Prevent the Summer Slide with These 4 Summer Activities for Kids

It’s a kid’s favourite time of year: summer vacation. But without school to keep your kid learning every day, you may worry about them falling behind or losing some skills over the summer, leaving them ill-prepared come September.

This phenomenon is called the summer slide — and not the fun kind of slide you find at the playground. “The summer slide is about losing skills in literacy and mathematics, the core competencies [over the summer months],” explains York University Faculty of Education professor Sharon Murphy.

But there are ways to keep summer fun, while having your kid learn a thing or two. Here are four fun summer activities for kids that will keep your little one prepared for September without even realizing it.

Library days: The skill teachers most worry about over the summer break is reading, and one of the most effective ways to keep up your kid’s literacy skills over the summer is to surround them with books and give them reading activities. “If books are available, children will pick them up and they'll engage with them,” says Murphy.

Make a morning out of heading to the library, signing up for a library card (if you don’t already have one) then letting your kid go crazy picking out books. If you’re on foot, don’t forget to bring a wagon to lug the loot home.

To extend the day, head to the park with a picnic lunch and spread out all the new books your kid has picked out to look through together.

Can’t get to the library? Electronic books on an e-reader or tablet are a great option as well.

“Yes Day,” with a twist: You may have heard of the concept of a “Yes Day”, where kids get to make requests (Think: “Can I have ice cream?”) and parents can’t say no. But in this version, your kids have a budget for the day, and can plan activities and treats accordingly. They might decide, for example, to have ice cream at home rather than at an ice cream parlor, which frees up some money for a trip to the movies.

Give them a notebook where they can make a list of everything they want to do (a great way to practice writing and spelling), then help them look up prices online and show them how to add up the bigger numbers on a calculator. Be sure to have them calculate taxes, so there’s no surprise at the end of the day when the money is gone too soon.

Kids will not only learn the value of money, but will have to problem-solve the best mix of activities to keep them entertained for the day, building those adding and subtracting skills. Don’t be surprised if it becomes one of their favourite math activities.

Backyard STEM activities for kids

Science is all around us, and these activities will guarantee an afternoon of learning and fun in the great outdoors. Be sure to engage with your kids during the process by asking them what they think will happen, and why.

Sandbox volcano: To start, grab a cup or jar and fill it with one cup baking soda. Add a few drops of food colouring in the center and build a mound of sand around the cup. Slowly pour in vinegar for a spectacular lava eruption.

Solar oven S’mores: A simple shoe box and plastic wrap can make a surprisingly effective solar oven. Fill it up with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate and let the sun do its job. And why not put some water in the kiddie pool for kids to cool off while waiting for their snack.

Looking for more activities? Try growing a mystery-colour crystal,experimenting with bouncing planets, creating your own comic book, or building a wooden robot.

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By Staples Canada

May 06, 2022