Three months without any educational instruction can lead to a phenomenon called summer learning loss. Also known as the "summer slide" or "summer brain drain," it's a time when many students lose much of the information they were taught during the school year.
For example, during the summer months, most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation. Low-income students are especially at risk, losing not only critical math skills but also two to three months of reading comprehension.
As you can imagine, these losses have major consequences for your child's education. So what can you do to ensure they don't lose their hard-earned smarts over the summer months?
By taking an action-oriented approach to summer learning loss, you can keep your kid at the top of their game and ready to learn when the new school year starts.
Register for a Library Card1 of 6
It only takes a few minutes, but this act alone can make a world of difference for your child this summer. A library card is practically a ticket to a free, summer-long education that allows your child to explore whatever topics interest him or her the most.
Maybe they want to dive more into dinosaurs, read about the solar system or simply pick up a new novel. Either way, they will be exposing their minds to new concepts and improving their overall understanding of the written word.
An added bonus: libraries are usually on the frontlines when it comes to fighting summer learning loss. Be on the lookout for free educational activities each week.
Buy Your Child a Journal2 of 6
Consider buying your child a journal to keep them writing during the long summer months. Encourage your child to start by simply writing down what they did each day, and don't be surprised when it takes off from there. Soon, they'll love putting their thoughts to paper.
This will keep their writing skills sharp during the summer, making that back-to-school essay a no-brainer.
Plan Weekend Trips3 of 6
Your child may no longer be inside a school building each day, but your town or city can make an equally great substitute during the summer months.
Start planning regular education-based trips for the weekends to keep your child's mind active. Make sure to base it on their interests, too. If they love animals, take them to the zoo. Together, you can read all of the interesting signs for a crash course in biology and zoology.
Art museums, historical landmarks and science exhibits are other great options to add to your weekend list.
Enroll in an Educational Camp4 of 6
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your child learning this summer is to enroll them in a summer camp. Whether it's a daily arts and crafts camp, an overnight space camp or a camp focused directly on math, reading or language skills, the mix-and-match options are endless.
Plus, if you're a busy mom or dad who works full-time, this is a great way of combining childcare with education.
Find a summer camp here.
Encourage Overall Wellness5 of 6
A healthy body means a healthy mind; make sure your child stays active and well-fueled this summer. Encourage them to take advantage of the warmer months, longer hours and their new freedom by riding their bikes around the neighborhood, playing sports with their friends and getting outside.
Summer is also a great time to find fresh produce, so make sure your child has lots of healthy snacks in the house for when they get hungry.