Preparing for the New School Year

It’s not time to start buying school supplies and packing backpacks quite yet, but the new school year is just around the corner. This is a very exciting time of year, full of new opportunities, new friends, and many new things to learn. Even though there are still a few weeks of summer left, it’s not too early to start preparing your kids for the fresh new year ahead.

Have you heard of the “summer slide”? Take a look at these statistics about what happens over summer break if you don’t continue challenging your children academically over summer: 2 ½ months of math skills are lost, 2 months of reading skills are lost, and teachers spend 6 weeks reteaching old material. This may seem like a lot, but if you spend 2-3 hours/week focusing on challenging (yet fun!) activities, your child can avoid the summer slide and enter the new school year feeling prepared to learn.

Encourage summer reading.

Reading is a great way to keep your kids’ imaginations fresh and ready to absorb new information. Whether they want to read chapter books, comic books, or picture books, encourage them to read at least 1 book per week. If your kids need a little extra encouragement to read this summer, consider introducing a Summer Reading Bingo Challenge. The Bingo board encourages your kids to read in a fort, read outside, read poetry, and other fun reading activities. Here is a free printable reading log to track all the reading adventures your kids embark on this summer.

Get out of the house.

Just because your kids aren’t in school, doesn’t mean you need to stay home all day. Turn fun trips to the zoo, aquarium, or pool into learning experiences. If you go to the zoo, create a scavenger hunt to find all their favorite animals. Then, take some time to teach them about the animals’ habitats and the importance of caring for our environment to ensure the animals have a safe place to live. After your trip to the zoo, you can solidify everything they learned by creating habitat sensory trays for their favorite animals. For example, if your kids loved the polar bears, fill a plastic bin with ice, shaving cream, and plastic arctic animals.

If you’re at the swimming pool or aquarium, talk with your child about the importance of keeping our oceans clean. Once you’re home, create an ocean sensory bottle by filling a bottle with water, sand, glitter, and plastic fish toys.

Make every day different.

Kids thrive on routine and consistency, but it’s important to make sure they’re learning something new daily. Keep your summer days structured, but focus on different subjects and learning experiences. For example:

  • Monday Math: Practice light math skills over the summer with fun activities such as math boxes and balloon math.
  • Technology Tuesday: As our world becomes more and more technologically advanced, it’s important to introduce your children to the many wonderful ways they can harness the power of technology. Whether this means practicing typing, learning to use tablets, or teaching them light graphic design skills, these are very useful skills to carry with them as they venture into a new school year.
  • Water Wednesday: Teach your child about the ocean and emphasize the importance of not littering and respecting the great oceans around us.
  • Tasty Thursday: Teach your children some basic cooking skills, such as stirring the batter for cookies, making fruit kabobs, or spreading peanut butter and jelly on sandwiches.
  • Fun Friday: Get your kids outside! Play with chalk, fill up a kiddy pool, and blow bubbles. They will look forward to unwinding from the busy week of learning they just had.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!