So the kids are out of school, the final bell rings across all neighborhoods announcing to everyone summer break has begun and school is off until September. It doesn’t take too long before you hear the dreaded, “I’m bored” or you run out of ideas for things to do with the kids. Reality sinks in and you realize they have two whole months off!
How are you going to keep those kiddos’ skills sharp so they don’t forget everything they’ve just learned? Keeping literacy fun all summer doesn’t have to be work. One of the easiest ways to keep practicing is to keep the learning relevant to what kids like!
If they practice a skill regularly, even in some small way, it helps them to avoid the summer slide and having to relearn some skills in literacy and numeracy in September. The activity doesn’t have to be flashcards and quizzes, just something that your kids are into. And it helps if grown ups take an interest in learning alongside them.
When my kids were younger and were crazy for Pokemon cards, I didn’t like it at first that they wanted everything to do with these Pokemon. Then I listened to what they were talking about with others. They memorized statistics on each character, knew their hit points, energy points, attacks, elemental powers, and evolution phases. WOW! I changed my perspective. I realized there was a lot more involved in this card collecting than I had initially thought. I broke down some skills they were using as I listened to them try to explain to me how it worked.
- Math (mathematical skills including sorting and categorizing)
- Problem solving
- Engaging with others (taking turns, working together)
- Having fun and more!
Suddenly I was more supportive of their interest in Pokemon!
Now this is just one example, but the bottom line here is that my kids wanted to participate in this activity. They practiced skills for fun and that kept those skills sharp for them. This summer we hope to challenge families to keep learning together and keep the fun in literacy!
Some ways we can encourage young kids to have fun over summer (and secretly know they are practicing their literacy and numeracy skills):
- Read ANYTHING!
- Whether it’s Pokemon cards, graphic books (comic books), recipe cards, or building instructions.
- Create a book challenge. Could be how many books are read. How many books are read together. How many different genres can be read. How many different places can you read in? The sky’s the limit, have your child help you create the criteria for the challenge and they will be more invested. Create an incentive that helps keep the drive, but also maybe smaller prizes for milestones along the way to keep the momentum going.
- Involve your kids in any work or chores around the house and yard
- Meal prepping (we love numeracy in the kitchen)
- Research new recipes to try (borrow books from library or search online)
- Yard work like gardening (great for natural science), show them what is a flower/fruit/vegetable and what is a weed. Plant together (involve them in what to plant, where to plant it and how to care for it)
- Measure and compare growth (kids in the family, grass growing in the yard, flowers in the flowerbeds, worms in the dirt!)
- Experiment in anything! Encourage a wonder for, “what would happen if we did this….?”
- Build things together! Nothing is too small or too big to have some help from the kids. Building with sand, lego, playing cards, or Ikea furniture!
- Purge items in the house that are no longer needed. Have your child help sort items into donation piles.
- Going on a trip?
- Involve your children in making the lists. Packing lists, to do lists, destination lists.
- Give them extra jobs for earning spending money, help them create a budget for their holiday spending.
- Use Google Maps to plan ahead. Research together where you are traveling, how long it will take, how many kms to get there, what the cost of fuel should be. What is the best way to travel? How busy it is at tourist locations at different times of the day.
- Create a holiday scavenger hunt based on your itinerary
- Have your child collect or take photos of things on the list.
- Help them fill in a journal to document their time on vacation.
- When they get home, use the information in the journal, along with the photos to create a digital scrapbook or slide show. (This sure helps with the back to school question every teacher asks, “what did you do this summer, please write about it and share with the class.”
We hope these tips help you and your kids have a fun and easy summer with literacy! Check out our Party Activities tip sheet for fun party ideas!