Prevent Summer Slide: Tips to Keep Your Kids Thinking Smart Over Summer Break

7 Ways to Prevent Summer Slide: Keep Kids Thinking Smart Over Summer Vacation

Girl model acting as though she's dealing with the summer slide

The joy of a sunny summer vacation is hard to beat—but if you’re like many parents, you might be worried about your daughter falling back academically while school’s out. But believe it or not, there are easy (and fun!) ways that your daughter can not only stay on track, but also learn even more before the start of the next school year. Follow these tips and watch her soar!

1. Send her to camp
You might think camp is all tents and tug-o-war, but your daughter can gain a lot of skills—and put those she learned in school last year to good use. Plus, the confidence she gains from going away will help her feel more capable in all areas of her life, school included.

2. Give her time to play
Whether she’s playing with dolls or being silly with her friends, playtime is actually super important for your girl. Why? Studies show that play allows the neurons in a child’s brain to form new connections. This rewiring helps boost emotional intelligence, decision-making skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

3. Let her lead “book club
Pick a title she’d like to read, and have the whole family read it together and discuss it—with your girl asking the questions! It’ll give her a chance to lead and be the “expert,” which can boost her love of books and will keep her reading skills sharp!

4. Encourage her to make something
From dreaming up ideas and designing a hands-on project to testing those ideas and problem solving on her own terms (without a teacher’s instruction), making something from scratch—whether it’s a bird feeder or a pie—is one of the best ways to keep her learning this summer.

5. Find the magic in everyday life
How do magnets stick to the fridge? Why are leaves green? How does her phone know where she was when she took a photo? Help her investigate these questions and more as she explores how the wonderful world around her actually works and brushes up on her science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) knowledge in the process!

6. If she’s old enough, suggest she get a summer job
She’ll love getting a paycheck, but she’ll also get hands-on experience practicing important people skills, learn about how a business operates (whether she’s running her own dog-walking service or working for an established company!), and likely get a hefty-dose of financial literacy in the mix, too. Major bonus? College admissions teams love applicants who’ve held jobs over the summer or after school, because it shows responsibility and drive.

7. Welcome a new (fluffy) member to the family
If she’s been begging for a pet, summer is a great time to finally say yes and adopt one. Make it a teaching moment by having her research the type of animal you’ll be getting and report back to you about the types of food, exercise, and grooming her new friend will need. All that fact-finding, plus the responsibility of caring for a new pet, will keep her brain active and focused.

There’s no rule that says learning can only happen in a classroom! Let her curiosity, imagination, and passions lead the way, and she’s sure to have a summer full of enriching, educational moments.