Summer Learning for Kids
Last year I had the pleasure of assisting a very fun first grade class. This year I was able to move up with them and assist them in second grade as well. I was totally shocked those first weeks of second grade! We would work on something I knew the students learned last year and it was like they never learned it. Then as a parent of 3 I was worried. What did my children forget? What could I have done so that my children don’t have to struggle so much? As the year went on I made notes of fun ways children of any age can keep their school skills up through the summer. Just a daily 15 minutes of any one of these summer learning for kids tips will make such a difference for your child when the school year comes back around.
The first and easiest way is to READ!!!!
Sorry to shout, but it is so important! Having your child read 15 minutes a day helps with their reading skills, grammar, vocabulary, writing skills and more! And the good news is that it’s summer, so let them read books they really want to read instead of what’s required for a book report. A teacher once told me you are never too old to read to your children. My husband reads to my 12 year old every night. What a great way to have your child get their reading time in, but also have some quiet one on one quality time with them. Local libraries often have fun summer programs that encourage reading. Barnes and Noble also offers a summer program. Your child can earn a FREE BOOK after reading 8 books. The website also has more tips and fun activities for the summer. All the information can be found here.
You can also have fun with spelling over the summer.
No need to sit and drill your student with spelling words. Instead take a walk with your child and play a game!! Mom or Dad can spy something and your sweet student can spell what it is. If your child just finished kindergarten or first grade, you can spy things with 3 or 4 letters. For older students add a letter per grade. Of course your student may be able to do better than that, but start easy. Remember to have fun with it! Be sure to praise them when they do well. You could also do this on a trip to the grocery store, when you are on a road trip, or when visiting a place like the beach!!
Practice Math in a fun way!
Now, no matter what grade your student is in, there are basic math skills that always help. Students who memorize their addition and subtraction facts have an easier time whether they are in first grade or their first year of high school. But who wants to sit around memorizing flash cards? Instead use 2 dice. Have your student roll the dice. Then ask them to add the 2 numbers. That’s it! Easy peasy!! And you can do this during commercial breaks when watching their favorite show. This way they don’t feel like they are working. When they do well adding, ask them to subtract the numbers you roll. Have an older student? Have them multiply or divide the numbers. You could also use a deck of playing cards to do this, just count the picture cards as 10. Doing this a little bit every day can make a huge difference!
Now my kids will do just about anything if it’s on the computer. If you have a child that loves the computer try Xtra Math! Xtra Math is a website that helps students work through math facts in a fun way. You can sign up for a free account. The games are quick, less than 5 minutes. Your student can play 2 a day during the summer and it will make a dramatic positive impact on their math ability in the fall. The student works on addition facts first. The website presents the facts in a way that they have success quickly. As it gets more difficult they mix the facts they are learning with facts they already know. So it gradually builds their knowledge. Once they finish addition they work on subtraction then multiplication and division. Even your high school student working on Algebra or Geometry can benefit by building on these Mathematic foundations. It makes the work they do in higher level math so much easier.
Another way to build not only on math skills, but also social studies skills is to use money. If your child is going into kindergarten or first grade, pull out some real coins and just talk about what they are and what they are worth. You can also have a lemonade stand! Having a lemonade stand provides the opportunity to use money in a very real way. When I was a child we did this on our own, but be sure you are supervising your children on this activity so everyone stays safe. Donating the money to charity can also help teach your child about giving to others. If you are having a summer yard sale it is the perfect time for children to set up and sell lemonade or water bottles.
You can also play store at home! Give your child a couple dollars and some coins. Pick a few toys and put a price on them. Then have your child “buy” items from you. This is a great way to practice money with any age group. For children through 2nd grade keep it simple by having items cost less than a dollar. For older students you can do the same with higher priced items. You can also involve them when you go shopping. Why not head to the thrift store one afternoon and have a sort of treasure hunt. Have your child find how many shirts they could buy for $15. Tell them they are a Mom buying an outfit for 3 children and they only have $20. Tell them they have a job interview and that they need to buy a suitable outfit for $10. These are great ways to teach your child not only how to use and count money, but how hard it can be to work on a budget! Be sure to point out the prices at a retail store after this game so they can really understand how expensive everyday items can be.
Just a few minutes a day doing any one of these tips will help your child tremendously. Children who don’t have to play too much catch up in the fall have a much smoother transition into the school year. So have fun!! I won’t tell your kids they are learning too.
Thanks to Tricia Schmitz for these summer learning for kids tips!
Looking for other fun summer activities? Check out our summer posts!
- Money Saving Tips for Summer Reading
- 100 Things to Do This Summer
- Free Summer Activities for Kids: Flying Kites!
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Topic: Summer Learning for Kids