Right now, many students are looking forward to trading in backpacks full of heavy books and homework assignments for lazy summer mornings and poolside relaxation. At the same time, parents and educators may worry the lack of engagement will cause their students to lose the academic skills they just spent months learning.
On average, students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills over the summer months, according to the National Summer Learning Association. In addition, low-income students lose more than two months of reading achievement.
Here are six summer learning activities that will keep students of all grade levels engaged during the break:
- Find a summer camp. Camps can provide character development, teach leadership skills, and help build a child’s confidence. Students often develop meaningful peer relationships and learn from older role models and mentors. Camps also promote a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and engagement with nature. To find accredited daytime or overnight camp programs, visit the American Camp Association’s website.
- Allow educational screen time. While parents and educators may not want students to waste away the summer days in front of a television or computer screen, some websites offer educational games that are fun for young students and help them stay academically engaged. ABCmouse.com offers a full online curriculum in reading, math, science, art, and music for students in preschool through kindergarten. Similarly, Kids.gov offers educational games, activities, and videos for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
- Encourage career exploration. Take advantage of the summer months by encouraging your high school student to research and explore career options. Find out what types of careers the student is interested in, assist with researching them online or at the local library, then seek out opportunities for the student to observe or shadow a professional in that field. Look for ways to connect the student with an industry mentor either online or in your community.
- Look for volunteer opportunities. Encourage older students to stay active in the community during the summer by volunteering for a local organization. Volunteering provides valuable experience by helping students develop leadership and job skills, exposing them to potential career opportunities, and helping them make their own professional connections within their community.
- Plan family outings. Summertime is a great time for families to plan enriching activities together. On good-weather days, take daytrips to parks, gardens, and zoos. On rainy days, visit libraries, museums, and aquariums. After each outing, take turns talking about what you liked the most or what surprised you and share a fun new fact you learned.
- Participate in Summer Learning Day. Get involved in this year’s Summer Learning Day on June 20, a day dedicated to spreading awareness about the importance of staying academically engaged during the summer months. Tune into the conversation on social media to share your learning strategies as well as discover new tips for promoting summertime learning from other families and educators.