Summer Slide 2021: Tips for Avoiding Brain Drain!

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Summer Slide 2021: Tips for Avoiding Brain Drain!


Whether you've heard it called the Summer Brain Drain or the Summer Slide, you're probably familiar with the concept:

When kids spend a lot of time outside of the classroom, they lose some of the knowledge they've gained from the previous year, setting them back when they start school again. In fact, it's estimated that it will take six weeks in the classroom to recover the lessons and skills lost to a long summer break.

That's not to argue against the benefits of a break! The opportunity to unwind, relax — especially after the last year — and spend more time outdoors, with family and just being a kid is one that shouldn't be missed. Luckily, you don't have to choose between the two!

In addition to the summer camp ideas CareFinder has shared and the articles linked above, we have some additional suggestions on how to keep the kids' minds sharp while they're on break this summer.

Create a Scrapbook of Summer Memories

One easy and fun way to keep your child's brain turned "on" over the summer is to encourage them to catalogue their experiences. Take photos, keep a journal, collect items from time in nature. Encouraging thought and retrospection in a creative way helps disguise the "learning." And you create mementos you can revisit in the years to come.

Break Out the Playdough

On rainy days, and for younger kids especially, tabletop activities are great diversions. Incorporate playdough into letters and reading tasks and they won't know they're learning because they'll be having too much fun! This link even has directions for making your own playdough!

Whip Something Up in the Kitchen

Two birds, one stone: address their food cravings and sneak in some educational activities! The ABC Snacks Cookbook (you can download it for free here) is a great resource for learning letters and sounds for your young (and hungry) learner.

For older kids, incorporate math lessons into your kitchen adventures. You can get a good meal out of it and they keep their arithmetic skills sharp. This site offers some printable worksheets.

Horse Around

One of the most important things a parent can do to encourage a love of learning in their child is to participate! And one fun way to get involved is to turn education into a game. If you've heard of the basketball game "Horse" you know it is easily adapted to any word — even the tough vocabulary of older kids. Turn a spelling bee into a sport: compete for best hoop skills while reinforcing words and phrases they'll need to know.

VIrtual Vacations

International travel is still largely out of the question for many families this summer, but that doesn't mean you can't leverage the power of technology to experience new cultures. In fact, virtual vacations make many destinations you might never dream of visiting available to your family. From the Arctic to the summit of Mt. Everest, this site has 10 amazing field trips that will pique curiosity and creativity.

We also recommend working with a babysitter! Even for older kids, who may not need intensive supervision anymore, a babysitter can act as a cultural ambassador, sharing stories, recipes, language and other customs from their home country. If your family can't go to Paris this summer, a French babysitter can help bring Paris to your family!

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