Boost Your Kid’s Smarts This Summer
Summer vacation is a chance for your kid to put away their pencils and notebooks until September, right? Unfortunately, taking three months off from learning can set your kid back when they return to the classroom. Research shows that without any educational activities over the summer, most kids will lose about two months of math skills. And kids in lower-income families will also lose an average of two months of reading and language skills. Repeating those “summer slides” year after year can really add up, making it tough to keep up with classmates.
What’s a parent to do? Why not add some reading, writing and math games into the rest of the summer? It will help your kid stay at the same level or even surpass where he or she was at the end of the last school year (and don’t worry—this can be fun!).
- Read together: Most kids should practice reading for at least 30 minutes a day—it’s one of the best ways to improve their language and comprehension skills. Make it a family event by having everyone read at the same time before bed or on weekend mornings. Go on weekly trips to the library and have the kids pick out their own books (this way they’ll be more excited to dive in). If you think they’re ready for a challenge, pick a book that’s slightly above their reading level and make it a goal to finish it by the end of the summer.
- Take the classroom outside: Museums, zoos and aquariums can be fun educational field trips during the summer. Read the signs explaining the exhibits and animals, and ask your kids questions to get them thinking about what they’re seeing. If you’re planning a vacation, visit some historic landmarks along the way. You can even take a day trip to the Michigan State Capitol or the Henry Ford Museum—you just might learn something yourself!
- Make it a game: Board games are actually impactful learning tools that require math skills, logic and creative solutions. No kid wants to do a math worksheet in the summer, but they won’t even notice they’re practicing addition and subtraction when they have to make change in Monopoly.
- Lean into interests: Use activities your child already likes as a chance to get them thinking. Is your kid into sports? Have them pick up a book on their favorite athlete or learn about how muscles work together. Does your kid love being outside? Go on a walk through the woods and write down observations about different animal habitats or watch a documentary about the ocean.
If you’re not sure what your child should focus on, try reaching out to their teacher or joining a Michigan public library summer reading program.
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