School’s out for the summer! But that doesn’t mean the learning should end, especially this year

by Lisa Kaul, Kumon Senior Vice President

After months of school closures, parents aren’t just worried about the “summer slide,” but a major “COVID slide.” You might be asking yourself, “Will my children be prepared to return to school in the fall?” Continuing educational activities over the summer months is a great way to ensure your children are best prepared for the new school year.

Here are seven ways to keep your kids excited about learning this summer...

1. Try to create a general daily routine that includes time for learning.

Thirty minutes to an hour each day will help keep skills fresh in children’s minds. In doing so, your child also knows what to expect for the day and maintains some structure over the summer. This will help them in September as they ease back into their school routine. If you have older children, you can always work together on a schedule so they feel involved in the process. 

2. Learn math with food

What child doesn’t love a tasty snack? Teach math concepts like fractions with yummy foods like slices of pizza or pie. Teach addition and subtraction as you add pieces of food to their plates and as they eat them. For example, “You had four carrots and you ate two, how many do you have now?”

3. Turn their digital activity into a learning opportunity

Does your child love to play video games or beg you to watch TV and movies? While these activities can be educational, you can always take it one step further. Challenge them to write an alternate ending or predict what will happen in the next episode or sequel. This will help expand comprehension and practice creative storytelling.

4. Switch roles and have your child be the teacher

Kids love the idea of becoming a grown-up. Indulge them in this by having them play teacher and you be the student. Have them read you a story, tell you some interesting facts they learned online or from a book, or sit down for them to teach you a full lesson and “mark” your work afterwards. They will think they are playing but will be affirming knowledge they already know.

5. Have a math bath

Bath time just got a whole lot more fun! At the end of every bath, draining the tub can become a full-on math guessing game. Before you pull the plug, have your child guess how many seconds it will take for the water to drain out. Then, count together and see who wins. If the child is older, get them to work out the difference between the number they guessed and the actual number to work on their addition and subtraction.

6. Learn around town

As local attractions and destinations start to open up in your area, the idea of getting out of the house will be very exciting for your children. Take a day trip around town (physically distanced, of course!) and have your children learn by reading guide maps, pamphlets and signs about your city’s history. They’ll already be curious about the place you’re going, so they’ll be more eager to engage.

7. Make it rewarding

Implementing a reward system can keep your child determined and fulfilled. Whether it’s for finishing a book they were reading or completing a lesson, recognizing your child’s success plays a big role in their enthusiasm. Spacing rewards out or using varying levels of rewards like stickers, popsicles or a new toy can keep children from expecting them, while ensuring motivation is high.

If you need more support, Kumon Learning provides your child with 30-minute assignments each day for reading and math, taking the pressure off you to come up with educational activities. To learn more about the Kumon Math and Reading Program, visit Kumon.