“School’s out for summer!”
Although your kids probably share Alice Cooper’s enthusiasm, it’s important to keep their brains active throughout the summer months.
“Students regress during the summer,” says Brianne Kirkby, the Centre Director for the Delta & Tsawwassen Sylvan Learning Centre. “Some by as much as half a grade level. By not using the skills they learned, they begin to lose them.”
Summer’s a great time for kids to be physically active, explore the outdoors, and get some rest and relaxation after a school year. However, setting time aside for learning ensures a smoother transition from summer to September.
Kirkby shares four tips to keep your child’s brain in gear this July and August.
1) Keep kids reading. Reading has the benefit of being entertaining for a child, while also increasing their comprehension and vocabulary. It improves their writing and communication, as they pick up on sentence structure and other skills.
There’s plenty to learn from books: empathy, critical thinking, learning new perspectives, and forming ideas and opinions. Arm your kids with books during camping trips and road trips.
2) Make TV time a time for learning.When watching a TV show or a movie with your child, ask them critical thinking questions such as what they think of a particular character’s actions, how they’d act in a situation, and why they think a character acts a certain way.
Keeping a child engaged and thinking is particularly crucial for those in higher grades where they’ll be expected to be independent learners. It’s good to start the process early.
3) Play games that reinforce numeracy skills. Card games where kids have to add up numbers quickly or games like Yahtzee are beneficial in keeping the brain active. Basic arithmetic and computational skills impact a child’s motivation to learn more complex math concepts.
Setting aside time for math drills and practice activities is also very helpful.
4) Science in nature.Use hikes and camping trips to reinforce topics your child learned in science class. Lightly quizzing them and pointing things out, such as tree types, will keep them engaged and thinking.