2011-06-30 / Family

Keeping Kids Busy This Summer

Summer is a welcome respite from the hectic days of the school year. Yet no matter how peaceful the long, lazy days of summer can be, parents and teachers know that all play and no learning can make the transition back to school extremely difficult for children.

According to the National Campaign for Summer Learning, most students lose more than two months of math skills over the summer. But a break from the academic rigors of the school year doesn’t have to mean a learning loss come fall.

Parents can take simple steps to encourage their child’s learning throughout the summer months. This can be a simple as turning classic summer activities such as learning to swim, outdoor picnics, and family trips to museums into teachable moments. Another option is to enroll children in educational summer camps.

“When teachers test children’s abilities after summer break, we often see the steepest decline in skills like reading and math,” said Megan Riede, senior director of education programs for KinderCare Learning Centers. “Fun and engaging summer activities that encourage learning not only help combat summer learning loss, but can positively affect children’s motivation, self- esteem, and confidence.”

A vast majority of preschool parents (69 percent) choose to send their children to day camps according to the second annual national “Summer Fun” survey conducted by KinderCare Learning Centers, the nation’s largest private provider of early childhood education.

Here are some other tips parents can use to keep kids’ minds as sharp:

Turn a grocery store trip into a math lesson by having your child compare prices and tell you the best deal.

Change the classic road trip “Are we there yet?” question into a challenge by giving the vehicle’s speed and remaining trip distance, and having your child estimate your arrival time.

Enroll your child in a program that balances interesting and educational content with group play. For example, KinderCare Learning Centers created 12 uniquely themed camps like “Scienteriffic” and “Wilderness 101” that offer a balanced approach to learning and fun.

Make meal and snack preparation a chance to practice reading (recipes) and working with fractions (have older children double or halve a recipe).

Develop a summer reading plan with your child. Make weekly trips to the library and help your child create a list of books to read based on their interests.

Parents can find more information about how to give their children a fun, educational summer at www.kindercare.com/camp.

Learning doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Have your child grab a friend or two and set them up for a summer of exploration. Come fall, they (and their parents and teachers) will thank you. Letting your child include their friends in their reading activities will make it seem less like school and more like fun!

Return to top