Summer is a time for fun and exploration. Many children look forward to the days where they have time to do as much as they please, without worrying about school. Although this time can be refreshing, it is also important that children maintain and build on the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the year. Without taking steps to help children preserve this knowledge, they may experience "learning loss". We've created a list of some helpful tips you can do with your children to help avoid learning loss.
Have them help with cooking and grocery shopping
Cooking and grocery shopping are often seen as basic household responsibilities. In reality, they're great opportunities for children to learn and develop skills. When children help in preparing a meal, they can develop skills such as:
-stirring,rolling and shaping dough
-counting and time management (for when the food is finished)
-basic science skills (observing how the ingredients react with each other)
In addition to all these skills, cooking can also be fun and seen as a family activity. You can also use cooking, as a way to plan and educate children about food, and help them make healthy choices in their meals.
Grocery shopping with children can at times, be a difficult task. They need to be entertained and engaged as you search for specific items. When children help with the grocery shopping, they not only develop skills, but it can also help with keeping them interested in the task. Some skills that children can develop include:
- writing list (ask them what do we need in the house)
-planning (figuring out which sections you need to go to, and in what order)
- reading (looking up the aisles and signs)
-counting (how many boxes of a specific item you need)
-money management and budgeting (telling them we only have a specific amount, how much of something can we get)
Grocery shopping doesn't have to be seen as a chore with children. You can also make it a fun activity, of who can find what items.
Visit your local library
Our local libraries are wonderful places that can be a big source of learning for children. One great advantage, is that many of the services they offer are free. There are many events that are held by the libraries for children to take part in. Some of these events include, storytelling, science programs, music programs, creative playgroups, and much more.
-Have children check out books about certain new interest or subjects to learn about. Dedicate at least 15-30 mins of reading time a day
Visit local parks, beaches
If you are planning a trip to the beach, or even a simple trip to your local park, plan it to include learning about the environment. You can list different areas you want the children to observe such as
- learning about nature
- learning about the animals
- learning about the weather
-learning about different parts of their town or state
An additional activity you can do, also includes making a map of where you went. This helps children in planning, identifying street names, directions, symbols, or just a fun creative exercise. On each trip, you can have the children take pictures, and document what they have observed and learned. Not only will the children have more knowledge about their environment, they will also have some pretty special memories as well.
Keep summer journals
Another great way to avoid learning loss is to keep a summer journal. If you want to maintain and expand on your children's writing skills, have them write about their summer. This can include daily or weekly journal entries abut things such as:
- Activities that they participated in
- Anything interesting that they observed
-What they enjoyed about their day
Encourage the children to be as creative as possible with their journals. This can include making art for each page and the cover of their journal. If they observed different animals at the park, or on trips, they can draw them and you can even help in spelling, identifying and counting how many there were. Simple entries such as "today I saw three brown birds in the park", can go a long way with counting, memory, writing, and color identification.
Set aside family time which includes a "learning game"
Learning doesn't have to be in a strict setting, or even just for the children. If you are looking for a way to include the whole family in learning, then making up a game is a great way. There are a number of great family games that you can play, that in turn, teaches multiple skills. This can include:
-spelling games. (scrabble, roll and read, chain letters, spelligator)
- math games (simple deck of cards, monopoly)
-matching and color, and number identification (uno, go fish, bingo)
Whether your children are counting the spaces to move up their players, looking for certain words to fit into spaces, or trying to match their correct card color, all of these fun games include amazing educational skills.
Include math anywhere possible
Our last tip, is most likely the most important. Try to include math anywhere and everywhere you go in the summer. There are so many concepts that children can learn, when dealing with math. It can also be incredibly frustrating and equally as difficult trying to grasp some of those concepts. With patience, and the right opportunities, children can learn and pick up these concepts as they go about their day. Here are a few tips on how to include them throughout your day.
-Ask children questions and practice counting
"How many minutes will it will take until ____ "
"How many birds do you see?"
"How many bananas do we need?"
-Help children with measuring and dividing
This can include pointing out how to divide foods such as pizza or slices of fruit. How can the children each get equal portions. Have them measure ingredients for recipes. When playing sports games, ask them how far they can kick the ball.
-Identify different shapes in everyday objects
When going out, or even the house, point out the different shapes you see and have the children identify them.