Don’t Let Summer Break Mean a Break From Learning

Summer vacation is a time for kids, parents and teachers to relax from a busy, learning-filled school year. But while it can be a much-needed break, summer vacation can also have a negative effect on the progress your child made during the school year. Commonly referred to the “Summer Brain Drain,” learning loss happens to nearly all students during the months of June, July and August. In fact, studies have shown that kids lose two to three months of math progress during the summer months.

While you’re already well into summer break, it’s not too late to get your kids thinking and learning again. To help prepare your kids for the new school year in just a few short weeks, refresh their brains with these activities:

If your kids are in elementary school:

  • Write a postcard: Help keep your kids writing skills in tip-top shape by having them write postcards about their summer break or a book they just read to friends or family members. This helps reinforce penmanship and recall facts about the past few months.
  • Take a trip to the local zoo: When you’re visiting one of Michigan’s zoos, have your kids sound out the names of animals or keep count of how many types of animals they see. This helps progress their pronunciation and math skills.

If your kids are in middle school:

  • Start a summer allowance: Give your kids tasks to complete to earn a weekly allowance, then work with them on budgeting out purchases and activities. Not only does this work on math skills (how many chores do they have to do to earn enough to see a movie), but it also teaches them the essential life lesson of how to stick to a budget.
  • Visit cultural museums: Introduce your kids to history, art and culture. Take them one of the many museums in Michigan or on a tour of a historic site in Michigan or the U.S. This could also spark a new passion or interest for them.

If your kids are in high school:

  • Volunteer at a local non-profit: Spending time helping others is a great way to keep your kids grounded and teaches them about people from different backgrounds. They can work on marketing if they have good writing skills or lend a hand with the budget if they’re good at math. An extra perk? It looks fantastic on college applications.
  • Keep up with current events: Pick a section of the New York Times, USA Today or the Washington Post for both you and your child to read. Then, meet together each week for lunch to discuss current events and how they impact the world today. Think of this as a great time to bond before they go off to college.

For other ways to help your kids get ready for back to school, check out these blogs:

This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit

Photo credit: Anthony Crider

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