After the seemingly endless winter, we thought we’d never see spring again, but here we are. As kids are gladly preparing for the end of the school year, parents are trying to think of ways to keep them busy and out of trouble through the summer. Incorporating activities that include some academic elements will help kids remember what they learned in school so they don’t go back in the fall with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
Chris Bartlett of Savannah teaches second grade at Parkview Elementary in Cameron. Most of her activities are geared toward younger children, but they could be adapted for older students.
One simple idea is to have your children set a goal of how many books/pages they can read over the summer. Set a reward if they reach their goals. Many libraries also offer summer reading programs.
“A game my boys really liked playing on car rides when they were younger was the alphabet game,” Bartlett said. “We worked together as a family to find letters of the alphabet in order on billboards, road signs or nearby buildings. As they got older, they had to not only find the letter but read the word that the letter was in. My boys are 11 and 14 and they still like playing this game, but now it's a competition between all of us to see who can make it through the alphabet first.”
Bartlett said sidewalk chalk is another great tool and very entertaining. You can have your kids practice writing letters and numbers. As they age, give them words or math problems to solve.
“Search online for Fry Sight Words,” Bartlett said. “This is a great list of words for your child to know. It is broken down into groups of 100 words per list, with a total of 10 lists."
She also suggests Prodigy.com, a math website for kids who like playing computer games. It is free with curriculum-aligned math games for kids in first through eighth grades.
Something you can do with your kids that might take a little more time and patience is having them cook with you. It’s a great way to work on reading, and it also ties in math and science.
“For older students, just make sure they are reading and limit their screen time,” Bartlett said. “There are also a lot of summer programs out there from theater, music and art, to math, science, robotics and coding.”
If you want to keep your student involved academically this summer, there are plenty of options. Fun4stjkids.com lists many summer camps available. Give them something to write about in their “What I Did This Summer” essay when they go back.