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The Summer Slide – SOLVED!

06.22.2015, by Susan Conolly


Published by: Amy Soupene

Summer is here and the house has a distinctly different feel.  My children’s days are characterized by a slower pace, no homework, and less responsibility.  But there are those times when I wonder if those beautiful brains are turning to mush.  All that hard work from the school year, is it going down the drain?  Recently a dear friend shared a list of summer activities generated by Project Lead the Way and I was curious.  Could we make learning fun?

Project Lead the Way (PTLW)  is a forerunner in STEM education.  If you’ve never read about them, I encourage it.  They get kids excited to dig deep and challenge themselves.  I truly believe a strong STEM education is vital to the future of our country and PTLW is invested in our nation’s children.

20 suggestions rounded out the summer activity list.  Some were free and others required a small cost.  Nothing was exorbitant and more importantly, they actually looked interesting!  What I really liked was the diverse themes of the ideas.  Depending on what you and your child find intriguing, you can find a project to carry out.  Science? Math? Engineering?  There are activities here for all of those subjects.

I’m going to share my top five picks.  But don’t take my word for it.  Peruse the list for yourself.  What looks interesting to you and what piques your child’s curiosity?

My Top 5

Discovery Jar: You know all those questions you get peppered with every day?   Have your child write these down on individual slips of paper that go into the Discovery Jar.  Pull out one each day to research.  This allows your child to direct his own learning and find answers to those burning questions; such as: Why do birds sing?  Why does it rain?  Why do our stomachs growl?

Bake:  Okay, in all honesty this one would be my top pick. I love to bake and I love to eat what I bake. And then, I love to give away what I bake so I don’t eat it all!  Baking with your kids is a great way to incorporate both reading and math skills into one yummy project.  Reading the recipe and assembling all the necessary utensils and ingredients teaches reading comprehension and organization. Measuring ingredients teaches fractions. And cleaning up teaches how to not be a slob!

Snack Break:  My brain is obviously on a food tangent. It took me a bit to realize that these “snacks” are not for your stomach but for your brain. Brought to you by the Exploratorium, Science Snacks are smaller versions of the exhibits at their museum. There are some very cool experiments here, and it makes me want to go visit the Exploratorium!

Star Gazing: Warm evenings and relaxed bedtimes make this a perfect time of year to learn about our night sky. Lots of apps are available to help you navigate the skies, pick your favorite and start being amazed at our big, beautiful universe. You can also locate the International Space Station on its website, Spot the Station.

Bug Out:  Summer brings out the bugs and this is the perfect opportunity to learn about them. Thankfully, not all of them are as pesky as mosquitoes - some are actually quite helpful.  Identify what bugs are native to where you live and what they do. Then go out and see how many you can find!

You know how to best engage your child, the goal is to get those brains moving!  What activities look like fun to you?  Have you tried any of these and want to pass on along a few pointers? Got any ideas you’d like to add?  I would LOVE to hear from you!

Best wishes, ~Amy