Also known as the ‘summer slide’, summer learning loss refers to your children’s loss of skills or knowledge as a result of the lapse in education during school holidays. Not all children experience it, but f there are some easy, simple ways to prevent it.
So stay tuned as we discuss eight easy ways to prevent summer learning loss and give your children a head-start for the new school term.
What is summer learning loss?
Summer learning loss can be frustrating for children and teachers alike. Children spend the term building up knowledge and then forget a percentage of it during the summer holidays as they haven’t been reminded or been able to build on their existing skills. The phenomenon can cause children to fall behind and require extra support when returning to school.
Whilst it’s perfectly normal for this to happen, there are things that parents can do to help the little ones retain what they’ve learned and return to school with more confidence…
How To Prevent Summer Learning Loss
1. Make a calendar
A great, visual way to track your progress is to make a learning calendar so you and your child can tick off tasks during the summer. It doesn’t have to be a strictly academic calendar, but it’s a good place to schedule tasks that help prevent learning loss. For example, reading books, going to a nature reserve, or playing games.
To level up your calendar, why not introduce some things they’ll be learning in the coming year or add tasks that relate to their learning from the previous year? This could be learning more times tables, writing longer words, reading sequels to books they like, etc.
2. Get reading
Reading is a great way to prevent summer learning loss as it helps to improve literacy, spelling and vocabulary skills – all in one go. Plus, when done right, it doesn’t seem like learning.
You could start by letting your child pick books appropriate for their key stage and choose a few days a week to sit and read with them or make it a bedtime routine. If your child is a reluctant reader, you can also encourage them to read comics, eBooks or listen to audiobooks.
And you could make it into a game or challenge – your local library may be hosting a summer reading challenge, and some bookstores offer free downloads online that aim to make reading a fun experience.
One final option to get more out of your reading sessions is to watch the film adaptations of your child’s favourite books after reading as a reward. After you’ve watched the film, have a chat about the differences between the book and the movie to get them thinking more critically.
3. Make a science experiment
You can help to boost your child’s problem-solving and analytical skills by creating science experiments at home. There are ready-to-go kits you can get from your local toy shop or you could create your own:
- Making invisible ink with vinegar
- Brush eggs with fizzy drinks to see the different effects
- Create fossils using salt dough
- Have a go at chromatography using pen ink
- Grow some crystals
- Making some squidgy slime
You can find free activity packs for children of all ages too, and they’re full of experiments, activity ideas and information for science-loving kids.
4. Practice handwriting
Did you ever go back to school after the holidays and worry you’d forgotten how to write since you’ve not written anything for weeks? Children maintain and improve their writing skills through practice, so give them reasons to write. It could be writing your shopping list, writing birthday cards, marking scores during games, or playing creative writing games – anything will help.
5. Get creative
Not only are arts and crafts mentally stimulating, but they are also super fun and help to boost your child’s creativity and imagination.
Some DIY fun arts and crafts ideas include:
- Painting face masks
- Making paper flowers
- Building a cardboard house
- Leaf painting and stamping
- Making bubble art
- Sculpt with paper mache
6. Play some puzzles
Puzzles are a great way to keep the kids entertained whilst boosting their problem-solving and logic skills. Why not host a family puzzle night each week? Choose from puzzles, such as jigsaw puzzles, board games, trivia and scrabble for a nice variety.
If you haven’t got many puzzles in your home, head to your local thrift shop or set up a puzzle exchange with neighbours or other parents from school. Most discount shops stock puzzles too, and to level up the fun, you could opt for giant versions of board games for the garden like Jenga or Twister.
7. Hire a tutor
Some parents opt for hiring a tutor as it maintains a formal learning environment and means the children can retain a holiday/learning balance. It doesn’t mean your child will lose their summer break – you can opt for just a few hours per week or occasional days.
You can also find tutors that offer remote classes online. They are typically flexible, and you can choose as many hours or topics as you like.
8. Watch educational shows
When it comes to commercial children’s TV channels, the majority of shows have an element of education in them. This is a great way to support your child’s learning during school holidays as they’re inexpensive and widely available.
There are also plenty of online platforms that support educational shows such as YouTube, and all the streaming services to check too.
You should aim to limit screen time and try to make it all high-quality programming to avoid any negative impacts on your child’s physical and mental health.
Now you know how to prevent summer learning loss whilst keeping your children entertained. Which idea will you try first?
Free Resource For You
I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with gentle parenting with your kids this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.
This free pdf can show you:
- The pillars of gentle parenting
- Example conversations you can have with kids
- Example consequences you can use
- Family activity ideas for connection