The words “Summer slide” may sound like a fun playground activity, but, it actually refers to a phenomenon that parents of school-aged children dread every year. During prolonged breaks, children show a tendency to lose some of the skills they have learned during the school year.
Many studies have proven the existence of the summer learning loss phenomenon. Some research has shown that, on average, children aged grade 2 – 9 lose a whopping 25 to 30% of everything they learned during the school year. Other studies estimate the learning loss over the course of the summer at roughly a month of the school-year learning.
Come September, an overwhelming majority of teachers spend at least two weeks reviewing and reteaching material and skills their students should already have mastered. The summer slide affects all critical skills, including math, reading and writing.
But that’s not all. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time children are exposed to should be limited and supervised by parents. However, statistics show that, during the summer, children watch at least 20 minutes more of TV per day.
Although most of us have a romantic notion of the summer as a time for adventures and playing, the truth is that nutrition and physical fitness suffer too, mostly due to a higher than usual consumption of sugar during this period.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid the summer slide. Summer break shouldn’t mean that learning stops. Here are some of the best ways not only to help your children keep existing skills, but to improve and gain new ones!
1. Delve into the magical world of books
If there is just one thing you do with your kids this summer, it should be reading. Apart from the obvious – practicing reading skills – it has countless other benefits too. It boosts the imagination, builds vocabulary and comprehension skills, supports emotional development, and it’s fun too! Take your kids to the library and let them pick out the books, visit a book shop, and embrace audio books on long drives.
According to experts, the benefits of summer camp are crucial for children’s intellectual and social development. The camp experience promotes independence, problem solving and decision-making skills, teamwork, motor skills, and fitness. Depending on the theme, the camp experience can also vastly improve a child’s knowledge of a certain field. The best part of all? Kids usually have so much fun that they never even notice how much they’re learning!
3. Play educational games
Whether you choose quizzes, chess, memory games, or math-based games like Yahtzee and Math War – this is an excellent way to pass the time while keeping your little one’s thinking skills sharp. Playing with building blocks and assembling jigsaw puzzles is good for boosting spatial skills and pattern recognition.
4. Take them on field trips
Take the time to explore your surroundings. Visit museums, the library, the ZOO and botanical gardens. You’ll probably be surprised just how many cool, educational opportunities your community has to offer.
Work on a weekly menu together, go to the farmer’s market, and let your children help you prepare healthy meals. Just following a recipe, measuring out, and prepping the ingredients, they will be working on their reading, math, and motor skills. Not to mention, you all get to enjoy a delicious, wholesome, home-cooked meal when you’re done.
Make sure your kids spend plenty of time outside, being physically active. Swimming, cycling, hiking, or just running around after a ball – it all counts, if they’re on the go at 30 minutes to an hour a day.
7. Plant a garden or get a pet
Caring for another living being, be it a plant or an animal, helps develop empathy and a sense of responsibility. Depending on your little one’s age, you can even encourage him to make a scrapbook, or write a diary about the experience.
It’s not too late to enroll in an Ivy Kids summer camp to help you avoid the summer slide. We developed thirteen different themes for our summer camps, that are now running all the way through August 24th. Let your schoolers choose their favorite themes, and sign up for a summer of adventure, excitement, and learning.
For more information and to sign up today, contact your nearest Ivy Kids center.