Use it Or Lose It! How to Keep Kids Learning Over Summer

by Laura Wallis | Follow Her on Twitter Here

Keep kids learning over summer!OK we are not killjoys, forcing our kids to spend every day they’re off doing drudgey homework. But the truth is that the more you work with your kids on “keeping up,” the better they will perform when they get back to school come fall.

Here are some painless ways to prevent summer brain drain over the summer!

  • [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0547237650″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41wv7okQ7-L._SL160_.jpg” width=”108″]Sign up for the reading club at your local library. Almost every library has a program, and they often come with really cool prizes! Some libraries even have science or craft activities that go along with the reading program. Tracking progress helps kids see how far they have gone and the prizes at the end can make it more fun!
  • Take your book outside. Who doesn’t love stretching out on the grass on a warm summer day? Whether you’re reading an old school book or an eBook on your iPad, somehow reading outside makes it that much more fun!
  • [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0440414806″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rfJP%2B8nvL._SL160_.jpg” width=”104″]Start a reading club. You know your book club that is really just a façade for getting together for a little whine/wine? Kids love them too! Ditch both kinds of wine and instead give a theme to the party that matches your book. Not sure what to read? Check out Amazon’s “Bookshelf” organized by age. Two fun ones that come to mind and have instant “themes” are The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, and Holes by Louis Sachar. I can just picture all that round food now!
  • Cook together. Speaking of food, you’d be surprised how much kids can learn about fractions and math doing cooking projects! Let them help choose the recipe (something tells me it’s going to be cookies!) and then practice doubling or tripling it. I mean, who doesn’t want MORE cookies?! Doubling and tripling those fractions can make for great, fun math practice.
  • Find a fun math games website or app. We’re not going to lie. You could make up your own word problems (If two trains pass each other and one is going 60 and one is going 50…..) but we’d hate to induce nightmares! Instead take a look at MathBlaster.com or kidsmathgamesonline.com.
  • Do math facts. Anywhere/anytime. One of the key ways to encourage math success is to make sure they have their addition/subtraction/multiplication and division facts DOWN. I just throw out problems as we’re driving along or waiting somewhere to pass the time. Sure, you could find worksheets online but a random: “Quick! What’s 8 x 9?” sometimes gets their attention faster.
  • Practice math with money! That’ll get their attention! Give them an allowance and encourage them to keep/save/spend certain percentages. Or, at the beginning of a vacation give them a set amount of souvenir money and see what they do with it. If they only have $100, they will definitely stop harassing you at every store, and might even pass up the trinkets and trash for something that will be useful long after the trip is over!
  • Keep a journal. How much fun for kids to practice their writing by keeping a journal: either an old-fashioned paper one or a digital one. Of course we recommend old-school writing and here’s a fun “vacation journal.” But any notebook will work just as well! Take your child to the store, and before they complain about buying school supplies ALREADY, tell them they are picking out their own fun notebook and pen to keep track of their adventures all summer. It will be so much fun to look back on in years to come.
  • Do Mad Libs! Surely you remember these from YOUR childhood. They are surprisingly effective at teaching your kids parts of speech! Just remember, a noun is a person, place or thing; a verb is an action word; and an adjective is a describing word!

We’d love to hear how you keep kids learning over summer break? Let us know in the comments below!

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