Do your children seem dazed and confused? Are their eyes glazed over in a wispy fog? It may be the dreaded summer slide when young minds take an extended vacation. If you’re not aware of the summer slide, it’s the loss of learning during the summer.
How do we combat it? Well, in hopes of winning the battle, I set up some simple plans for our summer.
As a former teacher, I actually become a little giddy when teaching my kids. It gives both of us something to do, we get to bond, and maybe learn something new. And honestly, just like the kids, I get a little bored. Don’t you? (Okay, maybe it’s just me.) So I like to have a plan when it’s summer.
Set up a schedule
The schedule is very flexible and creates an overall picture of the day. The basics include time for the following:
- Morning summer brain activities, such as games, puzzles, reading. This time gives you a chance to have a coffee.
- Some sort of outing. This does not have to be a large planned event. It can as simple as a trip to the local fast food restaurant.
- Reading and quiet time. This block of time lets you, as well as your kids, regroup and recharge for the remainder of the day.
- Snack and free play
- Dinner and clean up
- Bath and bed
Basically, this schedule helps me so I won’t feel overwhelmed by the day. For example, isn’t it a little scary looking at the clock realizing it’s only 10am? Yikes. The kids are fighting already. So, I look at the schedule and know the next hour’s plan. Before summer break, I reviewed the schedule with my boys. Therefore, they weren’t surprised with some crazy expectations. They liked knowing a basic plan for each day.
I compiled this plan from a few different Pinterest ideas. The rules ensure that my boys complete certain activities and/or chores before any screen time. I’ll call it boundaries. Again, it’s flexible and can include:
- Chores they need to complete, such as making their bed, helping younger siblings, or completing an overall clean sweep of their room.
- A certain amount of time for activities like reading, building, or coloring, etc. Tailor it to your kids’ interests.
Once they fulfill all the requirements for the day, they can have screen time, or if you like, some type of treat. They may complete all of the activities before lunch. No problem. It’s just a plan to ensure they are not staring at a screen the entire day.
For planning activities, set up daily folders. I know, it sounds like too much trouble. But, here’s all I did: I looked through a few activity books which I found either at the Dollar Store, Target, or Costco; when I found a few activities, I tore them out and tossed them in the folders. There…ready to go. These activities don’t have to be difficult or elaborate. Nothing requires more than crayons and/or pencil, maybe glue and scissors. So there’s no difficult set up or clean up.
A list of some books I used included:
Daily Brain Bites
Beginning Sounds by Crayola
Common Core Subtraction by Landoll
Early Years Learning Letters by Spectrum
Not Your Usual Workbook by Thinking Kids
To compile their daily work, we used some lined notebooks. As they completed the activity, we cut or pasted the pages and attached them to the book.
My older son had a notebook from kindergarten, so we just re-purposed it. I had some lined notebooks (again, a Dollar Store purchase). I used those books for my younger son. To keep track of their work, I wrote the date at the top for each page. It gave them a sense of accomplishment. Plus, by cutting and pasting the completed pages, they were working on their motor skills.
Library Reading Programs
As you probably remember from my last post, the library really helps with summer boredom. The summer reading program is a great way to keep your kids reading throughout the summer. As you may know, there are incentives for reading a certain number of books. Since there are programs all summer, it’s also a perfect outing to break up the day.
I also have a few learning games around the house. All learning doesn’t have to be boring. It can be interactive and fun, too.
- Zingo: We have two separate games. The original which is similar to Bingo and another one for sight words.
- Ten Frames/dominoes: My older son used dominoes in math class, so I thought both boys would like adding the dominoes with a miniature abacus or ten frames.
- Bedtime Math: There are a couple different editions. Any are fun to keep young and old brains thinking daily about math.
- Card games: Go Fish and Crazy Eights
Pass or Fail
So, did we pass or fail? The plan worked really well until we went to the beach for a few days. By the time we returned, I was sick. So, I didn’t manage the routine and we didn’t return to our schedule. But, we did manage to complete activities each day, usually during quiet time or before bed. With that said, I’d say we passed.