7 Ways to Prevent the 'Summer Slide'

Summer brain drain is a real problem. Here are easy ideas on how to avoid it.

By Nicole Zawidski June 25, 2024

As a teacher, I know it's important to sneak in some learning over the summer months to help your kids avoid the dreaded "summer slide" — that phenomenon in which your kids lose some of their hard-earned knowledge during their long vacations from school. Here are seven ideas on how to incorporate learning into fun activities that your family can do together this summer to avoid the summer slide:

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1. Bake together

Having your child read a recipe and measure out ingredients is a great way to work those math and science skills. Find a new recipe to try together or bake an old family favorite. Let your child do most of the work and enjoy the finished product together!

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2. Build something

Break out the hammer and nails. Have them measure with a tape measure and learn the adage “Measure twice, cut once!” Have them read the directions to you while you're helping them. You could end up with a beautiful new birdhouse ... or, if you're feeling really ambitious, even a treehouse! Click HERE to see how to build your own DIY Tent.

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3. Visit a library, planetarium, zoo, or science museum

Rainy day? Too hot? Visit a library, planetarium, zoo, or science museum! Talk to your child as you explore. Ask them questions to make them really think and to engage them.

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4. Start a neighborhood book club

Students who read 20 minutes a day scored above the 90th percentile in reading for standardized testing, on average. Other studies show that reading six books during the summer can keep your child’s reading from regressing. Get the neighborhood kids together for a book club so they can all keep up with their reading skills. No kids nearby to read with? Visit your local library to ask them about their summer reading programs.

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5. Write to a penpal 

Do you have a cousin in another state? Maybe an old friend with kids who moved away? Spend some time writing letters back and forth this summer. If the good old pen and paper way doesn’t seem like your thing, try emailing. Just make sure you are using correct grammar!

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6. Go for a hike

Give your child a map and have them find the trail. Let them lead the way without GPS. Have them create their own map of a familiar trail or park in your area.

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7. Go to community events!

Check the Macaroni KID events calendar regularly for local events that will keep your kids learning all summer long. We're here to help you find your family fun.

There are so many teachable moments for parents and their children over the summer. Reading, cooking, building, and even just playing together can be great bonding experiences that help avoid summer brain drain. Spend time with your child talking, asking questions, being creative, trying new things, and enjoying the beautiful weather outside. Keep exercising your brains together and your child's teacher will certainly be impressed this fall.