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Seven Inventive Ideas to Stop the Summer Slide

Summer is typically a time when unenthusiastic youth become even more unmotivated. With many events transpiring in the searing outdoors, planning enlightening indoor activities that spark scholastic spirit becomes even more challenging. While “summer slide” may jog memories of slippery water slides, the term actually refers to slippage in reading and math levels that tends to occur during the summer, from one grade to the next, when children prefer to practice their gaming guile over polymath pursuits. Can we keep children engaged in cerebral celebrations over innocuous inclinations? Here are seven inventive ideas to stop the summer slide.

 

1. Establish a Conversation Corner

Read Aloud to Make Us Proud
After reading a story, ask children to talk, in their own words, about the characters and what transpired. Expose children to a wide variety of words to enhance language and vocabulary development, and influence later literacy achievement.

Reflect yourself.
Include books that reflect your child’s native culture and language. Help each child to feel proud of who he or she is. For non-native speakers, reading in a native language first should also make it easier for children to acquire English. Consider yourself the family fairy godmother, and read with children now to pave the path of a future as bright as a marvelous magic wand.

2. Puzzles, Robots, and Books… Oh My!

There are surprising benefits to producing perfect puzzle pictures for both children and adults. In children, playing with puzzles has been found to enhance diagnostic skills, augment aptitude, reinforce hand-eye coordination, and strengthen self-esteem. In adults, putting together puzzles has led to enhanced evocation and more precise problem-solving, increased IQ scores, and raised visual-spatial reasoning. There is also evidence of lowered stress levels and a delay in Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Like people, puzzles come in many shapes and sizes, so here’s to planning a novel puzzle pastime!

Robots and technology can also improve teaching and learning within children’s classrooms, schools, and communities. By integrating digital tools into playing and learning, children are able to develop a skill called computational thinking, the process of deciphering a problem via detail and precision. Computational thinking may lead to better reasoning and problem-solving. With strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in mind, consider a family-friendly affair to build a robot together.

Of course, stack a bastion of bodacious books nearby. Select stories that emphasize building character, environmental conservation, making good choices, and developing positive self-esteem. According to literacy expert Timothy Shanahan, after repeated storytelling, young children should be able to begin recognizing basic words such as “I” and “like.”

3. Keep Cool with Coding

With a plethora of free coding classes and apps available, consider delving into coding for kids. Instilling a doting for coding does not have to begin with a series of troublesome tasks, and conceptualizing coding and programming logic should empower children to solve problems with acuity and advance their analytical reasoning readiness. According to one website, children as young as five can have fun while learning about coding fundamentals. Free educational programming websites include Blockly, Code.org, and Scratch. For older children (10+), try Code Combat; teens (14+) may enjoy Code Academy.

4. Day Trips

To enhance excogitation, choose an interactive celebration! Empower children to think critically via media-rich visual tools for modeling and visualization, as both online and in-person experiences can spark cerebral conversations and educational enlightenment. Visit fantastic farms, a sprawling zoo, national parks, historical sites, or even a virtual visit to outer space!
Questions to ponder:

  • What did you think of this field trip?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What is the most interesting thing you learned?
  • What else would you like to know?
  • Based on this experience, would you prefer to visit in-person or online? Why?
  • Where would you like our next visit to be and why?

5. Go Camping… Online!

With fun, free options available, consider virtual untrodden treks and small-group learning situations at online summer camps. Learn what makes hot air balloons rise, marvel at art and natural history museums (some with curbside material pick-ups), create crafts, or learn with Legos. Take yoga breaks or bust out board games. Online summer camps can also teach children about cooking, fitness, games, and music.

6. Let Them Write

Provide many magical moments for putting pen to paper. Write notes or short letters…It won’t be long before [your child] is trying to write back to you. Consider jovial journal entries once a day or twice a week. Make it fun! Ask children to pen their pursuits, envision new encounters, or posit opinion pieces rife with radiant illustrations. The concept is to communicate rather than generate grammatical perfection (grammar structure should develop in a more practical and natural way). Ask questions to provide opportunities for children to reflect on what they’ve heard and read. This enhances higher-level cognition. Online publications and resources organized especially for children include Diary Land, Stone Soup, The Telling Room, and Tikatok.

7. Volunteer!

Mahatma Gandhi suggested, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Peruse a plethora of worthwhile projects and causes to consider. PointsofLight.org is one positive place to start. Filter by issue or opportunity, or search by keyword or zip code. Virtual volunteer opportunities can also be found online. Remember to always keep the light of positivity well-lit. In the words of Harvey S. Firestone, “It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.”

Have a sensational summer!

Originally published by LinkedIn Pulse on May 31, 2020.

Scott Freiberger is an assistant principal in New York. He is an attentive administrator and a passionate pedagogue who advocates for all students, especially ELLs/MLLs and students with functional support needs.

Follow him on Twitter/X: @scottfreiberger

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