8 Ways to Prevent Tweens from Backsliding This Summer

by Melissa Taylor

Photo credit: Richard Lewisohn, Cultura/ Getty Images

Two and a half months of vacation equals two and a half months of no learning. And sometimes that equals two and a half months of backsliding, also called summer learning loss.

But there’s good news. You can prevent this dreaded summer learning loss by keeping your kids’ brains engaged throughout the summer. Here’s how:

1. Read
If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, a book a week keeps the brain at its peak. (Clearly I wasn’t hired for my rhymes … but you get the gist.)

Reading keeps your comprehension skills up to par. But make daily reading fun, not grueling. Participate in a summer reading program. Let your child choose the books they want to read. Let them stay up late to read in bed with a headlamp. Read and review books on Bookopolis. For more creative reading activities, visit my Reading Activities board on Pinterest.

 2. Take Field Trips
Museums, nature centers, and historic sites build a child’s background knowledge and vocabulary. If this isn’t an option, you can always go on a virtual field trip.

3. Play Games
Most games help kids practice social skills and problem solving, both good things to keep sharp over the summer. Try playing strategy and thinking games like Scrambled States of America, WordARound, Swish, FlipOut, or Zeus on the Loose.

4. Shop
Let your kids spend their allowance. And encourage them to help you pay for things when you’re out shopping. This gives them practice adding up costs as well as counting money, important math and life skills.

5. Write
Since kids love technology, get your kids writing with their own private blog. Suggest writing reviews about movies, games, or books to share with their friends and family members.

Make writing social. Kids will have fun writing a shared story with their friends via email or Google Docs.

 6. Make Math Fun
It’s true that kids lose their math facts without practice. (I occasionally have to review my 8s now and again, too.) Certainly there’s always flashcards, but don’t forget multiplication and division apps. See what you think about these fun choices: Sushi Monster, Mathmateer, and Squeebles.

 7. Go to Camp
Attend a camp. Even better, attend a camp that encourages developing new skills. Reinforce the camp’s learning with discussion and activities at home.

 8. Try DIY with Pinterest
It’s not just adults who are addicted to Pinterest; kids love it, too. Help your kids use Pinterest to find DIY activities to try — whether arts and crafts or home décor. They’ll be reading, following directions, problem solving, and best of all, creating. Follow Make Magazine, Instructables and Babble Dabble Do for lots of DIY ideas.

Of course, it still is summer so be flexible and don’t forget to play. As Fred Rogers famously said, “Play is really the work of childhood.”

Have a great summer!