​Keep your kids sharp this summer

​Keep your kids sharp this summer

Every summer I worry that by September my boys will have forgotten how to read and write. All their math will have gone out the window. Sometimes they even forget how to use the washroom and take to peeing in the bushes instead for convenience sake.

It’s no wonder. They spend all summer swimming, playing baseball and eating ice cream. They refuse to read a book. They don’t even like playing math games in the car.

I’m going to guess my kids aren’t the only ones whose brains get a little less exercise than they’re used to during the school year. So how do we keep our kids’ brains busy this summer?

Here are a few ideas:

First, we probably need to realize their brains are still working even during the summer. They are just processing information in different ways and learning other skills. At camp, they are meeting new people, trying new things and figuring out different routines and social situations. That takes a lot of work in itself.

Continue to read to your kids. My boys love when I read to them. Even if I’m not pressuring them to read themselves, they enjoy stories, words and the comfort of the same bedtime routine they have all year. Teachers always encourage parents to read to their kids even after their kids can read. This is definitely something I can do.

Make summer vacations educational. This year I’m taking my kids to Cooperstown in New York to see the Baseball Hall of Fame. They are going to learn about the history of baseball and the baseball greats they never got to see play. In this way, they will learn by doing and seeing. And they’ll have fun in the process.

Have your kids keep a journal or draw pictures of what they’re experiencing. Make assignments fun and keep them creative. Do it once a week rather than every day so they have lots to record.

Sneak in some math. My kids love homemade popsicles in the summer. It’s easy to blend up a smoothie and pour it into popsicle moulds. Recipes are quick and fun—and measuring ingredients is a math activity. My kids are old enough to help this year. They will keep their math current and it will taste sweet, too.


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  • Mesembria

    The majority of Ontario (and I think elsewhere in Canada but I'm not 100% sure) public libraries have a Summer Reading Club, sponsored by TD Banks. Kids who register get stickers, an activity book, and prizes or other incentives to read books all summer and report on what they read to their local library. Every library system does it a little bit differently. It's a great way to keep your kids reading all summer!