50 Ways to Slow the Summer Slide

Those long, hot days of summer are loads of fun, but they can also be a brain drain for your kids. It has been well established that kids lose some of the skills they acquired during the school year over summer, mostly because they aren't using them. So, if you want to help slow what has been called the Summer Slide, you want to get your kids using those skills. 
Fortunately, you don't have to force your kid to spend hours with a workbook to accomplish this goal. There are many opportunities for learning in everyday life and better yet, most of them are fun! So try some of these ideas to keep your kids learning (and happy) over the summer months:
  1. Partner read with your child (take turns reading a sentence, paragraph or page).
  2. Find a project from the last school year and ask your child questions about it.
  3. Write letters or emails to friends and relatives.
  4. Play games in the car that reinforce skills (e.g.: the alphabet game with younger kids, the spelling game GHOST with older kids).
  5. Play board games that reinforce skills such as Yahtzee, Boggle, and SET.
  6. Go lots of places! The park, the zoo, the aquarium, the museum, even just a walk around the neighborhood. Kids learn by doing better than by watching, so also...
  7. Limit screen time.
  8. Use sidewalk chalk to your advantage. Math problems and word writing are more fun when they can be done big and colorful.
  9. While you are waiting in line at the store, amusement park etc., create story problems about what you see around you (e.g.: There are eight cars on the roller coaster and each car fits four people. How many people can ride at once?)
  10. Read the same book at your child. Discuss together. Here are some fun questions to try.
  11. I am not a huge fan of summer workbooks (unless you happen to have a kid that loves them), but if you must use them, do so sparingly and consider offering a reward of some sort for completing them. Also, try to do them first thing in the morning to get them done for the day.
  12. Have a lemonade stand - tons of math there with making the lemonade and counting money.
  13. Bake and cook, again a great opportunity for math.
  14. Go on a nature walk. Bring a local plant identification key along. Try and find a fairly simple one designed for kids.
  15. Have your child keep a summer journal, or try this Mix and Match approach for journaling fun. 
  16. Try writing partner stories with your child. Each of you start a story. Then after a set period of time (about 10 or 15 minutes) swap papers. Each of you must now continue the other's story. Continue swapping until both stories are done. 
  17. Do math at the grocery store. Figure out which buy is better. Estimate how much all of the groceries in the cart will cost. Find the difference between the estimate and the actual cost.
  18. Do math at the gas station. Round gas per gallon prices to the nearest tenth. Estimate how much filling your tank will cost. 
  19. Try a Nature Scavenger Hunt.
  20. Go to the library at least once a week. Be sure to check out the summer programs they offer. Many libraries now go way beyond the traditional story time.
  21. Explore an interest. Whether it is trains, martial arts, coin collecting, or Pokemon, summer is a great time to dig in. Kids can read and write about their interests and tell what they learned to family members.
  22. Do some science. This book is full of ideas for easy and fun experiments.
  23. Summer is a terrific time to improve reading fluency. Do this by allowing kids to read high-interest material. Don't worry that it is not "good literature." By letting them read comics, graphic novels, joke books, books with the word "underwear" or "butt" in the title and so forth, you are not only helping your child to become a fluent reader, but also fostering a love of reading. 
  24. On trips choose audio books over videos. 
  25. Go on an ABC Nature walk. Here is a free one to try.
  26. On vacation, learn about your destination. Have your child find out three facts about where you are going. Guidebooks can be a good resource.
  27. If you are going to a National Park, be sure to take advantage of the visitor center exhibits, ranger talks, and junior ranger programs. 
  28. The Treasure Hunt Book from Klutz makes scavenger hunts easy. The clues are already written out and all you have to is hide them. Not only that, the hunts themselves are really quite ingenious. 
  29. If your child is learning to tell time, get him or her an analog watch and ask what time it is frequently.
  30. Older children and teens may enjoy starting a blog. One of the easiest platforms is Blogger. Fonts, colors, and designs can be easily changed and you can make the blog private if you are worried about internet safety. 
  31. Puzzles are a great way to keep skills sharp. Consider Suduko, crosswords puzzles, word searches, logic puzzles etc. Here is one of my favorite puzzle books
  32. Plant something. Even beans in a plastic cup. Draw the plant at each stage of development. Measure it and chart its growth. 
  33. Set a reading goal for the summer. Try this free Reading Log to keep track of books read.
  34. Have your child make Top Ten lists. They are fun and motivating and can be about almost anything...songs, books, movies, summer activities, snacks, etc.
  35. Older kids will enjoy geocatching.
  36. There are tons of fun and educational Ipad apps. Just make sure that you are spending more time actually doing things than swiping a screen.
  37. Have your child read where every you go....signs and billboards, restaurant menus, food labels, etc.
  38. Expose your child to different cultures. Go to a cultural fair or celebration that is open to the public, try a new ethnic restaurant, explore your city's International District. And if you can afford it, visit another country.
  39. Set a reading goal for the summer. Try this free Reading Log to keep track of books read.
  40. For older children, this summer is good one to learn more about our election processes. In addition to understanding the electoral college, you could also discuss the campaigning techniques the two presidential candidates are using in terms of strategy, effectiveness, and ethics.
  41. Have your child write the shopping list.
  42. Whether you are going on vacation or not, summertime is a great time to explore maps. In a new city, let your child map out a route to the the next destination or calculate the miles between one place and another. In your own town, use a map to plan a route. On the road, your child can be the navigator. 
  43. Have your child make Top Ten lists. They are fun and motivating and can be about almost anything...songs, books, movies, summer activities, snacks, etc.
  44. Leave sticky-notes with fun little messages for your child to read. Encourage him or her to write back.
  45. For younger children, remember that classifying, sorting, and patterning are all part of learning math. Among other things, children can sort seashells, line up rocks by size, make patterned Froot Loop necklaces, etc. 
  46. On a rainy day, go bowling, but don't use the computer to score. Instead, have your child score manually using a score sheet that you print out
  47. Would your child enjoy writing a book over summer? You can make it simple with homemade covers and binding, or use one of the many online programs to get your child's book professionally bound. Makes a great gift for relatives as well - signed by the author!
  48. Play horseshoes, lawn darts (they make safe versions without the points), shuffleboard, or any other game that requires keeping a running total of points scored. 
  49. Start your day with one of these Creative Thinking "Thinkable" activities.
  50. Try answering some of your child's questions with, "What do you think?" You may find yourself amazed at what your child comes up with. 
Got more to add? Please comment.


Mrs. L said...

I love this and would love for you to add it to my Stop the Summer Slide Linky Party on my blog.

Sara said...

These are awesome ideas! Thank you for sharing them :]

I found your blog via Elementary Matters! Thanks for all you do :]

Miss V's Busy Bees

Rachel Lynette said...

Thanks so much for the kind words! I love Sally at Elementary Matters. She has the best ideas!

Robert Smith said...

Great ideas, Thanks for sharing with us.

education curriculum said...

Great post! Thanks a lot.

Cyndie at Chalk One Up for the Teacher said...

Hi there! I have to do a presentation at the end of this school year. Do you have this in a format that we can purchase? It is an absolutely amazing list!!!

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