Memorial Day is right around the corner, which means summer is almost here!
Summer vacation. For many kids it’s the best time of the year. The last day of school is a day that some students countdown to on the first day back in the fall. Summer means staying up and sleeping in late; trips to camp and family vacations; and no homework!
Summer Learning Loss
Many schools in the United States have 180 days of school. The traditional 9-month academic calendar was developed when 85% of American families worked in agriculture, and when climate control did not exist in school buildings.
Today, only about 3% of Americans are engaged in agriculture. Also, most schools have air conditioning, making it possible for students to be there in the hotter months.
And, for some, a few months off in the summer can lead to major setbacks in school. Research shows that kids who aren’t academically challenged during the summer start the school year behind where they ended up the previous year, a phenomenon known as Summer Learning Loss.
It’s estimated that as much as two-thirds of the achievement gap is the result of Summer Learning Loss.
In order to rebound from losses caused by the extended time away from school, teachers must spend a month or more reviewing materials students have already been taught.
How can you prevent Summer Learning Loss?
Parents play a key role in filling the gaps over summer break. Studies show that children have much better outcomes when parents are involved in the learning process over the summer. Plus, the possibilities of summer learning are limitless: it’s a time when kids can experience fields of study that are not typically provided in schools.
It’s essential to find a balance between reinforcing academic skills and having a fun summer, and MindWare is here to help! Below are a few of the most common Summer Learning Loss problems along with prevention tips for your kids this summer:
Problem: Math skills take the biggest hit in regards to Summer Learning Loss. On average, students lose more than 2.5 months worth of grade level equivalency in math skills during summer break.
Solution: Math Perplexors – Sharpen thinking skills with our best-selling line of perplexing brain builders! Each fun story problem can be solved using deductive logic and the “cross-out-and-circle” process of elimination. Each book includes 48 full-page puzzles plus solutions. Ages 6 and up.
Problem: Reading and spelling skills take the second largest hit attributed to Summer Learning Loss. Students may lose two or more months worth of reading abilities, and one month or more of spelling learning skills.
Solution: Word Winks – Everyone loves these visual wordplay puzzles, where a common phrase or expression is represented by illustrated words. Each book contains 300 brain-twisters, some immediately obvious, while others might have you stumped for a while! Ages 10 and up.
Solution: Playful Chef Deluxe Cooking Kit – Bring learning into the kitchen and get cooking with the Playful Chef Deluxe Cooking Kit. The measuring cups and spoons are color coded so children can instantly recognize the correct measurements while following the recipe cards. These detailed recipe cards are also designed with young culinary artists in mind, filled with colorful illustrations, fun facts, nutrition, extra kitchen activities and safety tips. Recipes include: Very Vanilla Cake, Egg & Cheese Brunch Soufflé, Golden Chicken Nuggets, Zesty Zucchini Fries and Super Smoothies! The gift that keeps on giving—cooking is a life-long skill that presents many teaching opportunities like following directions, measuring and encouraging new foods. Ages 6 and up.
What else can you do to prevent Summer Learning Loss?
- Ask for suggestions
Contact your child’s teacher for suggestions on which activities will benefit your child, and fit his or her personality.
- Theme it!
Theme educational activities around something else you’re doing this summer, like reading a book about astrology before or during a camping trip.
- Don’t forget car rides
Road trips are a great way to engage kids in learning and combat boredom using workbooks and flashcards.
The following skills are essential to keep sharp over summer, too!
Science Academy: Curious Chemistry – Slime Lab oozes with ways to investigate polymers, with activities like extruding fake tadpoles and leeches, growing creepy floating eyeballs and exploring special effects used in movies. Volcano Lab is an explosively interesting look at the chemical reactions that cause bubbling eruptions. Experiments include creating two distinct eruptions, formulating fizzy lava bombs and detecting invisible gasses. Eco Forensic Lab turns kids into environmental investigators as they make an acid rain detector, decode secrets in the soil using real lab equipment and learn a polluted water survival trick. Ages 8 and up.
Science Academy: Clean Chemistry – Think like a real scientist while creating luxurious custom items you can use again and again! The Soap Lab bubbles over with luxury glycerin soap possibilities—including custom shapes, bright colors and unique patterns. The Perfume Lab is a sweet-smelling way for young scientists to invent secret formula perfumes and room fresheners. The Lip Balm Lab draws big smiles with solar, shimmer, fruity and make-your-own lip balm concoctions, including an SPF lip balm option. Ages 8 and up.
Extreme Dot to Dots – Exercise your left and right brain at the same time with these complex dot to dot puzzles. Intricate, challenging and wildly rewarding to finish, puzzles range from 500 to over 1,400 dots. Some puzzles even cover a two-page spread! Counting, mapping and concentration are just a few educational benefits of connecting the dots. Ages 6 and up.
Extreme Dot to Dot Stickers – The perfect starter books for Extreme Dot to Dot puzzlers. A mysterious collection of 90 to 230 dots begins each puzzle. What will appear when you connect the dots? It may not be what you expect! Then follow the letter codes to place fun and colorful stickers and discover the true identity of your image. Each book includes 18 puzzles and over 80 custom illustrated stickers. Ages 5 and up.
Color Counts – Color Counts coloring books are great for kids and adults alike. Incorporating the color-by-number concept, reveal fantastic hidden images by coloring in the illustrations. These unique designs were hand-drawn and printed on artist-quality paper. Ages 6 and up.
DestiNation USA – State by state, this game will put kids’ social studies skills on the map! Important landmarks, historical sites and capital cities are encountered as players drive their token cars around the continental United States. Their goal? To earn the most points possible by gathering state chips (one point) and destination cards (three points) along the way. As long as travelers have playable cards, their turn continues. “Cruise Control,” “Alternate Route” and “Fly” cards add twists and turns to the journey. 2 to 5 players. Ages 8 and up.
How will you encourage your kids to have a brainy summer?
For more educational toys to keep your kids busy this summer, visit MindWare.com.