It's only natural that kids get excited for summer vacation. Parents may be concerned about summer "brain drain," which occurs when students lose the knowledge they gained during the previous school year.
Unfortunately, many children show learning losses when they return to school in the fall. According to RAND research, these summer setbacks are cumulative, resulting in increasing levels of learning loss over time.
“Parents can keep minds sharp by creating fun summer learning opportunities at home,” says Dr. Clement Chau. To help families avoid summer setbacks, Chau suggests the following ideas:
Visit the library
Many libraries offer summer reading challenges, which can prove to be great motivation to crack open a book. Enlist the expertise of librarians to help children find titles they’ll enjoy.
Learn about a new topic
Has your child been collecting rocks when playing outdoors? Does he or she like to point out different shapes of clouds in the sky? Encourage children to research and learn more about the subjects that fascinate them. If they are passionate about a topic, they’ll be more likely to seek
out more information.
Set aside required reading time
On average, children who read more than 20 minutes a day scored above the 90th percentile on standardized reading tests, and reading just six books during the summer can keep your child’s reading ability stable.
Use teachable moments
Going to a baseball game? Show your child how to calculate a batting average or a pitcher’s ERA. Making dinner? Let your child measure the ingredients. Clipping coupons? Show your child how much money will be saved in your grocery budget. Going on a road trip? Look up some fun facts about the different states you’ll see on license plates.