano! Okay, not real in the sense of spewing molten lava everywhere (that's obviously incredibly dangerous), but you can make a volcano that will erupt, and the best part is it's super easy! If you're at the beach, start by making a mountainous mound of sand and then hollowing out the inside so you have the replica of a volcano's structure. If you aren't at the beach, their is a million different ways of making a volcano structure, so consider googling to get some ideas. Once you have the volcano's structure, all you need is a little baking soda & vinegar. Have you our your child pour the baking soda into the base of your volcano, pour some vinegar in, then stand back and watch it erupt! You may have to play with how much of each to use to get the desired results. Additionally, consider adding a little bit of food coloring to get that awesome orange lava!

Yard Sale

Plan a yard sale. Get your children involved in the process of getting rid of toys and items that are no longer used. They can help you set the prices and help with the transactions to practice working with money exchanges.

 

A picture of a little girl grabbing a book in a library.

Indoor Activities

Library

Libraries can make great summer activities. Not only can you check out books, which can be great for an avid reader, but quite often they have tons of other great programs. Many libraries have summer reading programs that tie rewards and fun to reading a certain amount of books, which is a great way to incentivize your child to read more. Libraries also quite often host many other activities during the summer, some related to reading and some not. These activities are fun and oftentimes educational, but importantly quite social. This can be a great way to let your child practice their socialization skills, and you may even get to know some other parents in your area! Libraries are a great summer resource for you and your child!

Museum

Visit a local museum. Sometimes they even have free admission days or activities. Take whatever the main exhibit is and learn more about it! Have your kids make a mini exhibit of it when they get back home. This is also a great opportunity to use the vast knowledge available on the internet and encourage your child to research their questions. If they have a question that is not answered in the museum, consider searching online to learn more about the history of that subject. This is a great way for your child to learn more about the history of their culture and the cultures of others.

Make a Book

One of the best ways to encourage your child to unleash their creativity and practice their reading and writing skills is to have them write a little book. This is a great activity for those rainy days or any other time you just want to stay inside for a bit. If you have been using SnapWords® or other sight word flash cards, encourage them to use the sight words they have learned in short sentences to make fun stories. After they have written out the story, let them unleash their creativity and practice their artistic skills by having them illustrate the book. This is a great way for your child to practice skills that are essential for school, all while having fun and being creative.

Life Skills

It is a great idea to have your child help you with the daily tasks you have to complete anyways. Often these skills are not covered in school, but they are important for your child to know, and often they require school skills, so they serve as great practice.

You could have your child help you write up a grocery list; consider having them work within a budget, too, as great math practice.

Mailbox

Have them write a letter to a friend or family member; it's great writing practice, but it also helps them know how to address and send an envelope, which if we're honest, is a bit of a dying skill. You could also bring them to the post office to help them learn about how our mail system works!

Encourage your child to make a schedule for the summer with you. This helps them to learn time management, as well as time telling and calendar skills. Once this schedule is created, ask them frequently what time it is, what time an event is, what day a certain event is, and how far certain things are. This helps them to become whizzes at this kind of stuff which is great for school and life beyond.

Give your child a tape measure and let them go crazy! Ask them how long certain items are: they could measure your kitchen, bed, or even the yard. If your child is working on more advance math, consider asking them to calculate the area of different rooms in the house.

Home Cafe

This is a great activity because it's a ton of fun and you get to eat some food! Although, it could get a little messy depending on what you make. Start off by having your children work with you to design a menu of the food you will make. The actual making of the food is fun, but also great learning. They will get practice with measuring (and ratios if you double or half a recipe), and they will also learn about food safety (cook temps, raw eggs & meat, etc.). Once the food is made have them help you set the table. This is a great opportunity for them to learn how to set a table, especially if you want them to set it properly. 

Story Time

Easy-for-Me Children's Readers

Instead of just reading stories at bedtime, try to find a point in the day where everyone in the house is reading, or a time you can read to your little ones! If your children are a little older, have them read to you! Picking decodable readers is also a great way for your children to get practice with the words they are working on learning, as well as general reading skills. Consider having them read the book you had them write before, or you could have them read a book and then act it out to you like a play!

You can also use audiobooks for this! They are especially great to listen to while driving, doing chores, or any other time you aren't able to read a physical book. Consider asking your child questions related to the book you're listening to so they are more engaged and they get practice thinking critically and analyzing stories.

Homemade Playdough

Making playdough at home is super easy and super fun! It gives your children more practice with making things and using measurements (and ratios), but they also get to play with it when they are done. This is especially great for your kinesthetic/tactile learners as playdough is by nature very satisfying to play with! You can also incorporate letters, numbers, or shapes into the play time. Have your children form or cut (could use a cookie cutter) the playdough into letters, shapes, or numbers. It's a great way for them to have fun all while getting more practice with their essentials!

Bingo

Quick, easy, and fun: bingo is a great option for a game in the summer. The best part, you can use it to teach almost any concept. Consider using SnapWords® as a bingo item. Pull out a random card and have your children mark off that word on their card if they have it. You can also do shapes, colors, science terms, math, really anything you want. All you need to do is draw or print some bingo cards and choose something to use for children to mark what they got.

Stay Cation

Have your children pick a city abroad and turn your house into that city for a day (or longer if they really get into it!). Talk about the type of money they use, what foods they eat and maybe even a few words in their language. You can even print out a map with the location of the city so the kids can learn where to find it on the map! Have your child create a travel brochure for that city, making it colorful, and they could use some of the new words they learned.

Photo Album

Start a summer photo album. Take pictures of everywhere you go and of things that you see along the way. Print the pictures out and put them in an album. Then, have your child write a little blurb about each photo for practice with their writing skills. Do this weekly so they are only writing about a photo or two at a time. At the end of the summer, their writing skills will have improved, and you will have a new family photo album!


Conclusion

There are many great ways to prevent summer learning loss, and even accelerate academic progress, all while having fun. While this is by no means a complete list, these are some great activities and will no doubt kickstart your summer learning plans. Consider checking out some of our great products which are awesome for summer, but are also incredible during the school year. Additionally, please check out some of our other blogs if you want more activities, lessons, and guides. We have tons of great information, especially as the school year approaches.

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