Like all good memories of summers past, mine are a bit hazy. However, I can recall spending a lot of time with the bajillion kids in my neighborhood, running through the trees, and playing on the playground.
What also happens in the summer for kids? Summer slide. Summer slide is the tendency for students, especially low-income students, to lose reading and math skills over the summer break. Summer slide is the tendency for students, especially low-income students, to lose reading and… Click To TweetResearch has shown that children can lose up to 2 months of reading over the summer and that loss is cumulative from year to year.
I’m going to be blunt. If you’re are a middle-class parent, summer slide basically isn’t a worry for you. Your son or daughter will probably be exposed to museums, camps, and vacations out-of-state or even internationally that will keep their skills sharp and broaden their knowledge base. Most low-income students don’t have those opportunities. So, if you’re a middle -class parent worried that Jake’s brain is going to rot this summer, let that guilt go.
Nevertheless, I know the you still want to provide enrichment for your teens. When I looked on Pinterest, I found a ton of advice . . . for elementary students. Yet, summer slide is an issue for middle and high schoolers as well. I’ve brought together ideas from a variety of blogs plus my own tips about summer slide.
Grab the FREE reference guide I created for you! (You know, for those long summer days when your teens are refusing to do anything remotely academic.)
Summer Slide Activities: Blog Round-Up
Sapna from @teachingcove gives great suggestions to encourage writing this summer. Few of my students ever wrote over the summer and I think this is an awesome way to keep them engaged.
Heidi from @EducatorOnFire has a different take on summer slide that some will probably agree with. Check out some alternative ways for kiddos to spend the summer.
Don’t forget your local library!! Libraries are an invaluable resource and many have taken the lead on summer slide programs. Many of those programs include middle and high schoolers. My local library’s prizes include coupons to restaurants and free tickets to a local theme park.
Madeleine from @LearningLiberation discusses library programs in-depth and even has a Scavenger Hunt that would be appropriate for upper elementary or early middle schoolers.
Molly Huddle Coffey takes a bit more pragmatic approach to summer time for teens. Her main recommendation = get a job. Though it may not help with calculus class, a job teaches SO many life and financial lessons.
Summer Slide Activities for Teens: Quick Tips
Museums, historic landmarks, and parks! Oh my! I feel like this is an easy one. Find a local history museum and visit one afternoon. Traveling? Find a few historical landmarks or parks and take a tour. I personally love house museums – the focus is less on politics or wars, and more on how people actually lived.
My favorite way to integrate math into the summer is through . . . baking. Baking, after all, uses fractions and multiple measurement units. Take your favorite recipe and adjust it up or down. Print out a copy of the recipe, go through the recipe with your child, and adjust all the amounts. And then bake it, of course!
I would recommend starting easy – double it or cut it in half. If your child is older or ready for a challenge, increase or decrease the recipe by 25%. (If you are truly adventurous, you can always increase or decrease by ⅓, but the unit conversions get weird, especially for the smaller amounts. One-third of ½ teaspoon salt, anyone?) Also, you will probably have to convert units at some point. For example, the original recipe called for 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract. If you double it, you will need 1 tablespoon of vanilla.
If your teen takes a foreign language, it can be hard to keep up with that language over the summer. Check out the Slow News programs in Spanish, French, German, or Italian. The programs are exactly what they sound like – the latest news is read slowly in the target language. They also provide an English transcript if your child get stuck on a word. Bonus: your kid also keeps up with the news!
This might not help with math or English, but it will help make your teen a better person. I call that a win! Find a cause that he or she enjoys – working with rescue animals, providing tours at a museum, or helping out at a senior center. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Volunteer Match. Pick your city and causes and it will provide volunteer opportunities for you. For a FREE planning worksheet, check out my post on Teen Volunteering!
AP or IB Summer Assignment
Rising juniors and seniors in AP or IB classes probably have a summer assignment. Plan now so the end of the summer is just as enjoyable as the beginning. (I even included a planning worksheet!)
Prep for the SAT/ ACT
This is for the hard core teen! If your older teen is taking the SAT or the ACT in the fall, they can use their free time this summer to prepare for the test. If taking the SAT, they should hop on Khan Academy and get started. Check out my post on cheap SAT prep for more information. If working on the ACT, get a prep book. If you’re NOT taking the SAT or the ACT in the fall, enjoy your summer instead!
Try some of these suggestions and let me know how they go in the comments below!