Preventing the Summer Learning Slide

Sharpen Your Kid's Mind before going Back to School

If you’re a parent, you have probably heard about the “summer slide.” Research has shown that students can lose up to two months of reading and math knowledge as a result of being out of the classroom during the summer months.

It makes sense when you think of the old adage “Use it or lose it.” If you don't practice or use certain skills, you may forget or lose those skills.

With school starting soon, how can you help get kids ready? Here are four things to do to get kids’ minds working and get them excited about learning:

  1. Let Kids Help Cook: One of the best places for learning at home is the kitchen. Cooking can be lots of fun, and it can also teach math, science, reading and life lessons. 

In addition to combating summer brain drain, involving kids in preparing healthy meals and snacks may help get them interested in healthy eating. Try making one of these delicious Sneakz recipes with hidden veggies to give even picky eaters’ diets a boost.

Little ones might practice new vocabulary by naming foods and herbs, learn about fractions by measuring ingredients, or observe the chemical reactions that take place when mixing ingredients or cooking food. 

Older kids might work on planning a family meal, reading a recipe and following directions with a bit more independence. Shopping for meals at the grocery store can be a great place to practice math skills. 

This guide to cookery skills by age gives some additional ideas for how to get kids involved in the cooking process and what they’ll learn.

  1. Build Them Up With Legos: LEGOs are perfect for the teaching of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math). They are child-friendly and offer activities for all levels. Here is a great round-up of 50 Ideas for Teaching STEM with LEGO Learning from Encouraging Moms at Home.

  1. Turn Kids Into Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurship is a great opportunity to encourage learning, and kids may be able to earn a little money too. The classic example of this is allowing kids to set up a lemonade stand. You can help use the experience to teach them business concepts, and they can get some practice in math skills by helping mix up a batch of lemonade and/or collecting money and making change. Not to mention that they’ll be practicing their social skills as they help customers. 

Another entrepreneurial idea for kids excel in a certain area like art, music or a sport is to offer to teach others that skill. Teaching is a great way to cement learning. The child might charge a small amount of money to give lessons, but a better idea might be to barter with another child in exchange for receiving lessons in another subject and learning a new skill. 

  1. Make Reading Fun: Encourage kids to read YEAR-ROUND about topics of interest. A great way to get started is by making a trip to the library or a bookstore. Make sure your child has a comfortable and quiet space with good lighting for reading, and have them set aside some time to read each day. And, be sure to set an example by letting your child see you read.