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13 Teacher-Recommended Ways to Keep Kids Learning This Summer

Ready or not, school’s just about out for summer!

As much as a lazy summer vacation appeals to me, relaxed schedules and casual attitudes toward learning can take their toll on the skills our kids worked so hard to acquire throughout the previous school year.

The summer between my son’s 4th and 5th grade school year was awesome. After a year of intense academic curriculum, lazy summer days of lounging around paired with evenings playing outside seemed well-deserved by my 9-year-old. While I was all too happy to loosen the academic reigns in favor of summer fun and relaxation, I failed to make sure my tween was keeping his mind sharp and retaining his academic skills.

When Boy Wonder entered 5th grade in the fall, he discovered just how damaging academic complacency can be. He struggled to keep up and had to work twice as hard to relearn the skills he had forgotten.

I made a promise to myself last fall that I wouldn’t let a lazy summer get in the way of learning. There was simply no reason why summer couldn’t be a season of educational enrichment.

I reached out to a handful of skilled K-6 teachers and asked what we as parents can do to combat the summer slide and help our kids prepare for the following school year. This is what they said:

  • Summer learning can be fun! 1 of 14
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    Click on through for 13 summer learning adventures sure to enrich and inspire your child!

  • Read 2 of 14
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    I know it sounds obvious, but if you're not dedicating a certain amount of time to reading each day, books can easily fall by the wayside (along with your child's reading skills). Make it a point to read every day, but let your kids read whatever they want to! Join your local library's summer reading program and arm your child with their very own library card!

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Start a family book club 3 of 14
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    Maybe Diary of a Wimpy Kid isn't your bag, but there's no reason parents and kids can't take turns selecting books for the family book club. Individually read the same book and meet (with fun snacks, of course) to discuss the characters and storyline! Reading is more fun when enjoyed together.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Have your kids plan a trip 4 of 14
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    Whether you're planning a vacation or a family fun day, put your kid to work researching the destination and logistics of your travels. Allow them to plan your day, including everything from getting directions to researching hours and prices. Not only will your child be sharpening their critical thinking and researching skills, you'll get to enjoy the fruits of their labor! Win-win!

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  • Learn more 5 of 14
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    No matter what you do or where you go this summer, there's learning to be had. A trip to see Epic can turn into a learning experience researching the origins of computer generated animation. A trip to the beach can become a lesson in ocean life, and on and on!

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Journal it 6 of 14
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    Supply your kids with a special summer scrapbook or journal to chronicle their adventures. Encourage them to draw pictures and write about their experiences. Doing so will keep their writing skills fresh and encourage creativity.

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  • Bridge workbooks 7 of 14
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    You know those handy workbooks at Costco and Barnes & Noble designed to prepare your child for the next grade? Well, they're good and they do an effective job helping to "bridge" the gap between the previous and upcoming school years.

    Note: These workbooks are only effective if your child actually uses them. Ask me how I know…

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Practical application 8 of 14
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    Put your child's math skills to work in a practical sense by allowing them to help you in the kitchen measuring ingredients and even doubling recipes. Other practical math activities include: counting up their money in a piggy banks for a special toy or encouraging them to start their own business!

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  • Passion pursuit 9 of 14
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    What is your child interested in? Singing? Dinosaurs? One Direction? Whatever your child's passion, work to help them pursue it and learn more! Spend time at the library or online researching favorite topics. Encourage your child to create a scrapbook or journal detailing what they've learned.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Get App-y 10 of 14
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    While limiting screen-time is an important part of keeping those brainwaves moving in the right direction, there are plenty of educational apps specifically designed to make learning fun!

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Discover new cultural experiences 11 of 14
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    Dive into new cultural experiences with your family this summer. Visit cultural centers, festivals, and new restaurants to celebrate cultures outside of your own. Your kids will enjoy discovering new tastes, sights, and sounds and so will you!

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  • Correspond in writing 12 of 14
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    Encourage your child to write letters this summer to friends and family. Heck, pick up postcards from every fun place you visit along the way. All your child needs is a sheet of stamps and an address book to get started!

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  • Visit a museum 13 of 14
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    Whether you visit a presidential, natural history, contemporary art, children's, or novelty museum, a museum provides an opportunity for discovery. Museums can be a fun and exciting family field trip for the senses.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Read by example 14 of 14
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    Your kids need to read this summer, but did you know that you need to read too? You do! When your kids see you reading, they'll become more likely to value literacy for enjoyment.

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Do you have any brilliant tips to keep kids learning over the summer? Please share!

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