Everyone loves the long summer school holidays – it’s a well-deserved break from homework, packed lunches, school drops and after-school activities, that children and parents need. But six to eight weeks’ holidays can be a long time with no educational activities, and may lead to a learning loss. So if you would like to keep your child’s schoolwork up during the holidays, without them realising they are doing work, here’s 11 surprisingly simple tips to stop the summer slide.
1. Keep Reading
Take part in a summer reading challenge.
Get the kids to write a short book report for each book read over the summer, or even just their favourite.
For younger kids, paired reading is a fun way to improve their reading – you read a paragraph, they read a paragraph – a lovely way to spend some quality time together too.
2. Write Letters/Postcards
This was such a part of our childhood, but modern technology has almost eliminated the art of letter writing. Get the kids to write or send postcards to their grandparents / cousins / friends / siblings over the summer.
“Have them write letters to different family members, even if they live close by!” – Mary
3. Keep a Summer Diary/Journal
Keeping a summer diary is a fun way to keep the kids practising their hand-writing over the holidays. They will also enjoy reading back over their activities at the end of the summer, and will be most likely amazed at all the great things they did!
Keep tickets/receipts and stick into journal from day-trips or vacations, and print out photos to help them tell their story.
“Summer journal! Awesome to bring back to show to class – just a short thing at night before bed on favorite thing that day or week!” – Rylie
4. Write Stories
Write some fun stories together – you write a sentence or paragraph, then fold it over, except for the last word or sentence, and let you child/children write the next bit. Continue passing back and forth until you end the story, then open it up and read the hilarious mismatched story!
Older kids may enjoy writing their own stories – give them a picture and ask them to write a short story about it. Or let them try make their own comics, with some pictures and dialogue to tell their story.
“You could walk outside and ask him what he likes and see if he would like to write a book and about what he sees. You will have to guide him and it may not be perfect. He can design a cover.” – Flosi
Board games are a great fun way to keep up the mental agility during the summer holidays. Let your kids be the banker in Monopoly, and let them read out all the chance cards too, to help with their maths and reading. Boggle and Scrabble are both good games to help with spelling and words. Here’s 10 Best Board Games for Families, recommended by parents.
6. Read Anything, Anywhere
For children starting to read, take any opportunity to get them reading – ask them to read street signs, shop labels, cereal packaging etc.
7. Play Maths Games
Keeping your child proficient at maths during the summer can be as simple as playing maths games in the car(counting, adding, doing mental maths/tables), at the supermarket (“I need 4 apples, 3 lemons, 5 oranges – how much fruit do I need?”), or just getting them to count your loose change. We love these 10 Outdoor Math Activities for Kids from Reading Confetti.
Recommended reading: 7 Cool Math Games Websites for Kids
“Card games are great for numeracy adding up the cards to see who can make the biggest number.” – Louise
8. Write Lists
Get the kids to write a summer bucket-list, and tick off as they complete the activities. When going shopping, get them to first check what you need and then write out the grocery list.
“Little things like helping make the grocery list help and it doesn’t seem like school work when you let him add cupcakes or brownies to the list. If you do a mix he can help mix and bake which adds reading time and math measuring. Make it fun!” – Misti
9. Word of the Day
Pick out some new words for your children, or get them to identify words they do not understand from magazines/books. Get them to look up their meaning in a dictionary, and write a sentence with the new word in it. This will help them to expand their vocabulary and practice their writing.
For older kids, you could make it some extra fun and play your own version of “Call My Bluff” – get them to find really difficult words, and write out the real definition, and two other false, but realistic-sounding meanings, and have fun seeing who can guess the correct definitions.
“Write on pieces of paper some of his favorite things. Ask him to name some favorite toys…places…activities. ..etc…place the pieces of paper in a jar that he decorates …Each day have him pick from the jar. Give him a special journal. He tells you one thing about word on the paper. You write what he says in his journal …then it’s his turn. You have him write a sentence about the word…then he sees it’s fun and you can do it together. It won’t feel like work.” – Scott
Baking or cooking with your children provides many learning opportunities, including writing out the shopping list, reading the recipe, weighing out ingredients, and reading the time. Better still, they won’t even realise they are working, as they’ll be having so much fun! We have lots of great recipe ideas here.
11. Play Apps
There are a host of educational apps out their for kids that help make learning fun, but sometimes it can be hard to know which ones are the best. Here’s 20 Free Educational Apps for Kids reviewed by Parents.
“I home school and we use a program called xtramath.org. It’s online and free. He likes it because he get to use the computer and the program is pretty fun.” – Sharolyn
Recommended reading: 50 Fun Summer Activities for Kids
Do you try to keep your kids schoolwork up during the holiday? Let us know your tips in the comments below.