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How to support academics (in fun ways) over the summer

School’s out for the summer! I remember being a student and the joy of the last day of school. Knowing I would have the summer to relax, hang out with friends, and play at the beach. Now, as a parent, summer hits differently and I find myself seeking ways to continue to support my kids' academics to help maintain their skills and have an easier transition back to school in the fall. Incorporating academics into summer schedules can feel overwhelming for all. Finding easy and fun ways to sneak in reading, writing, and math can make it more enjoyable for everyone!


A first step can be adding academics into your daily or weekly routine. Once reading, writing, and math are part of the schedule, it can be easier to complete these tasks. This could be reading everyday for 20 minutes or writing a letter to the friend they made at camp. Next, talk with your child about their goals for the summer. What do they want to learn more about in a fun, hands-on way? Are there certain areas that their teacher identified that could benefit from extra focus? What did they find most interesting to learn about during the school year? Their summer goals may be more of a bucket list of activities, like watching the sunrise, having a treat from the ice cream truck, or making a lemonade stand. Writing down these goals in a journal or drawing these goals allows your child to review their goals and provides an opportunity to practice reading and writing. 

Summer is a great time for hands-on learning opportunities. Visiting museums, zoos, or historical sites are great options to learn more about an area of interest in a fun and engaging way. Has your child been asking nonstop to make slime? The beautiful weather allows for this fun exploration in an environment that is easy to hose off later. Science experiments are also a fun hands-on way to learn more and an opportunity to ask more questions and pique a student’s curiosity. 


Science Sparks has 50 awesome summer science experiments along with videos and instructions.


Science Buddies has an archive of 10 summer science experiments that include instructions, videos, and ways to discuss science in more depth. 


In addition, community education programs often have classes in specific areas of interest. This might include specific interest classes, STEM classes or art classes. 


Exploring nature during the summertime can provide opportunities for learning and observation. Nature is a great place for hands-on learning. It is also a place to observe and notice different environments or changes to the environment. For example, in Minnesota we have flooding and some main roads around our family’s home are closed. We visited these areas as a family and the high waters sparked great conversations and wonderings from my children. Their questions were thoughtful and provided a wonderful opportunity for everyone (the adults included) to learn more. When playing outside, children often encounter new and novel situations that require critical thinking, working together, and ingenuity. 


With these ideas, hopefully adding in reading, writing, and math over the summer will feel easier to do and have benefits to your kids when the start of a new school year comes. Check back for specific ways to support reading, writing, and math over the summer in future blog posts.

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