by Lex Solberg, ASU Public Allies AmeriCorps member, Casa Grande Alliance
Summer can be a fun and relaxing, well-deserved time for children. Keeping children engaged in learning activities, though, can help to reduce learning loss over the summer.
Did you know that children can lose over two months of learning progress and mastery during the summer?
The good news: it only takes two to three hours of work per week to prevent summer learning loss. Summer is a great time to explore topics in which children have a keen interest. It also is good to spend time on improving attitudes and skills on challenging subjects.
Keep in mind the whole child and consider setting goals in these areas:
Reading — Join a book club or sign up for the summer reading program at the library. Summer reading helps strengthen reading ability and sharpens spelling and grammar skills.
Math — Spend time every week keeping math skills sharp. Seek summer math resources from the school. Also, math skill development resources by grade level are easy to download.
Learning quests — What interests your child? Space? Animals? Geography? Scout out local museums, libraries, attractions or exhibits that tie in to those interests. Check online for information and for virtual museum visits.
Pursuing a hobby — When children explore interests and develop hobbies, there are lots of great ways to incorporate skill-building.
Getting outdoors — Hike two new parks. Explore three new playgrounds. Go on bike rides. Think about what active things your child likes to do and build upon that.
Trying something new — Sign up for a team sport. Encourage learning a new skill, like swimming. Go on walks and explore our city.
Encouraging mindfulness — Encourage journaling. Learn to meditate/pray. Memorize and practice Bible verses.
Volunteering — Help a neighbor with yard work. Pick a local organization and save money or collect cans of food. Call a nonprofit and inquire about projects.
When setting summer goals with your children, remember:
- Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your child with a task they can’t easily do. We want them to enjoy setting goals, not be discouraged by them.
- Be specific. Write realistic and time-bound goals that can be celebrated when achieved. Post on the refrigerator for all to see!
- Have fun. Write goals that are fun and motivating. Be sure to celebrate successes — however small!
Have a great summer!