Summer is a much-needed break, but with all that time off it can be difficult to jump start again in September.
According to Sylvan Learning Center, students often forget new concepts within 24 to 48 hours after learning them unless the information is reinforced or applied immediately. And the Journal of Educational Research found that the average child loses 2.6 months of grade-level math skills alone during summer break!
Everything around you can be used to reinforce critical thinking concepts. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your summer fun that will help prevent that dreaded summer brain drain. Your child will be off to a great start come fall.
Stories in Space
Create a space themed room as you go through summer. A good amount of satisfaction and motivation can come from seeing what you've accomplished. Displaying all the books your child read over the summer helps them retain the stories and the desire to read more. Use a black marker to write titles of the books your kids have read on glow-in-the-dark stars and tack them all around their room. Use planets when they've finished a series.
Talk the Talk
Ask questions about anything and everything, but not the kind that elicit "yes" or "no" answers. Instead, ask "What did you like about . . . ?" "What was your favorite part of . . . ?" Get kids talking and you'll find wonderful opportunities to turn life's normal experiences into teaching moments. Encourage them to write their thoughts as little essays in a summer fun journal.
Hosting neighborhood game nights can be a fun way to get to know people, and can help the kids stay mentally active. Games like Scrabble, Uno, crossword puzzles, Sudoku or basic card games can make for a fun night and reinforce memory, concentration, logic, and reasoning skills.
Take advantage of the knowledge you can gain on summer vacations. For every new thing your kids learn about the vacation spot, put a certain amount of money in a jar for their vacation spending money. Use the library and Internet to learn about the destination's sights and history. Study maps, books that feature the area, and plot mileage.
Add It All Up
Start at the grocery store to reinforce math skills. Teach kids how to add up coupons, discuss decimal points, and stay under a budget! When you get home, help them use the measurements in a recipe to decide how many cups of finished product it will make. Then figure out the nutritional value per serving.