With the end of the year quickly approaching, many students have thoughts of summer vacation! Time spent at the park, playing outside, pool time, and loose schedules are things I look forward to too! However, those three months can be three very long months to little brains.
Summer Doesn’t Mean Your Child’s Brain Should Be On Vacation Too
I have been a special education teacher for 17 years! (Ouch! I’m showing my age!) There has not been one year where I haven’t seen some regression in skills from my elementary age kiddos. Be it my first graders to fifth graders, without the daily practice of school time, students lose just a bit of what they learned the previous year. However, you can help them this summer, by preventing the big slide backwards that can sometimes occur with three months off!
Now, I know you don’t want them to lose out on valuable summer free time. Below are some short, quick activities you can do to keep the brain neurons firing and creative juices flowing! Many of these suggestions I provide to parents at the end of the year for my own students.
- Review fact flashcards! Math facts are the first to go over the summer! I don’t know what takes the place of them, perhaps some Minecraft strategies, I don’t know. Spend 10-15 minutes a day reviewing addition, subtraction, or multiplication depending on your child’s grade level. There is a great site, TheMathWorksheetSite.com, where you can create worksheets if you would like. This is a paid subscription site, but they do have some free materials available.
- Have your child read 20 minutes a day. Keep a reading log and celebrate increments of 100, 200, 300 minutes. Set goals for the summer of the number of minutes to read. Libraries have fantastic summer reading programs! Our local library has one and so does Barnes and Noble.
- Have your child keep a summer journal of all of the fun and exciting things they do over the break. I love when my students come back and show me their journals the following school year! They practice their writing and have a nice memento of the summer! Reinforce good writing mechanics and structure.
- Teacher stores have wonderful summer workbooks. Our school sells the Summer Bridge Books specific to each grade level. They are an ideal resource to have for you child! My daughter enjoys tracking her progress in the provided charts. Again, a few minutes each day is fine! (The pages are designed for a page a day, I believe.)
- Have a spot in your home designated for “school”. A corner with a desk, chair, pencils, crayons, etc. It is much easier to “get your work done” if you have a desirable space to do it in!
- For grades K-1, work on identifying coins. (Quarter, Dime, Nickel, Penny) and their worth. This can be quite fun with the many excursions that take place over the summer! I know we practice this all the times with trips to the grocery store, pool, and Dairy Queen! (Our most favorite place to practice!)
- For grades 2-5, work on both identifying coins and counting coins. With the new Common Core Standards, money is not really covered until third grade. I find this disheartening when it used to be taught in first and second grade. Fourth and fifth graders can work on counting up to make change, counting money, etc.
- LIMIT COMPUTER/iPAD time! This is one of my biggest requests! Please limit the amount of time your child plays on the computer, IPAD, or any other electronic device! (Unless, of course, they are doing something educational…..then it’s ok.☺)
What ways are you planning on keeping your child’s brain active this summer?