Worried about summer brain drain? Don’t let all the progress your child has made this year melt in the summer sun. Read on for 10 ways—many of them more play than work— for summer learning.
1. Learn an instrument. The College Entrance Exam Board Service conducted a study on students taking the SAT exams and found that those who sang or played a musical instrument scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and an average of 39 points higher on math. If your child has ever expressed an interest in learning a musical instrument, summer is a great time to give it a try.
2. Put them in charge of dinner. Budgeting, planning, nutrition, math – sounds like a recipe for a lot of learning. Turn your child loose in the kitchen (with parameters of course) and see if you have the next Top Chef on your hands. The whole family will reap the rewards of this activity – particularly the person who used to be the dinner diva. And as a bonus, often kids are way more interested in eating meals that they have prepared themselves
3.Plan the family vacation. Ready to ride some roller coasters? Sure, your teen may throw in a few stops you had not necessarily planned but putting them in charge of some (or all!) of the vacation teaches them valuable skills in planning, budgeting, geography and more. They can research hotel costs and compare them on websites, then by calling the property. Have them create a detailed itinerary for the town’s attractions or restaurants they want to try and map it out cohesively.
4. Have them get a job. Whether they decide to create their own job as a pet sitter or gardener, or work for someone else in a store or office, having a job teaches kids amazing skills in the areas of responsibility and interpersonal relationships
5. Tutor. Working with other kids is a great way to keep skills sharp and learn patience, all while earning some extra cash — whether your teen works with a sibling, a neighbor, or someone anywhere in the world through Tutor.com (you need to be a college student to apply to Tutor.com).
6. Have a garage sale. Kids will stay productive and learn important skills as they categorize merchandise, market their event, negotiate sales and more. Have them brainstorm other side ventures too. Depending on how much stuff you have, sometimes the coffee/donut stand on the side is the real money maker. And here’s another fun twist – if they commit to donating all proceeds to the charity of their choice, consider matching the donations they receive. If they want to keep the money, charge them for half the supplies, which shows them that you have to spend money to make money. A garage sale can be much more than a clutter buster– it can be a sneaky excuse to teach kids charity and entrepreneurship.
7. Go geocaching. This high-tech game of hide and seek combines hiking with reading maps and coordinates to locate “caches,” objects that other people have hidden. Google “geocache” and your zip code to find caches near you and then track the coordinates on a GPS.
8. Send them to camp. Whether your teen is interested in Robotics, science, math, a foreign language, or writing, academic camps make learning fun. There is sure to be one that matches your child’s interests, or will allow them to deep dive into an area where they need a little extra help.
9. Don’t forget the schoolwork. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months. Don’t let that happen in your house! Talk to teachers about appropriate workbooks, websites, apps or activities. And, maintaining a schedule with Tutor.com can help keep skills fresh.
10. Make review part of the daily schedule. The best way to ensure that school review happens is to schedule it as part of the day, just like chores, exercise and other activities. Creating a regular time for reading, math review and more will ensure that it doesn’t get pushed to the wayside until the end of August. Consider starting every morning with an hour of schoolwork to head off procrastination. Does your child need incentive? Nothing like trading an hour of reading for an hour of screen time to make sure it happens!
Summer rightfully should be a time of relaxation, but there’s no reason not to incorporate some learning activities throughout. Your child’s brain will thank you, come September.
What are some ways you emphasize learning during summer? We’d love to have you share them with us on Facebook.