It seems like children have been away from school for years, not just months! By this time, you might think you have run out of all the options to help your child entertain themselves or keep learning, just as the traditional kids’ summer ‘bored’ season rolls around. But the good thing is that parents and teachers have been fighting the ‘summer slide’ for generations and there are a number of good options to help keep children engaged in growth and learning during the warm months.
The ‘summer slide’ is generally acknowledged to be the backslide in knowledge retention that kids are affected by, with expert analysis observing a two month loss in learning growth each summer. Below are five of the best tips that Asasa Academy recommends to ensure your child can actually gain knowledge and growth, in fun, summer ways, to be ready for next school year.
Give Children Ownership of Their Activities
We all remember resenting when being told to do something for which we failed to see the purpose. It may have been perfectly purposeful to our parents, but when children don’t understand the point of an activity, they might have a tendency to block out engaging in the activity, or even resist doing it. The answer to this is to give your children ownership over their activities. What this means, is to create activities for which there is an outcome they can observe as a result from the activity itself.
A great example of this perfectly suited to summertime is growing a garden. Digging soil, pulling weeds and planting seeds are not generally activities children will engage with as a chore. But disguised as an accomplishment, as in “look at what you grew in your garden!” and your child will gain lessons of effort and reward which will help with the willingness to exert themselves in school later on.
Read, Read, Read
This is pretty self-explanatory, as both reading to your young children and encouraging your older children to read for themselves is proven to increase language and vocabulary skills. Reading can take them to new worlds where their imaginations can run wild, can teach them valuable lessons about the real world and can pique their curiosity for greater knowledge growth. The best part about reading is it can be enjoyed outside too, so your child never has to feel like they’re cooped up inside, away from the good weather. Grab your library card and load up on summer books!
Learn About Nature
Activities in nature kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. Properly planned out excursions can be both educational and healthy, as getting out in the sun and exercising is immensely beneficial, especially in the midst of viral spreads. One of the great trips close to home that fulfills both an outdoor excursion and education is a trip to the Royal Tyrell Museum and badlands dinosaur park in Drumheller. Recently reopened, the museum and accompanying parks are irresistible to children who are awed by the dinosaur replicas and eager to learn what they are and when they existed. Plus hiking around the outdoor park provides excellent exercise for both the children and parents, who may or may not wish to burn off that Quarantine Fifteen!
Not every day or every moment of every day can be filled with excitement and wonder. As parents, we tend to fret that our children be occupied with resources all day, or have a regimen of activities planned. But a child’s mind often finds its greatest results when left to itself to wander and let its curiosity discover. If you are working from home, perform a little experiment (for age-appropriate children): ensure that either your house or yard are completely secure and let them do what they want for a few hours. Don’t constantly check up on them, rather trust that their minds will invent activities for themselves. Crucial to this is limiting their access to digital screens during this experiment. The idea is for your child to create for themselves, rather than have stimuli digitally fed to them. You just might find your child has as much fun creating for themselves as with the carefully planned activities on another day!
Stay Active and Healthy
A growing child generally needs a healthy body to get the best results out of learning. During the school year, we focus efforts on indoor recreation out of necessity, but during summer, parents need to take the initiative and get their children outside playing and exercising as much as possible. Whether planned adventures, family trips to the forest or beach or just playing with friends, exercise will sharpen the mind and burn off energy that may otherwise be disruptive to learning. A child with proper exercise will sleep better and wake up refreshed, ready for whatever the next day has for them. Take advantage of the great weather to the fullest extent possible this summer!
Welcome Back in September
This year, more than ever, it is important that parents not forsake summer learning and adventure. Children will have been away from school for at least six months by the time September classes resume. When we welcome your children back to Asasa Academy, we can’t wait to see how much knowledge and life experience they have gained from their parents taking the extra effort to ensure the last six months were productive and engaging for their children.