Top Tips to Beat the Summer Slide
We have all heard about the dreaded summer slide – the loss a child experiences during summer vacation, when lack of practice erodes the learning so painstakingly gained during the school year. Here are fun ways to beat the summer slide, through educational media that your child will actually enjoy!
Don’t miss my summer slide giveaway – scroll down for more details!
Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of the products below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Beat the Summer Slide
One time-tested way to beat the summer slide is through reading! There are so many summer reading programs available – check your local library, plus you can also participate in online programs such as this Spanish language one from Spanish Playground, or this one from Latinas for Latino Lit. At Multicultural Kid Blogs we are also in our fourth year of the Read Around the World Summer Reading series, so you won’t be at a loss for great books to read!
Related Post: Global Travel Adventure Books for Kids
A new find for us this summer is the wonderful book Find Your Way In Space: Travel through space and practice your Math and Mapping skills. It is so much fun and packed with learning! Through it, kids go on an adventure through space, sharpening their geography and math skills along the way. It is something of a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure and a seek-and-find book. It is non-sequential, so you can take various paths to reach your end goal, plus on each page there are multiple entry and exit points. All along the way you help your fellow aliens find lost objects or locate their destinations, count stars or compare sizes of asteroids, and answer math problems to get through road blocks. This is the kind of book that can be used countless times, as your child selects different missions or chooses different pathways to reach their goal.
If you really want to get your child excited about reading, you should check out Epic!, an all-you-can-read online library of children’s books that you can access across your devices. Epic! is a dream come true for our family, since our kids go through so many books each week. We are always at the limit on our library cards and are constantly juggling how many books we have to return in order to check out those new ones they just have to have. With Epic! that struggle is over! My kids now have access to a vast library of books, audiobooks, educational videos, and quizzes. You can have up to 4 profiles on your account, so each child can have a customized reading profile with recommendations just for them.
I love the wide range of books available and how easy it is for my kids to find books they are interested in. I especially love the selection of “read to me” books for my two pre-readers, so that they can enjoy reading time as well. Epic! is perfect if you are traveling this summer, so you don’t have to worry about lugging along a stack of books!
Sign up now and read FREE for 30 days!
Music and movies are also fun ways to stimulate young brains over the summer. They expect learning to be more fun over vacation, and why not? Watch some kid-friendly foreign movies or some awe-inspiring nature documentaries. You can also listen to great music and learn at the same time!
Every Child Wins is an example of great educational music that is so fun you’ll want to listen to it even when your kids aren’t around! It is no secret that educational music is usually very forced, artificial, and not much fun for anyone. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the album Every Kid’s A Genius actually sounds like music you’d hear on an R&B or hip-hop station, but the lyrics are related to learning the alphabet and numbers. It is very upbeat, so it is great to play as you get ready in the mornings or in the car. The tunes are catchy, so the lesson will stay with your child long after the music is turned off.
Best of all, you could win a FREE COPY of this album by commenting below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, with your favorite way to beat the summer slide! I have 25 copies to give away, so comment for a chance to win! Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.
Computer Programs & Apps
Of course, you can’t talk about education for kids these days without talking about screen time! Luckily there are some truly wonderful apps and computer programs that can keep your kids excited about learning and beat the summer slide.
One program that we’ve come to love is Smartick. I loved math as a kid, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my oldest son doesn’t. At least, he didn’t. Getting him to do math worksheets has always been like pulling teeth. Math games and manipulatives help, but for a long time math remained his least favorite subject. Yet now that we are using Smartick, doing math is a treat, not a chore! He really enjoys this online program, especially because you earn points to use in games after you finish your session.
I love that my 4 year old can also use it without my help. He was really amazed and so proud of himself for using the same program as his big brother! Each child has his own profile, and Smartick uses artificial intelligence to adjust the program to that child’s level, so they are working on problems just right for them. The idea is that your child does one short, 15 minute session a day, so that they get the repetition and practice without the burnout. I love that I get a daily report of how and what they do in their sessions, so I can track their progress. Please note that they are currently running a summer special through 7/31/17 – try it for free then choose a discounted package. It’s a great way to get started!
A great program for kids learning to read is Reading with Fonics. My preschooler has had a lot of fun with it! I love that it is right at his level, so it really builds his confidence at the same time as it is reinforcing concepts and teaching him new skills. It is a really cute, fun game that is based on the idea that reading can be decoded by teaching kids basic phonics – the sounds that letters and letter combinations make – rather than having them memorize long lists of words. Once they master the basic sounds, they can read most words they encounter, even if they have never seen them before!
