Students who do not keep up with their learnings over the summer see a decline in achievement scores that averages an entire month of school-year learning. To avoid what some call “summer learning loss,” you can engage your child in various activities to keep them thinking and applying their school learnings all summer long.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Keep a journal – Sharpen reading and writing skills during down time with journaling. Encourage your child to keep a notebook, either daily or weekly, about their favorite summer adventures, a future goal they have, or just general wonderings.
  2. Read and explore – Whether you visit your local library or have an existing selection at home, help your child pick a book about nature – maybe a bird-watching book or a children’s encyclopedia on flowers. After choosing a species to study, take a trip to your local park or forest to see if they can find what they’ve been reading about. This helps develop research skills, as well as observation skills.
  3. Get crafty – Think outside the box with crafts this summer and try something more challenging to test your child’s engineering and imagination skills. Help them to create their own board game based on something they love (i.e. pizza, dogs, sports) or encourage them to build a bird feeder from materials lying around the house.
  4. Visit a local learning place – Check out your local museums, zoos, or aquariums and immerse your child in new experiences. Many museums have special pricing options during the day or in the evenings, and keep your eye out for specialty exhibits specifically designed for kids. Exploring new places, like the Detroit Institute of Arts or Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, helps children develop geographical skills and as well as spark interest in things they may not be learning in school.
  5. Share a lesson in money – Encourage your child to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. Children can host a lemonade stand or bake sale – or do light yardwork for the next-door neighbors. Use these opportunities to brush up on math skills and basic budgeting. Learning that hard work pays off is a valuable lesson!
  6. Inspire a little chef – Inspire your child to get involved in cooking by asking them to pick out a dinner recipe and help make it from start to finish (with parental supervision at all times). Measuring ingredients can be a fun math lesson – while following a recipe is good practice in reading and following directions for a specific outcome – delicious food!
  7. Teach with movies – After watching a movie together, talk about what you just watched and their thoughts about the characters, what the movie was about, and what other outcomes are possible by changing the scenario. This helps them gain a deeper understanding about messages and themes, which can help comprehension skills.

For a summer filled with engaging and fun activities, the possibilities are endless. Find your child’s passions and expand upon them to emphasize the importance of learning and growing while still doing things you love. Visit the Energizing Youth tab on Empowering Michigan for more ways to engage the youngsters in your life.