How to Avoid Summertime Learning Loss

The ending of a school year is exciting and a time to relax from the demands of the previous one; however, many parents and educators worry about summertime learning loss. Summertime learning loss occurs when a child loses the skills gained during the school year over the course of the summer months. This loss disadvantages the child at the start of the next school year.  

The good news is that there are ways to avoid summertime learning loss and still enjoy the summer. The possibilities are endless. Almost all fun summer activities can be linked to ways to keep children learning and retaining information during the break.  

Learning during the summer does not have to be dreadful. Make learning fun! Find activities that interest your child and incorporate essential reading and math skills. Adjust the activities based on the age and abilities of your child. Engaging your child in cooking, summer challenges, outings with friends and family, visits to the park, museums, zoos, arcades, and grocery shopping can be fun learning activities to avoid summertime learning loss.

As you transition into the summer months, consider using some of the activities below to help your child retain the skills they gained in school this year. 

  1. Games and puzzles are always fun to play, so many skills and concepts can be addressed. For example, games and puzzles can target math, reading, following directions, turn-taking, colors, shapes, descriptive terms, and more. 
  2. “I Spy” can target labeling objects, descriptive vocabulary, counting, and making sentences.  
  3. Arts and Crafts can get messy, but that’s what makes it fun! Children can work on cutting, pasting, counting, following directions, handwriting, coloring, and sequencing.  
  4. Vacations are the best part of summer break and can be used to target various educational skills. Encourage your child to describe their vacation experiences by writing, drawing pictures, and conversing about their adventures.  
  5. Car rides can be used to do multiplication drills, rhyming, using descriptive vocabulary to describe other cars and objects, and singing various songs that have educational targets. 
  6. Cooking is fun and packed with opportunities for summer learning. Let your child help out in the kitchen to target many skills in a fun and functional manner. Cooking is great for reading, following directions, and math (counting, fractions, adding, subtracting, and multiplication). The learning opportunities are endless in the kitchen.   
  7. Summer challenges are fun to get children excited about learning. For example, challenge them to read several books per week or complete math problems in a given amount of time.  
  8. Grocery shopping is an excellent way to target skills as well. Give your child a budget and have them pick out items without going over the budget to target simple math skills. For younger children, use trips to the grocery store to target categories, label everyday objects and food items, and count various items and money. The learning can continue when you return from the grocery store by allowing your little one to help you sort the groceries.  
  9. Library visits are always fun to get your child excited about reading. Set aside time each week to visit the library to find new and exciting books. Many libraries also have story time and other fun and educational activities for children to enjoy. 
  10. Educational programs and apps are a fun and engaging way to maintain academic skills during the summer. Free programs include Khan Academy, Splash Learn, Coolmath Games, PBS Kids Games, and IXL. Other online programs offer free trials, such as; ABC Mouse and GenerationGenuis.
  11. YouTube and TV Shows even have a place in being beneficial for avoiding summertime learning loss. There are so many YouTube channels that focus on educational concepts and reinforcements. Set aside time for your child to watch educational shows. Check out channels such as Jack Hartman Music, Gracie’s Corner, and Ms. Rachel, to name a few. When your child enjoys their favorite TV show or movie, ask comprehension questions during commercial breaks.  
  12. Outside adventures are a great way to get fresh air while targeting academic skills. Go on a walk around the neighborhood and talk about what you see and the weather. Plan a scavenger hunt to target vocabulary, spatial concepts, numbers, colors, and more. Have a water balloon fight to cool down on a hot day, target colors, count, and compare and contrast the various balloon sizes.  
  13. Outings with family and friends are a great way to maintain social skills and to provide your child with opportunities to interact with peers.  
  14. Flash cards are a more traditional way to target various concepts. Flashcards of all types can be found at your local Dollar Tree, online, and in other stores such as Walmart and Target—spice flashcards up a bit by combing them with a game or other preferred activities. 

The main objective to keep in mind is to be creative and not make summer learning feel like a chore. Play, talk, and have fun daily! If you have summer programs in your area, utilizing them and getting your child involved as much as possible is always a good idea. Do what works best for your family. The best rule of thumb is to at least be intentional about incorporating some form of reading and math into your routine each day. Have a great summer! 


Author: Whitney Thompson, M.A., CCC-SLP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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