I love that Reading with Fonics starts off with very simple sounds and becomes progressively more complex. Each time you master one sound, another is unlocked. This is a familiar video game format, plus it ensures that your child has time to really “get” the concept before moving on to a new one. It is a really fun game for little ones, and a great way to give them a leg up on their reading for the fall!
Summer camps are a great way to keep learning going over vacation! Immersion camps are great for language learning, or you can do a world explorers camp or even a Lego theme!
What is your favorite way to beat the summer slide? Comment below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, and you could be one of 25 winners of a FREE DOWNLOAD of Every Kid’s A Genius music album (see above). Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.
Hmmm. I don’t worry about the summer slide! I think the kids naturally engage themselves in interesting learning experiences when they don’t have the structure of the classroom. My daughter, unprompted, makes big charts on topics like “Everything I know about Greek gods”, and my son will spend hours perfecting some way of stacking random things in our shed to make the tallest structure that he can jump onto the swing from… I like that they have some unstructured, self-directed learning experiences over the summer. I’m sure I’d feel much differently if they both didn’t like to read/play math games on their own — I’m blessed!
That is wonderful! Mine are the same – I mainly worry about math, since that is the area he doesn’t enjoy doing on his own.
I am right there with you. I get back to my class in August and over half of the kids say they didn’t read one book or wrote one thing over summer. Our brains are a muscle we have to work out or we will lose strength!! What a fun giveaway! We LOVE music in our house!!!?? Awesome job promoting education at home. Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher.
Wow, that is so sad that they didn’t even read one book the entire summer! Parents have such an important role to play encouraging learning and creating a learning-rich environment.
I love these materials! 🙂 In summer, we try to prevent summer slide by learning about things that aren’t covered in school (like my son is interested in the Terra Cotta Warriors, my daughter about marine animals, etc). They get to practice reading and doing research, but it is totally passion-driven :).
What a wonderful way to encourage their interests!
My kids love adventure and creativity. They don’t really need a reason to make it happen either. From indoor forts to building things out of cardboard boxes, there’s never a dull moment in our home. They’re great at using their imagination, which keeps them occupied for hours.
That is awesome! Kids often just need space to really stretch and put their imaginations to good use!
We use epic, but that space book looks amazing and so does Smartick. I’m going to look into the things we currently don’t use! Thanks for the information
Have fun, we are really enjoying them!
We love the Nat Geo “Little Kids First Big Book of…” books, so devour those and do projects on the things we read. Thanks for this great list!
Oh yes, that is a great series!
We will be outside a lot making good use of the nice weather and we plan to do some biology and environmental science outside. I’m buying a local bird and plant book so we can do some identification while on our walks in the woods.
What a great idea! Love helping kids make those connections between books and the world around them.
We homeschool year-round so we don’t worry about a slide (unless we’re at the playground ?)
Haha, yes, very true! That is a big advantage of homeschooling 🙂
Lot’s of walks, crafting and trips to the library. Older children reading to younger children.
Great activities! I love having that mentorship between the children.
Reading, educational apps, summer camps, and craft books are all on our list for maintaining what we’ve learned throughout the summer! Thanks for the opportunity to win a free download!
What wonderful ways to learn and have fun doing it!
My kids aren’t yet school age, but as a teacher, I know the best ways to keep minds alive is through reading, educational games, travel and local exploration, and music! You have some great resources linked here! – Amy @http://thegiftedgabber.com
Thank you! Those are great ideas for keeping those brains stimulated and still have fun!
We definitely rely on apps for that our school break. Reading isn’t a problem because my daughter looooves to read, but we use Solash Math for math.
We are in the same position! My son devours books but needs more of a song and dance to get interested in math.
We utilize summer to get in extra reading time but also encourage the kids to engage their creativity. Relearn to find activities on their own vs in the school year there time blocks are very designated.
That’s wonderful! Summer is really a great time to let them explore a bit more than they have time for during the school year.
This is wonderful. Thank you for your amazing initiative. Summer has always been such a perfect time to read and read and read in between exploring, running through the sprinkler. Oh and eating freezies while reading!
That sounds like an ideal summer!
Thank you for this great information my kids are still young and don’t attend formal school more than 3 days of Montessori per week. Would love this material for our use. Mona
The music is a wonderful, fun way to introduce or reinforce these early concepts!
[…] This week Leanna, mom of 3 and education blogger, released a blog post sharing her Top Tips to Beat the Summer Slide! […]