Work Hard, Play Hard: Avoiding the Summer Slide
Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the glorious sound of the final school year bell. School’s out for summer and many of today’s students see the summer as a time to play video games and veg on the couch. This leaves them susceptible to falling into the pattern of the “summer slide.” Continuing with their academics and keeping their bodies active is not high on their priority list. On average, students lose two months of reading skills and over two and a half months of math skills throughout the summer. Also, students’ activity levels take a plunge once they are away from their scheduled physical education and recess times. It has been proven that just 2-3 hours of reading/math practice or application a week can help prevent children from creating a gap in their summer learning. Adding physical activity and nutrition to these practices can make them fun and more interesting to children. Here are some ideas on how to help your child avoid the academic and physical summer slide.
1.) Cook together: Find a healthy, kid-friendly recipe and make it together. Your child can read the recipe, make a shopping list of items needed, budget for how much they will spend on ingredients, lead the shopping trip, measure ingredients, and track the cooking time. It’s fun and delicious!
2.) Join a rock group: Painted rock groups are popping up everywhere. Search for your local “rock groups” and find out where individuals are hiding their rocks or even start your own. This will get you and your child out walking about local parks and is a fun way to be active and involved in your community. Not only can you search for rocks painted by others, you can get creative and paint your own unique rocks.
3.) Play a game of tag: There is nothing more exhilarating as the thrill of a good game of tag. Running, dodging, weaving, and being silly is a surefire way to put a smile on your child’s face. Not only is it active, but it’s fun. Change things up a bit for a different perspective by playing flashlight tag once dusk begins. Creating maps of great hiding spots, designing the perfect plan of attack, and writing a story about how the game went down afterwards can be great learning additions to this classic game!
4.) Create a Word Jar: Fill a fun jar with new vocabulary words for the summer. Your child gets to choose one new word a day and together you can practice putting it into sentences throughout the the day. Make it active by also including a quick exercise to complete every time the word gets used that day.
5.) Take a Ride: Strap on your helmet and take a bike ride through your neighborhood or local park. Map out the length of your trip and record how long the ride takes you every time you complete it. You can even graph your progress from one ride to another.
6.) Scavenge: Find or create a scavenger hunt to complete together. Include things that you know you can find around your house, yard, neighborhood, or even in a store or museum. This is a great way to start conversations with your child and a fun activity that will get you up and moving!
We hope that these suggestions are just a jumping off point for discovering creative ways to get your kids active and learning while avoiding the dreaded summer slide.