Parents line up summer camp but they should also plan for preventing the dreaded summer slide.
The summer slide is the information and skills children forget during summer break. This education slide is well-documented. And while some people are aware of the learning loss, many aren’t aware that children tend to gain weight more rapidly when they’re out of school.
What can parents do to keep young brains and bodies engaged in healthy ways over the summer?
- Journal current achievement levels. How do you know if your child is affected by summer slide if you don’t remember where they ended the year? Create a summer journal and, in the first few pages, document their end of year scholastic achievements. Were they adding and subtracting double-digit numbers? Doing long division? What were some of their vocabulary or spelling words? Throughout the summer you can track their progress and, at the least, maintain those levels – or maybe even move on to more challenging material.
- Try a weeklong educational day camp. We all want our kids to have fun during the summer, and they can. Enroll in the fun, active day camps that focus on learning through play. Toward the end of the summer, you may want to have your children attend one week of math camp and one week of reading camp as a refresher.
- Free time that feeds the brain. Kids have a lot more free time in the summer. With fewer scheduled activities, even kids who attend a camp may have more time to hang out in the evening. How can you feed their brain during this extra time? Visit the library and check out print books, audio books, educational DVDs, and even educational computer games. Many websites offer activity ideas that you and the kids can enjoy together.
- ACTIVE-ate the brain. Staying active exercises both the body and the brain. Just like our body needs exercise to stay healthy, so does the brain to keep those neurons firing. Encourage kids to stay active and play outside during the summer and allow only limited, scheduled times for sedentary activities such as video games or TV.
Carrie Scheiner was inspired by her children to develop the Exploracise program, www.exploracise.com, providing parents and educators with award-winning products and programs that combine learning, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.