In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, there is an interesting exchange between Alice and the Red Queen while the two run in a race against each other. Alice, slightly frustrated that they are running but appear to be going nowhere says, “Well, in our country, you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
To this, the Red Queen replies, “A slow sort of country! Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Unfortunately, it appears that to be competitive in today’s economic environment, our kids will have to run twice as fast as we had to when we were their age. This includes continuous learning even when school is out for the summer.
As parents, we are responsible to help our kids run ever faster. Below are 10 things that you can do this summer to ensure that your kids hit the ground running when the new school year starts:
- Educational Board Games – Board games offer many benefits for children including lessons such as strategy and fair play. Some games take education even further by providing opportunities to learn important skills such as reading and math. Scholastic identified a number of these educational board games that are good for summer fun and learning.
- Plant a Garden – Gardens are a wonderful way to teach children about the plant life-cycle. Kids that actively engage in nurturing a garden also learn responsibility and the pride of seeing a tiny seed grow into something that can be consumed or shared with others.
- Word Play – Another way to stop the summer slide is to help kids expand their vocabulary. This can be easily done by hanging a new word on the refrigerator and then keeping tracking of who uses it the most in a week.
- Sign up for Reading Programs – There are a number of different companies that are offering various rewards to children that join their summer reading program. For a few ideas, click here.
- Take a Virtual Field Trip – One of the benefits of the internet is the ability to explore the world…from the computer. Possible virtual field trips include the Arctic, a Hershey’s chocolate factory, and the Louvre.
- Do it Yourself Projects – Kids generally have an abundance of free time during the summer. One way to fill that time is to engage children in interesting projects that they can make themselves. There is a growing Do It Yourself (DIY) movement focused on kids and includes interesting projects like learning to code and remixing music videos.
- Engage in Math Logic Puzzles – Who doesn’t love a challenge? Games like Sudoku or logic puzzles can keep kids engaged while practicing important math skills. Not sure where to begin? Here is a link to Ken Ken, a set of challenging math puzzles designed for junior high and high school students.
- Download an Educational App – Apps aren’t just for mindless entertainment anymore.There are apps that can help kids learn everything from geography to others language. Here are ten apps recommended by education.com that can help prevent the summer slide.
- Start a Business – Lemonade stands are always an option, but there are many ways for kids to experiment with entrepreneurship over the summer. Here in Austin, many kids start preparing for the Children’s Business Fair during summer break. They could even use the internet to start their own online business. It is never to early to begin to think about the benefits of entrepreneurship.
- Sign Up for Brain Chase – By combining a worldwide treasure hunt with an online learning challeng, Brain Chase is one of the best ways to combat the summer slide. Participants in grades 2-8 will have the opportunity to practice critical reading, writing, and math skills for a minimum of an hour each day, five days a week. Completing these assignments unlocks webisodes with clues to the location of a buried treasure. The hunt begins on June 30th – so sign up soon.
Like the red queen suggests, our children will need to run twice as fast just to keep up with the changes caused by technology and globalization. Brain Chase is a great way to help your kids pick up speed and and prevent summer learning loss.