Summer Slide

7 Educational Summer Activities for Kids

7 Educational Summer Activities for Kids 1000 667 admin

When kids finish up with school, summer can feel long and boring. If you don’t have a whole slew of educational activities to keep children occupied, their brains could fall into the clutches of summer learning loss! That’s why we’ve put together this list of seven educational summer activities for kids to keep their minds sharp all vacation long.

1. Visit a Local Museum

You don’t always have to travel far to find some history. Many different areas have a museum to celebrate the local history. Take the kids to check it out and learn about the interesting past of where you live! You can even turn your trip into a game of eye spy! Challenge the children to look for places or things they recognize from around town in the displays from the past!

2. Create an Outdoor Puppet Show Theatre

Sometimes a blanket over a table and some socks with googly eyes can be exactly what kids need to keep entertained. Ignite your kids’ arts and crafts skills by helping them assemble a makeshift theatre and cast of sock puppet actors. If their imagination isn’t enough to fuel a skit, give them a picture book or two and tell them to reenact the books with their puppets!

3. Visit a Petting Zoo

Often local farms or parks will hold petting zoos for children to come meet animals they may have never encountered otherwise. This is a great chance to learn about different types of animals, how they live, where they live, and how to take care of them! Before you leave, ask what their favorite animal was. Head to the local library to pick up a book on that animal, so you can learn even more about them!

4. Backyard Camping

Pitch a tent in the yard and enjoy the sounds of nature – or the city – for all their glory. Make s’mores in the oven or microwave, eat hot dogs and hamburgers, and don’t forget the bug spray! See if you can identify any plants or animals around your campsite. When night falls, take that time to look up at the night sky and see if you can spot any constellations! Camping is fun wherever you do it!

5. Visit a Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Markets are filled with food and creations from local artists, farmers, and craftsmen. Explore all the different flowers, treats, and crafts that you can’t find at a regular store! Here, you have the opportunity to expose kids to different walks of life and cultures. If nothing else, you’ll get some tasty fruits and veggies out of it!

6. Dig for Fossils

This trip takes a little pre-prep. First, find a spot that kids will be able to dig around comfortably in, like a sandbox or playground. Next, bury various toy dinosaurs, gems, or other treasures for them to find. Give the kids shovels and paint brushes so they can unearth the fossils and clean them like real archeologists! This is a great way to teach them about what archeology is and how we use it to discover things about the past!

7. Check out the Library

As always, a great place to spend your summer is in your local library! Libraries have so many different books for all kinds of readers and interests. You can be an astronaut AND a cowboy in the same day with the help of a good book! Children can also log all of the time they spend reading for our Summer Reading Challenge for the chance to win a FREE Kindle!

Plan Your Educational Summer Activities!

With all of these educational summer activities, your kids won’t have any time to be bored! Constant engagement will not only keep them busy, but keep their brains working hard to stay sharp.

Year after year, summer learning loss tries to hold kids back from reaching their full potential in school. Use these educational summer activities along with our Summer Learning Program to keep the skills your student learned during the school year fresh all vacation long!

Order your child’s Summer Learning Program here.

5 Tips to Motivate Your Child to Learn

5 Tips to Motivate Your Child to Learn 805 612 admin

Not all kids are excited to get in the classroom and participate in lessons. Inevitably, some children will need a little push to find their love of learning. Here are five tips to motivate your child to learn.

1. Explore Different Learning Styles

Children don’t all learn the exact same way. Some are more visual, while others need to work kinesthetically to understand a lesson. Help your child try out different styles of learning to see which best helps them understand concepts. Once you figure out what method helps your child learn best, put it into action. They will be able to grasp lessons better, and that success will motivate your child to keep trying.

2. Focus on their Interests

Everyone has their own unique interests, including kids. This is a great way to start building motivation to learn for students really struggling to find it. Ask them what subjects or topics they find exciting, then focus on developing their love for learning around those. Use this as a way to get children to motivate themselves, as well. Encourage them to explore their favorite subjects on their own outside of school.

3. Be Enthusiastic about Learning

Your child looks up to you, and if they see that you are enthusiastic to learn, they will develop their own enthusiasm for learning. Be authentic. If you personally love history, math, or reading, share that genuine interest with them. Your child will see the joy you get from discovering new information about subjects that thrill you. They will then absorb that joy from learning into their own life.

4. Celebrate Accomplishments

The trick here is not to celebrate based on grades or other performance benchmarks. Instead, focus on what they’ve learned, no matter how small. By focusing on the content and not the scores, you show your child that the act of learning is more important than the results of an assessment. This positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate your student to keep up the good work!

5. Empower Your Child

Provide your child with the materials they need to feel in control of their education. If they like to read, take them to the library to pick out a book for themselves. If they like science, ask them to choose some fun science activities to do. Some children will withdraw from learning if they feel pressured or controlled in their participation. By allowing them to have input and a choice in what and how they learn, your child will feel more motivated to engage.

Keep the Learning Going

Once you have found the best way to motivate your child, keep the learning going all year long!

You don’t want your student to lose all of the precious knowledge they worked so hard to learn at school over the summer. Provide your child with a Summer Learning Program to keep their minds sharp all vacation long. This way, they can start the next school year off on the right foot. 

Find your child’s Summer Learning Program here.

What Administrators Can do About Summer Learning Loss

What Administrators Can do About Summer Learning Loss 300 200 admin

As an administrator, you work hard to provide the students in your school or district the best possible chance of success through learning opportunities, great teachers and a well-spent budget. Therefore it can be hard to watch them walk out the door and into the summer sunset knowing they face the possibility of huge learning losses before they return the following year.

Not only do kids face losing mathematics and spelling skills, reportedly the first to go when kids are away from school for any stretch of time, but low-income students are likely to slide on reading skills as well.

While some groups have argued for making school year-round and others point out that American kids spent significantly less time behind their desks than competitors in Europe and Asia, you can’t do much about the length of the school year at this point. So what can you do?

There Is An Answer

Luckily, there is one thing you can offer to help stop summer slide, and that’s a high-quality option for summer learning.

According to the RAND Corporation, programs during the summer months have the power to reverse these losses and help students enter their next year in the same or better shape than they left the last one.

Their 2011 report Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning explains, “A review of the literature on Summer learning loss and summer learning programs, coupled with data from ongoing programs offered by districts and private providers across the United States, demonstrates the potential of summer programs to improve achievement.”

The Best Form for Summer Learning

Most savvy administrators know, however, that the bulk of the responsibility for halting Summer learning loss will still rest on parents’ shoulders, no matter how motivated teachers are to step in. The question becomes how to offer a viable program that will benefit kids but that won’t tax parents and in which those driven teachers can play a role.

ThinkStretch is the answer. It’s a comprehensive summer review program, specific to grade level, that helps ensure kids are ready to start learning new material in the fall, rather than relearning what they’ve forgotten over the summer. Complete with educational workbooks, parent guides and ideas for family engagement, it’s fully set up to help the whole family focus on summer learning.

As for your teachers, who want to stop Summer learning loss in its tracks? They can become coordinators, helping to educate parents about the program and leading the awards ceremony for partially and fully completed workbooks in the fall.

Ready … Set … STOP Summer Learning Loss

You can do your students a huge favor simply by making ThinkStretch available in your school. With teacher support and parent enthusiasm, you can make summer learning a reality for many children, benefiting them, their families and your school or district.

Why wait? Explore your options for boosting summer retention and learning today.