How to Avoid the “Summer Slide”

Have you heard of the summer slide? It’s a phenomenon among school children, characterized by a significant loss of academic skills.

During summer break, students may struggle to maintain information previously acquired during the school year. Studies suggest the average child can lose between one and three months of learning while on break.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid this decline and keep kids mentally sharp. Here are some summer activities that are fun, exciting and educational:

  • State parks and resorts offer a unique opportunity to learn about nature and Michigan’s history. It’s a hands-on experience that incorporates elements of biology, geology and more. If you’re near Traverse City, check out Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and its local landmarks, hills, lakes and valleys. To find your closest park click here.
  • If your little one’s fascinated by plant life, head over to University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. It’s the perfect introduction to both horticulture and botany as they relate to our current ecosystem. Children can see the multiple conservatories, gardens and trails. You can also inspire a future zoologist by visiting the Detroit Zoo. Observe wild life from all over the world ranging from fish to small mammals, shore birds and endangered species.
  • Museums bring history and culture to life. Enlighten minds by exploring vintage art, music and literature. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) was founded in 1885 and houses one of the largest collections in the United States. With over 100 galleries, there’s more than enough to choose from.
  • Other notable options include the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, which highlights the basics of science, technology, engineering, art and math. There’s also Portage’s Air Zoo, a multi-sensory aerospace facility that has more than 100 air and space artifacts, flight simulators and historical exhibits.
  • Educational activities don’t have to be expensive. Public libraries are community staples with resources for people of all ages. Children can participate in summer reading programs and workshops geared toward academic enrichment. They can also attend story time events and book fairs featuring some of their favorite authors.

Don’t let the summer months go to waste. Take advantage of these opportunities and give your child a head start on the new school year.

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Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages

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