The Summer Slide sounds like something cool at the park. However, this is one piece of playground equipment your kids should avoid over the break. Also known as The Summer Slump or The Summer Learning Loss, research on this phenomenon has shown that students can forget up to a month’s worth of knowledge gained throughout the school year when their summer vacations are void of educational stimuli. Historically, summer schools have been seen as a viable option to avoid the summer slide, and while that may be the best solution for some, there are several alternatives that are so fun the kids completely forget they’re learning.
A trip to the children’s museum is always educational. Ever since the Boston Children’s Museum first removed artifacts from their cases in 1906 and allowed patrons to actually interact with the exhibits, children have enjoyed learning from these institutions. In the past millennium, other museums incorporated more immersive exhibits, opening up a wide variety of topics for students. Art museums for a child that’s great with their crayons or natural science museums for one that’s into the history of the earth give each unique child a chance to further pursue their own passions. Zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens have also increased the number of hands-on experiences, and while not explicitly categorized as museums, these facilities also expand a child’s knowledge of the world around them.
Museums aren’t the only ones upping their game. Libraries have well been known as places of learning; though, maybe not necessarily the most enjoyable destination for some. For those that fear the shushing librarian and endless shelves of dusty books, you’ll be happy to know libraries across the nation have joined the 21st century. Of course, there are your classic summer reading programs, but there are other activities that promote everything from digital literacy and STEM to connecting with your community and expressing yourself. Just don’t forget, those books aren’t so dusty anymore! Their pages will take you to faraway places–either real or imaginary–and can be just as entertaining as the new programs and tech in your local library (if not more so!).
You and your child may want a little more structure than just occasional visits to museums and libraries. Like museums, the many different types of camps make it easy to tailor your summer to your child’s interests and academic level, and like libraries, academic camps are shunning the traditional image of hiking through a hot forest while getting attacked by bugs (though, many academic camps do include some classic summer activities for extra added fun). The thing that makes academic camps especially cool is the opportunity for attendees to make some new friends. While family outings are good, it’s important for children to have the chance to interact with their peers and improve their social skills.
You don’t always have to fight the Summer Slump with organized programs. From simple outings to more extravagant vacations, every moment with your child is a learning opportunity. What kind of plants do they see next to the playground? If gas is $2.34 per gallon, and our car holds 12 gallons, how much should it take to fill up? You don’t even have to leave your house to have fun while learning. For example, cooking is a great way for kids to learn about measurements. Also, board games help improve critical thinking skills and strategic planning. It’s not the big things you do that will stop your child from going down the Summer Slide. It’s the fact that you’re willing to take the time to be with them to help them grow.
Find More Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide
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