Tag Archives: summer activities

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

summer-homework

School’s out for summer, but learning shouldn’t be on vacation, too. “Summer slide” occurs when children forget skills they learned the previous school year, and it’s a concern for many parents, especially parents of children with learning difficulties. Here are some ways to engage and support children at any age to retain those skills and even give them a leg up for the next school year, while still having fun and enjoying their time off from school.

Elementary school:
• Try and find some time daily to read with your children. You can start a fun summer book club with a few of your children’s friends and rotate homes where you can meet and discuss the book of the week. You can also stop at the library before your summer road trip or longer vacations for books to take along with you. Set 20 minutes aside daily for some quiet reading or shared reading pleasure. Nothing like a great book for the beach for you and your child!
• If your younger child (pre-k to 1st grade) struggles with reading, it is even more important that you read to them every day. Have them try and pick out words they recognize (sight words) and begin to use their phonetic skills to “tap out” or sound out more challenging words.
• For this young age group, you should also review and practice the sequence of the alphabet. Sing or say the alphabet whenever you can – in the car, on a walk, while taking a bath. Fun activities include scrambling magnetic plastic letters of the alphabet and asking your child to sequence them as he or she says the letter names.
• You can also practice the alphabet with a game–it can be something as simple as jumping rope while reciting the alphabet, and coming up with a vocabulary word based on the letter you stop jumping at.
• Rhyming games can also be fun. Say four words and ask your child to tell you which word does not belong. Make up silly words to get them even more engaged!
• For slightly older children (first grade and onward) start to talk to your child about a book before you even get into the text with them. Ask them questions about the cover, read the chapter headings, and have them hypothesize what they think the story will be about. After reading a chapter, pause and have them reflect and predict what they think will happen next in the story. Review and discuss the different characters and have them start to form inferences about what will happen as you move along in the book with them.
• If engaging your child in a book is a struggle, try graphic novels instead. They have proven to be appealing to students who have not yet developed a love of reading.
• Strengthen your child’s number skills by incorporating fun math activities into your summer routine: count the seashells on the sand while you’re walking, or add up the number of birds you see flying overhead.
• You can include practice with measurement by having your child engage in cooking or baking and having them take charge in following the recipe.
• For kids who are having difficulty making their handwriting legible, summer is a great time to work on that skill, or learn to type. Look for programs or apps that can help make the process fun.

Middle and high school:
• If your child struggles in a particular subject, like math, try to find out what’s coming up in the class next year. That way you can start previewing the upcoming new concepts early.
• Writing demands increase as we enter the higher grades. Finding opportunities when older students would be interested and willing to engage in writing practice can be hard. One way to incorporate writing exercises is by coupling them with fun adventures. Visiting local museums, finding a fun landmark to research while on a trip, and even conducting an interview with a relative or someone in the neighborhood can be used as opportunities to foster journaling and writing.
• As your children transition into middle and high school, organizational skills and independence become even more important. Help your child get a head start on organizing their notebooks for different subjects and scheduling due dates for assignments.
• If your child is anxious about starting at a new school, use the summer to engage in helpful social activities. Look for ways they can meet peers early on, visit and walk around new school grounds to diminish anxiety and increase confidence.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that helping your child keep up over the summer shouldn’t be costly, either in terms of a financial burden or by straining your relationship with your child. There are so many resources in our environment to employ and ways to continue to promote and foster learning that are present as long as we’re creative in thinking about how to include them.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Daniela Montalto, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. She is the Clinical Director of the Child Study Center’s Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement.

 

Snacks to Keep Your Kids Fueled in the Summer Sun

trail-mixWith summer fast approaching and school years wrapping up, many families are gearing up for new routines and schedules. With the new season comes a variety of fresh produce and different meal and snack schedules for the kids. It can be hard to navigate food preferences for unpredictable days at the beach, away at camp, or hot summer nights at home. Here are some top snack tips to make the sunny season a little easier (and more delicious!) for everyone.

For a Day at the Beach or Pool
Packing up a cooler for a long day out can be tough. Alongside the sandwiches throw in some mozzarella sticks or Babybel cheese circles for a quick snack between sand castle building and swimming. Peanut butter sandwiches (or sunflower seed butter for kids with allergies) cut into quarters can also make an easy on-the-go treat for fuel. Keep fruit such as cut apples or grapes and veggies, such as baby carrots, celery, and bell peppers handy for kids to munch on throughout the day.

Packing Up for Camp
If your kids are headed to day camp, be sure to keep them fueled with extra snacks. Have your kids help build their own daily trail mix, choosing from a variety of nuts (such as cashews, peanuts, and almonds) and dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried strawberries, dried bananas, and/or coconut flakes). They can also add a little cinnamon or cocoa powder to dust on extra flavor.

Frozen Summer Treats
There’s nothing like ice cream and popsicles in the middle of a sweltering day. If you want to steer your kids away from a sugar overload (and subsequent crash!) try mixing up yogurt pops or smoothies instead. For the yogurt pops, blend Greek yogurt with berries or other favorite fruits. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze (at least two hours). If you’re craving something chocolate-y, blend cocoa powder, peanut butter, and a frozen banana with milk for a twist on the traditional milkshake. You can even add extra ice to make it closer to a soft-serve ice cream consistency.

Overall, remember to embrace the summer season choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re eating all the vitamins and minerals throughout the day. Enjoy the summer and all the treats that come with it!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Bridget Murphy, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian and clinical nutritionist at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

 

4 Tips for Pool Safety This Summer

Mother and baby playing in a swimming pool
On hot summer days, a cool, refreshing pool is exactly where you want to be. Plus, it’s the perfect family activity! Kids love playing and splashing around and let’s be honest, adults do too. However, as with many outdoor activities, there are important precautions we all must take to ensure that our kids are not just happy, but safe as well. Before your next pool trip this summer, keep these four tips for pool safety in mind.

Load on the sunscreen. Whether it’s the sunniest day of the year or there are clouds in the sky, the sun’s UV rays are always there—and they’re strong. Not only should you load up your kids (and yourself) with sunscreen before heading outside, but also be sure to reapply every two hours. There are tons of great sunscreens on the market, many made specifically for kids’ sensitive skin, so it’s easy to find the best one for your child. Skin safety is important—make it a priority before taking that dip in the pool!

Swim early and late. Besides putting on sunscreen, another way to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is planning pool time around when the sun is at its strongest—between the hours of 10am and 4pm. An early morning or late afternoon trip to the pool will ensure that you and your little ones aren’t basking in the sun’s strongest UV rays. Of course, it’s still important to put on sunscreen and reapply!

Use floats (but don’t depend on them). Using swim floats (either arm floats or puddle jumpers) allow little ones independence in the water to splash around and learn on their own. It also makes it a easier on us adults, who don’t have to carry our kids around the pool the entire time! While floats are fantastic, don’t depend on them alone—it’s important to be close by while your children are using them so you can help at a moment’s notice.

Swim Lessons. The best thing you can do for your kids is teach them to swim at an early age so they can help ensure their own safety in the water. There are tons of great programs on Kidz Central Station that provide lessons for kids as young as six months old, so little ones can become comfortable in the water and grow up to be confident swimmers. Simply search the site using the category for swimming to find private, semi-private, and group lessons for kids of all ages from programs like Physique Swimming, Penguin City Swim, and Island Swimming. No matter what age they start, your kids are sure to have a blast!