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Published on July 08, 2014

Smart Summer

How to Keep Kids Sharp over the Break from School

Research shows that all children lose some of their learning over summer break and that teachers spend more than a month reteaching lost skills in the fall. Keep summer fun while encouraging your kids to continue learning with these tips: 

  • Hit the Library: Reading helps kids improve their concentration, stretch their imagination, and develop empathy. A good book is a teacher, exposing kids to different writing styles, new vocabulary and the world around them. So take your kids to the public library this summer, find out what interests them and make a game out of it. Create a checklist of genres or must-reads. Or simply allow them to pick out whatever they want to read, no curriculum!
  • Make Math Fun: Practice math in everyday activities. Go over fractions while cooking or hide the total on grocery receipts to practice addition. Dust off the deck of cards and play critical thinking games like gin rummy or hearts.  
  • Keep a Journal: Writing improves critical thinking and the ability to convey complicated ideas. Like reading, it also leads to all-around academic improvement. Make it fun! Give your child their very own journal and let them decorate it. Have your kids write down their fun summer experiences. It can be just 20 minutes a day, for their eyes only – no judgment or grades.
  • Explore Nature: Science at its simplest form is the observation of the natural world. While there are tons of cool home science experiments to try, you can always just take your kids outside. Explore nature, encourage curiosity and discover how the world works. Visit the UW Arboretum, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center or the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Have your kids bring their journals and write down all their observations.
  • Be Active: Exercise has positive effects on learning, health and mental well-being. With games and outdoor activities, most kids don’t even realize they’re exercising. If they’re old enough, encourage them to get around by bike or roller blades (just remember a helmet!). Enroll your children in a summer sport like tennis or swimming. Or just invite some kids from the neighborhood over for a game of Capture the Flag.

How do you keep your kid’s mind sharp over the summer? Share below!

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