Brain-stimulating activities to help avoid the ‘summer slide’

As summer approaches, many parents are worried about the summer learning slide, and with good reason. Students who do not participate in enrichment and learning activities during the summer break can lose much of the knowledge and skills they gained during the previous school year. Here are some easy and fun ways to keep your kid’s brain active.

Turn everyday activities into teaching opportunities

Teaching opportunities occur every day in your home or own backyard. To help children grow their math skills, ask them to make the grocery list, go shopping with you and practice adding up the bill. Then invite children into the kitchen to learn about cooking and practice fractions by measuring ingredients. If you garden, have children help seed and tend to the plants. Study the animals and bugs in your yard, such as birds, squirrels, deer, lizards, worms or lady bugs.

Turn learning into an adventure

Open the morning newspaper and choose an adventure for the day. Visit the farmers’ market to learn about vegetables. Attend community music events, and then research the instruments. Head to the Botanic Gardens to learn about native plants and then return home and have kids draw what they saw.

Embrace technology and create interactive projects and activities

Involve children in digital storytelling by using computer-based tools (video, photos and presentation software). For instance, your children can use family photos and videos to tell a story about summer activities, and you can keep it as a precious memento.

Balance academic and social engagement

it’s important to give children a balance of activities during their break. Not only does playing with friends provide important social engagement, but it also gives parents insight into how their children learn best. Educational activities can be fun in groups too – your children enjoy both social stimulation and keep their brains buzzing.

Summer learning activities do not have to be expensive

Many of the best summer learning activities are free or cost very little. Visit your local public library to borrow books, and pick up an event schedule for story times, art activities, reading clubs and more. Head to a museum during free admission days. Also consider virtual museums, accessed on a home or library computer.

Be engaged in your child’s learning

A variety of stimulating activities help children avoid the summer slide, but activities also serve as an opportunity for parents to connect with children on a deeper level. When you find out what interests your child, build an assortment of activities based on those preferences. Then plan activities together and explore those interests. You’ll both enjoy the quality time spent together.

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