Preventing the Pandemic Slide: Ways to Empower Learning This Summer
May 21, 2020
As we approach the end of the school year, it has become obvious that this summer will not be a typical one. For the vast majority of students across the country, school has been out of session, at least physically speaking, since early March. And most of those children won’t be returning any time soon, at least not until districts across the nation decide upon the next steps about reopening schools in the fall.
In the meantime, children have been learning online via virtual methods. Unfortunately, our littlest learners are simply not equipped with the technology skills needed to partake in successful online classes. And that’s all on top of the grief and stress they feel over the sudden change in their routine. See below to find fun ways to keep your child’s skills sharp over the next few months, including exciting ideas for summer activities for kids at home!
Targeted Subject Areas for Summer Learning
For elementary students, in-person classes are critical for early literacy and foundational math skills. When thinking about concepts such as telling time or cursive writing, it becomes obvious how virtual learning can underserve our youngest children who need hands-on practice and expert guidance. Clearly, what children learn early in their educational career serves as the basis for all the learning they engage in for the rest of their lives.
As your family heads into the summer months, it’s important to stay organized and create a new learning routine. Even though summer camp may well be cancelled this year, many summer programs are going online this year. Kids Academy is about to launch a special Summer Camp Course for children from K through 3rd grade. Kids Academy learning camp is a great opportunity for your kids to fill summer with learning adventures and sharpen their skills for a new school year. Get ready to enroll your child in Summer Camp going live soon! Stay tuned!
Reading and Writing
For elementary students:
For elementary students, the loss of class time can spell devastating consequences for young children, especially for those in kindergarten and first grade. If your child is in one of these grades, try the following activities to help boost your child’s early literacy skills:
- Read to your child for at least 30 minutes every day. Purchase children’s books online, or alternatively, check with your local public library to see if they have a curbside pickup service that can assist you with checking out a number of books to keep your child reading.
- Reach out to your child’s teacher or school to regarding grade-appropriate sight word lists. Create flash cards with your child, and practice reading sight words until mastery.
- Each morning, make a daily agenda and help your child write out the day of the week, the calendar date, time, weather, and a list of daily chores or things to do that day. Keep the agenda on a large calendar on the fridge or make it into a journal where they can practice writing all the above information.
- Practice handwriting using free online resources, such as free writing worksheets.
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For older children, from 2nd through 3rd grade:
- Encourage kids to read independently for at least 30 minutes a day. Ensure that reading material is self-selected and based upon your child’s own personal interests. In addition to the resources offered at your local library, check out innovative reading apps such as Epic! and Scribd, which offer children a huge library of interesting fiction and non-fiction titles to choose from.
- Check out the resources your child school offers as a subscription to support learning. Use these apps to discover topics across the curriculum while simultaneously practicing reading and writing skills.
- Keep a daily diary to help your child keep track of each day during the pandemic, so they have a resource by which to remember these strange times. Don’t forget to date each entry accurately and give your child a reliable structure to base their entries. For example, they can begin with information about the weather and current events, before sharing their plans or activities for the day.
- Encourage young writers to keep practicing by offering interesting story prompts or mini-research projects on a fascinating subject of your child’s choice. Use some of the apps mentioned above to research a topic and follow the research process to help your child form research questions, find information, and record it in writing over the course of a couple weeks.
- Thankfully for math, there are a plethora of free printable worksheets and games that your child can access, regardless of grade level! Find a site like Kids Academy, that separates math worksheets by grade level and subject. Try to finish a short worksheet each day, targeting skills your child needs to work on, such as addition, subtraction, place value, or counting money.
- Access free online games that allows your child to practice skills in an exciting way! Find games that allow students to manipulate analog clocks or use virtual dice to practice math problems.
- Go on various nature scavenger hunts depending on your local resources. Head to the nearest park, creek, the woods, or whatever natural wonder resides within your community. Brainstorm a list of what your kids think they might find there and bring the list with you on your hunt. Check off the list and discuss each item as they’re collected.
- Summertime is the perfect season to get outside and conduct those messy experiments you never want to let the kids do in the house! Now they can finally get to make that Alka Seltzer rocket or make their own volcano by taking all the ingredients to each experiment outside to the patio to complete.
Arts and Crafts
- It’s no secret that kids love creating their own artwork, and this can love for creativity can be harnessed to study content from around the curriculum! Get crafty by creating a collage to support a topic that you think your child should learn more about.
- For a quick social studies lesson, discuss technology and games from the past, and compare them to those they have today. Create a collage by finding and drawing pictures, looking up online images, or check from magazines, newspapers, and family photos to display technology from the past and present. Don’t forget to make it neat and colorful, and feel free to glue on accessories to decorate!
- With family vacations on hold, and cities delaying the opening of pools and other outdoor amenities, the options for outdoor fun outdoor summer activities for kids might seem fairly limited. If that’s the case, why not go camping in the back yard? Teach older children how to make a fire and live off the land by shutting off the screens and roughing it for a night. Take a hike to find the sticks and play fun outdoor games to play tent-side, such as cornhole or charades.
Unfortunately, we can’t change the way the pandemic has altered our lives. However, we can do something to slow the slide and even begin reversing it so that our children are back on the right track academically. Try the above activities to give your child’s skills a boost, and to keep them learning and growing throughout the summer, no matter what we face as parents and teachers!