Fun ways to keep kids’ brains active
Published: May 26, 2022
By: Kimberly Blaker
Education experts have known for some time that kids who don’t go to school year-round experience summer learning loss. Still, most schools and districts have yet to extend the school year in light of this information.
Statistics on summer learning loss vary depending on the study. But those studies most commonly cited have found that kids lose an average of 2.6 months of math and 2 months of reading skills over the summer.
The good news, however, is there are ways to reduce your child’s summer learning loss. You can help your kids by providing them with plenty of educational and enrichment opportunities throughout the summer months. The following fun activities are suggested ways to keep your kids’ brains active. These activities will also help kids retain what they learned throughout the school year or even expand upon it.
- Keep ‘em reading. Public libraries offer an array of summer programs for kids. Take your children to the library often for special programs. While you are there, have them sign out a variety of books to read during the summer.
- Play word, money, number and logic games. Look for board, video, and computer games, particularly those that have won educational awards. You can also search online for ideas for games that don’t require any materials at all.
- Incorporate learning into your travels. Before you go on your family vacation, do some advance research. Look for science centers, history museums and historical sites to build into your trip, then have your kids join you in mapping out the trip. This will help keep geography fresh in their minds while also learning map skills.
- Summer journaling. Give your child a journal to write in. It can be fancy or just a spiral notebook. If they haven’t kept a journal before, suggest they spend 20 minutes writing in it every night about their day’s adventures and activities. Let your child know it’s their private journal and promise not to read it unless they choose to share it with you. This might encourage your child to invest more time and thought into their journaling.
- Messy science. If there’s anything kids love, it’s hands-on experiments. And summer is the perfect time for messy science experiments they can do outdoors. Pick up a kids’ science experiment book from your library, then have your child read through it and choose some experiments to do. Your child will learn a lot just from reading about the different experiments and will have a blast pulling them off.
- Summer camp. Look for a summer camp that has a strong emphasis on learning activities. Find one that offers an array of activities that support a variety of subjects or one with a particular focus. You could let your child help choose one in an area that they excel in, or you could guide them in selecting one in an area of difficulty that will help them better grasp a particular subject.
- Baking and cooking. Not only is cooking fun, but it also helps kids in math and science. Have your kids choose a recipe they’d like to make, then have them make half a batch or triple it for more of a challenge calculating the measurements.
- Form a book club. This can be done in a couple of different ways, depending on the age of your kids. Kids of similar ages can choose one book each week for everyone to read, then they can meet to talk about the book they read. They can discuss the plot and characters, what they liked about it, didn’t like and something they learned. Another type of book club, especially for younger kids, will require more parent involvement. Create a logging system so each child can keep a record of the books they’ve read. At the end of the summer, hold a pizza party for all the participants. Create homemade certificates and give out inexpensive prizes to all the participants. The winner receives a special award.
- Workbooks or puzzle books. Give your child a workbook for the grade level he or she just finished. Have them work on it throughout the summer to keep what they learned fresh in their mind. Another fun option is a puzzle book. There’s a variety available, including math, logic, word search, crossword puzzles and more.