Once your child starts school the phrase “Summer Slide” is one you will become very familiar with. Almost every piece of literature that goes home before school ends focuses on this topic.
The “Summer Slide” refers to your child forgetting skills that they learned during the previous school year.
Essentially, what educators are saying is, don’t forget to throw a little educational practice in this summer, so your child doesn’t show up to school next year forgetting what they learned this year.
For kids going into pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade it’s very easy to practice skills by having fun- every single day- without workbooks or flashcards or a whole lot of prep.
Check out the ideas below and make plans to incorporate them into your summer routines. You’ll be glad you did!
Read, Read, Read
There’s been a great quote going around Pinterest and the internet that sums up how kids learn to love reading.
“Children fall in love with books because of the memories created when they snuggle up and read with someone they love.”- Raising Readers
It’s true. If you haven’t started reading with your kids regularly, it’s not too late. As an educator I beg you to take 10 minutes every day or before your child goes to bed to read. As a mom, I beg you to take 10 minutes to read with your child because it’s a great bonding activity.
Read on the couch, the bed, in a tent or fort you’ve created, on a park bench, anywhere…just read!!! Chat about the pictures- What happening? Who is that? What do you think will happen next?
Read favorite stories again and again. Ask your child to find a letter, word, number, or color they know. And when your done, talk about your favorite parts of the story. Make a plan to go to the library once a week or every other week and choose 5 new books to read.
Here are some great summer books to get you started:
2. Play Board Games
Yep, think ‘old school’. Get out the games we played as children and teach them to your kids. Board games are a great way to practice taking turns, good sportsmanship, counting, comparing numbers (who has more or less), colors, strategy…the list goes on and on.
Remember these games? It’s time to bring them back. Or check out some new games and learn how to play them together.
3. Get in the Kitchen and Make Something Together
Working together in the kitchen to create something is not only a fun memory, but it’s wonderful way to practice all kinds of skills. When you’re cooking you are working on sequencing, following directions, reading recipes, fine motor skills such as cutting, spreading, or stirring, you’re using your five senses, and telling time and temperature.
Maybe consider some of these ideas in the kitchen this summer:
- Make chocolate chip cookies from scratch- (It’s funny because a lot of kids don’t realize you can do this anymore. They think they all come from the store or slice and bake! How sad they haven’t gotten to lick the beaters from the mixer!)
- Make pizza either from scratch or use store bought crust
- Find a popsicle recipe to try
- Make smoothies and taste test your favorites (This might give you some ideas for breakfast when school starts)
- Try out a new muffin recipe
4. Create an Art Center at Home
Find an old box or an old plastic container. Put some pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, glue, and chalk in. Add some fun paper, use the backs of unwanted mail or lists, and some construction paper. If you want to go all out, you can include water color paint, stamps, decorative tape, and envelopes.
Sit down with your child and create. Make a plan.
“I want to make a card for Daddy. I think I’ll fold the paper in half and write his name on the front.”
“Maybe I’ll cut out a heart and glue it on so he will know how much I love him.”
“I could also add some stickers and I can’t forget my name so he knows who it’s from.”
If you work beside your child and create together, your child will see you modeling and pick up some of your ideas to try on their own. At our house we have a little table right off the kitchen with all of their writing and art supplies. My girls know that all the materials must be kept there, but that they are welcome to go over and make something any time they want. They regularly make things for me and their dad, for their friends, or even things for their stuffed animals.
Your child will be working on writing, making a plan and following a step-by-step process to complete their idea, how to use scissors and other writing tools. They’re learning that writing has meaning and that it’s important.
5. Just talk to them!
Summer is about memories. It’s about having fun with family and friends. It’s about staying up late and sleeping in (if your kids will let you).
No matter what you’re family does this summer, whether it’s as simple as going to the grocery store or going on a family vacation, talk to your kids. Put the technology down and talk. Talk about where you are and what you’re doing. Talk about people you see. Use your five senses to observe the things around you and make conversation.
Conversation skills are becoming more and more difficult for kids. Children who play on tablets and gaming systems or watch TV and iPads for long periods of time instead of communicating with others, may lack in their language development.
They may be able to speak clearly (articulation), but they might struggle with understanding language concepts. In the classroom, I’ve noticed that children, as a whole, really struggle with this and it’s something we can easily work on with our children every. single. day.
- When we talk about where we are going, what we will see, and when we need to be there- we are modeling language skills.
- When we ask questions about how and why things happen, we are encouraging critical thinking skills and abstract thinking.
- When we give multiple step directions (ex. pick up your clothes, put them in the hamper, and then put your shoes on) we are expanding their language and listening skills as they follow the sequential steps. It’s not a difficult thing for us to do, we just need to be more mindful about doing it.
Another benefit is that as we talk with our kids, we will develop closer relationships with our kids and they’ll also learn to trust that we want to know what they have to say.
So there you have it- 5 easy things to incorporate into your summer that will help your child practice skills they’ll need throughout school.
I’d love to hear what you like to do over the summer with your kids, drop a comment below!