Stopping “Summer Slide”: Learning Activities All Summer Long!

Over the summer students tend to forget things they learned throughout the year, studies show. Summer learning loss — also known as “summer slide” — can happen at any age. By focusing on fun activities that build skills, you can enhance your child’s learning when they aren’t in school (or even when they aren’t old enough to be in school!). Here are some ideas for helping little ones learn all summer long:

  • Read aloud, read often. It is important to continue to read aloud to your child in the summer. Aim to spend at least a half-hour reading together each day.
  • Make going to the library part of your summer routine. Take part in special summer reading or learning programs; regularly borrow books and other materials.
  • At the start of the summer, discuss becoming “experts” about something that interests your child. Do they love dogs or outer space? No matter the subject, make learning about it a priority, focusing on spending time reading aloud and discussing what you learn. Try some hands-on activities or field trips to discover more about the subject you chose. At the end of the summer, work with your child to create a book that includes the knowledge they gained over the summer.
  • Do a “Shapes Scavenger Hunt.” When you are on a family outing, draw a list of shapes such as triangles, squares and circles for family members to try to spot. First person to find all of the shapes wins!
  • Take trips to places to see nature, museums and zoos. Make sure to visit interactive and hands-on parts of these places, and discuss the experiences with your child. What was their favorite thing? Why?
  • Attend free summer concerts. Studies have shown that music can help improve language skills and boost IQ. First 5 LA sponsors free, family-friendly summer concerts at Levitt Pavilion, Ford Theatre (Ford Family Concerts) and in Downtown L.A. (Grand Performances). Join us for a show!
  • Turn everyday activities into learning experiences. Incorporate counting; identify letters, numbers, and shapes; and discuss how words are made when you are out and about. Street signs, billboards, and even sky advertising at the beach can be great learning tools!
  • Practice writing. Show your child his or her progress in shaping letters and numbers over the summer — praise is a great motivator!

Make a summer scrapbook. Writing down those special events will not only preserve memories but also help children make connections between letters and words. If your child is too young to write sentences, try having them write one word to describe something fun that they did over the summer and/or draw a picture of it.

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