It’s not unusual for parents to worry about the summer slide when their kids aren’t in school. It’s almost July, so here is a list of ideas of different ways to help kids avoid the summer slide. Keep them reading and doing math throughout the summer and they’ll be able to jump back into the school routine quicker than ever. Whether your kids like playing games, reading books, listening to music or watching TV, I have a few suggestions for everyone.
Reading grows the vocabulary. Reading allows us to learn from others in situations that we may not experience. Read books, read directions, read Graphic Novels, read cereal boxes. Read together. Read alone. Words are everywhere.
If you haven’t yet, sign up for the local library’s summer reading program. Most of them offer incentives to keep kids and adults alike reading all summer. I know I am excited about earning my Aquaventure pass after I complete the first part of my reading log.
Give them opportunities to write. Write letters, thank you cards, grocery lists, etc.
This is a great way to learn more for those kids who struggle to read or who just don’t like it. You can find podcasts suitable for your child’s age on almost any topic
Watch a Documentary-Personally, I love almost any documentary that involves animals. I learn something new every time I watch them.
Khan Academy was a staple in my 6th grade math classroom. It was an easy resource I pointed students toward when they finished their work early. It is free to sign up. Download the app or let them get online on the computer to play. Our daughter is only three and she has a Khan Academy account to play on.
Spend Time Cooking
Cooking allows parents and children to spend time together creating something. It also gives kids the chance to follow directions, use critical thinking skills, read recipes, and apply math skills they’ve learned throughout the school year. Mackenzie loves helping us in the kitchen. We count, learn about the stove and oven, and use our hands to make things like pigs in a blanket.
Play Card Games
I feel like playing cards is becoming a lost art. Every year when we’d go to Outdoor Education with the middle schoolers I’d spend a good portion of the trip teaching the new kids and the 6th graders card games. They are fun for the whole family. They teach patience, critical thinking skills and number sense. You can play traditional card games or find some online that are geared specifically toward teaching certain math concepts.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some tried and true games I used each year in the classroom that would be super easy to play at home during the summer.
1. I Have, Who Has Cards
I Have, Who Has Cards are some of my favorite manipulatives to use in the classroom. I’d pull them out as a break from the normal textbook work, and I knew we were still learning while we used them. They can be tailored to any skill level and any topic. There are numerous books available with premade topics and lists in them or you could make your own. I loved using them in my English Language Arts Classroom with my 6th & 7th graders. We used them as whole class activities where everyone had to work together and we also used them in small groups. Either way, the kids enjoyed working with something hands on.
Kaboom also became a quick favorite! I used large popsicle sticks and small plastic containers for storage (Great Value Single Serve Lemonade Containers.) Kaboom games can also be tailored to any subject and grade level. I used mine for math concepts. Each concept was a different box of Kaboom sticks ranging from simple multiplication and division all the way to converting in the metric system. It’s a quick 5 minute game that makes learning fun and enjoyable.
Want to make your own set? Here’s how to make the game: Take 50 popsicle sticks and write Kaboom on 5 of them. Next, write a multiplication problem on all the rest of the sticks near the bottom on both sides. Put all the sticks in a small plastic container (I usually use the Great Value Single Serve Lemonade Containers.) Now set the timer for however long you want to play and start the game. Each person takes turns picking out a stick and answering the math question. If a player gets the answer correct they get to keep the stick. If a player gets it wrong they have to put the stick back in the box. If at any time a player pulls out a Kaboom! they have to put all their sticks back into the container. Once the timer ends the player with the most sticks in front of them wins!
3. Area Dice Game
All you need for this game is a piece of graph paper, two colored pencils, and two dice. Each player takes turns rolling the dice. Once a player rolls, they multiply the dice together to get their area. Next, that player uses their colored pencil to draw and color in the correct area based on the multiplication they did. For example, if I roll a 5 and a 4 I multiply the two numbers to get 20. Then I draw a rectangle on the graph paper that is 5 by 4 and shade it in. Then player two takes their turn. After you fill up the graph paper or finish the allotted time (I usually let students play for 10-15 minutes) each player counts up all the “area” they shaded in. Whichever player got the most area was named the winner!
For more information about the three games listed above, feel free to reach out by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can better explain how each of these fun and easy games works.