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Keeping kids busy during the summer can be easy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Summer is a welcome respite from the hectic days of the school year. Yet no matter how peaceful the long, lazy days of summer can be, parents and teachers know that all play and no learning can make the transition back to school extremely difficult for children.

According to the National Campaign for Summer Learning, most students lose more than two months of math skills over the summer. But a break from the academic rigors of the school year doesn’t have to mean a learning loss come fall.

Parents can take simple steps to encourage their child’s learning throughout the summer months. This can be as simple as turning classic summer activities such as learning to swim, outdoor picnics and family trips to museums into teachable moments. Another option is to enroll children in educational summer camps.

“When teachers test children’s abilities after summer break, we often see the steepest decline in skills like reading and math,” said Megan Riede, senior director of education programs for KinderCare Learning Centers. “Fun and engaging summer activities that encourage learning not only help combat summer learning loss, but can positively affect children’s motivation, self-esteem and confidence.”

A vast majority of preschool parents (69 percent) choose to send their children to day camps according to the second annual national “Summer Fun” survey conducted by KinderCare Learning Centers.

Here are some other tips parents can use to keep kids’ minds sharp:

—Turn a grocery store trip into a math lesson by having children compare prices and figure the best deal.

—Change the classic road trip “Are we there yet?” question into a challenge by giving the vehicle’s speed and remaining trip distance and having children estimate the arrival time.

—Enroll children in a program that balances interesting and educational content with group play.

—Make meal and snack preparation a chance to practice reading (recipes) and working with fractions (have older children double or halve a recipe).

—Develop a summer reading plan with children. Make weekly trips to the library and help children create a list of books to read based on their interests.

—Parents can find more information about how to give their children a fun, educational summer at

Learning doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Have children grab a friend or two and set them up for a summer of exploration. Come fall, they (and their parents and teachers) will be thankful. Letting children include their friends in their reading activities will make it seem less like school and more like fun.

Holyoke Enterprise July 7, 2011