Avoiding The Summer Brain Drain: Summer Learning Activities For Your Young Child
Summer is just around the corner. Images of sandy beaches, later bedtimes, and walking barefoot in the yard are running through your head. Permission forms, homework assignments, and project deadlines will soon be a thing of the past. Who doesn’t like summer with trips to the pool and nights filled with catching lightening bugs in mason jars? I know I do.
A week into summer break, say sometime after Memorial Day, you will read an article, maybe even this one, about the infamous summer brain drain. (Or if you are a planner like me you probably started reading about summer brain drain in say, March.) You may panic with the thought of failing test grades and teacher conferences because your child has forgotten everything they learned over the summer.
Sometimes referred to as summer learning loss, the summer brain drain occurs when children take an extended break from academic work making it easier to forget material already learned and harder to retain new information. Summer learning loss is not a new theory; many schools have shortened their summer break to avoid this very thing.
Gary Huggins, chief executive of the National Summer Learning Association, says studies show that kids lose as much as two to three months of math and reading skills over the summer, with the losses being more marked among lower-income kids. ~ Tracy Grant (June 5th, 2013) How to prevent summer brain drain: Tips from teachers. Washington Post.
There is no need to panic. In response to the concerns of parents, teachers, and administrators alike, there are plenty of camps and summer activities for children to avoid the summer brain drain. There are also plenty of things you can do at home to help your child retain the knowledge from the previous school year.
Summer Learning Activities
Here are some activities designed to avoid the infamous brain drain over summer:
Read, Read, Then Read Some More
If anything is correlated with academic success and knowledge retention over the summer, it is reading. In this day and age of technology at our fingertips, sometimes I forget about public libraries that make finding children’s books easy. Make sure to find topics that are of interest to your child, as they are more likely to read if they are interested in the material. Many libraries have reading or book clubs for children and schools often have recommended summer reading lists.
If there is one thing you take from this article, make sure it is the importance of reading. No single thing can counteract the effects of brain drain like reading.
Educational Field Trips
Atlanta is full of excellent learning facilities for children. There is the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Civil Rights Center to name a few. There is also the Center For Puppetry Arts and the Children’s Museum. Don’t forget one of the best facilities of all – your public library. Make weekly trips to your local library for story time or to check out some books (see activity #1 above).
Try Some Summer Camps
There are so many summer camps for children now; it is almost impossible to narrow your choices down. There are math camps, sports camps, reading camps, science camps – I could go on forever. Many childcare facilities, private schools, sports programs, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and community centers have summer camps. Local churches and synagogues sometimes offer programs for free or at a reduced cost.
Get In The Kitchen
The kitchen if full of learning experiences of kids. Learning to follow directions, using math to measure out ingredients, refining fine motor kids, and the joy of creating something (hopefully something that tastes good) are all benefits of getting into the kitchen with your children. Wanting to try a new recipe this summer? Give it a try with your kids!
Technology – Use It
Hear me out on this one. I know. You hear technology, and you imagine fights with your kids to get off their iPad or computer, but technology isn’t always bad. You just need to find the right apps and games for your kids. The National Education Association has a great list of websites and apps that will keep your child’s brain working over the summer. There are so many useful learning apps out there, don’t let the fear of technology scare you into not using this great learning tool.
Kick Your Kids Outside
Sometimes a little challenging in hot Georgia summers, with our hot, humid days and afternoon storms, but there is no better place to learn than outdoors. Go for a morning or an early evening trip to the park to identify different types of trees and plants. Plant a garden. Look for different kinds of insects like grasshoppers, spiders, and ants. The outdoors is so full of science learning opportunities; you are bound to fill your summer up with outdoor adventures for you and your child.
See, there is no reason to panic. There are plenty of ways to keep our child’s brain engaged and stimulated over the summer. The summer brain drain isn’t your child’s destiny. Sit down and write out a list of things you want to do over the summer. Atlanta is full of great opportunities regardless of their interests.
If you would like more information about summer camps available at the Foundations School, please visit our camps page, or check out our blog on Summer Camps for Kids in Kennesaw. If you would like more information about Foundations For The Future Creative Child Care and School near Marietta, GA and Kennesaw, GA, please contact us by email at [email protected], via telephone at 770-429-4799, or on our website. You can also take a visual tour of our facility and even schedule a tour with our Admission Director here.