It's no surprise that summer can have the power to make your child's brain slumber.
We looked at the reasons why “summer brain drain" exists, and we found that the education gap has a lot to do with it. Then, we covered how you could keep your child's brain active in this article: 17 Ways to Keep Brain Drain at Bay This Summer.
However, if you’ve tried ‘em all or those tips don’t appeal to your child, try these budget-friendly ways to keep her motivated to learn throughout the summer.
1. Go to the Library
Libraries are an often underrated resource for boosting summer learning. Not only do they provide free books, audiobooks, and movies, but they also have summer programs and events.
Another great resource libraries have that often gets overlooked are the librarians themselves. Talk to your librarian about what summer learning activities she suggests, and what books she would recommend for your child or for your family to read together.
2. Read With Your Children
If they don’t naturally want to read or find it hard to read on their own, perhaps easing the load by reading to your children will help.
Encouraging your child to enjoy reading can not only help improve test scores when she goes back to school in the fall, but it can also help increase SAT scores in the future, as well as improve overall school success.
Here are three easy ways to strengthen your child’s reading skills:
Schedule a time to read to your child every day, even if just for a few minutes before bed. If your child is old enough to read on her own, it’s still valuable to read aloud to her books she can’t yet read by herself.
Discuss what books he’s reading. Ask him what he liked or didn’t like about the story, or who was his favorite character and why.
Instead of watching TV together as a family, choose an exciting book to read together and take turns reading it aloud. A family-friendly series like the “Harry Potter” or classics like “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” are fun choices for all ages.
3. Enroll In Summer Learning Programs
A learning program, like academic summer camp, is a solid way to prevent summer brain drain. Look for programs that set specific learning objectives and have organized activities focused on learning. Talk to your child’s school about what programs they recommend, and find out if they can offer financial assistance.
For more reasons why you should consider academic summer camp, check out this article: Have You Considered Academic Summer Camp? 4 Solid Reasons You Should Try It
4. Take Day Trips for Learning
Parks, museums, and zoos are great day trip destinations for summer fun and learning, and they often offer free admission at certain times or days of the week. Call them up or check their websites to find out when you can make a free trip, and what kind of summer programs and events they might be hosting.
5. Teach Everyday Math
You use math in your everyday life, so why not invite your child to help out? Here are a few ordinary activities you can turn into quick math lessons:
Next time to you go to the grocery store, ask your child to help you calculate the best deal or estimate your total price with tax.
When following a recipe, work with your child to modify the recipe for fewer or more servings.
Ask your child to add up how many hours and minutes she spends on a regular activity.
6. Volunteer in the Community
Volunteering with your child may not only help him practice everyday reading and math skills, but also encourage other types of learning such as inter-generational learning, social skills, and civic engagement. You can ask local organizations about family volunteer opportunities, or organize your own event like cleaning up a local park with neighbors for a day.
As a parent, you know that not all learning takes place in the classroom. This summer, keep learning all summer long with these fun activities. Make this summer the season of fun learning and growth in your child!
Reading to Young Children (2012). Child Trends Databank. Retrieved from Child Trends Databank
Smith, M. (2007). Stop summer academic loss: An education policy priority. MetaMetrics, Inc. Retrieved from MetaMetrics
Summer Learning Day (n.d.). National Summer Learning Association. Retrieved from National Summer Learning Association
Summer Learning Losses. (2012, March 22). McREL. Retrieved from McREL International
What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Sharp Over the Summer (n.d.). National Summer Learning Association. Retrieved from the National Summer Learning Association