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Why Summer Loss Matters
To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months. Many Americans have a wonderful image of summer as a carefree, happy time when “kids can be kids,” and take for granted the prospect of enriching experiences such as summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks, and libraries.
Unfortunately, some youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When the school doors close, many children struggle to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision.
Summer learning loss is cumulative and disproportionately affects low-income students. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the gap between low and high income youth can be attributed to summer learning loss. In general, low-income students lose around three months of grade-level equivalency during the summer months.
Powerful Schools is doing more this summer to combat summer loss than ever before! To make sure our students participate in educational and FUN activities this summer, we are offering:
- Just Right Summer Reading Club
- Summer Exploration Camps
- All-day summer classes & enrichment for targeted struggling students in partnership with John Muir Elementary
How you can help combat summer loss?
- Volunteer in support of a summer program
- Spread the word about the campaign to your co-workers, friends, and family via Facebook and Twitter
- Donate to Powerful Schools to provide scholarships and funding for summer activities
Activities for YOU to try with your child this summer!
Here are a few suggestions of activities to keep your children engaged and learning this summer!
1. Conduct science experiments: For example, put celery stalks in water and food coloring and watch them change colors or conduct a study to see what insulating material (paper, foil, towels, etc.) will keep popsicles from melting in the hot sun.
2. Lego Geometry: Use legos and graph paper to create shapes, determine areas and perimeters, and work on other geometry skills.
3. Make ice cream in a bag: Pour 1/2 cup of half-and-half, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a sealing sandwich bag, close bag. In a sealing freezer bag, pour 3 cups of crushed ice and 1/3 cup of rock salt. Put the sandwich bag inside of the freezer bag and seal. Shake and roll the bag for 10 to 15 minutes and watch the mixture turn into a tasty treat!
4. Play “I Spy!” Action Verbs: Action verbs are in play all around us! Put kids’, parents’ and pets’ names in a bag. Then have children pull two names out. For one day, have them write down five action verbs that they catch their friends, parents, or pets doing.
5. Play the “What are you doing?” Improv Game: Stand in a circle. One child does an action, while asking the person next to them, “What are you doing?” The next child must do the action said, while acting out something totally different. Then it is the next person’s turn to ask “What are you doing?”
6. “I have, Who has” cards: Create flash cards that state: “I have:” on the top and “Who has a word that rhymes with:” on the bottom. Determine 10-20 words with a rhyming “partner” word, such as “pig” and “dig” or “cat” and “hat.” Then write the different words on the flash cards. Deal cards. One person starts, by reading one of their cards, and someone answers with the corresponding card.
7. Plan a museum scavenger hunt: Find a museum in your area and research the exhibits before you go. Create a “scavenger hunt” for your children to keep them engaged and learning while at the museum. Good examples are: find something red, find the oldest thing in the museum, and find something from a different country.
8. Plan a library scavenger hunt: Help children think of subjects they would like to learn more about, then find resources at the library. This activity also helps young students understand and become comfortable with the alphabet and the library system!
9. Play Swimming Pool Scrabble: Use sponges and a permanent marker to make letter tiles, then ask your kids to spell words while in the pool.
10. Grow something: Gardens are a perfect way to teach kids about plant biology and responsibility. Grow herbs, fruit or vegetables and complete the circle by cooking with your children using your home-grown produce!
11. Play Sight Word Twister: Using a Twister board, add sight words, letters or numbers to the colored circles. Instead of calling out a color, call out word, letter or number.
12. Produce a Puppet Show: Have your child write their own script or follow the script from a favorite book. Make puppets from old socks, paper bags, egg cartons, and old mitten or gloves!
13. Create a reading tree: Make a large tree out of construction paper. Every time your child finishes a book during the summer, have them make a leaf or flower to add to the tree!
14. Cook with your kids: Work on counting and reading skills as children help measure ingredients and read recipes.
15. Make your own plant encyclopedia: Have your children identify and collect plant samples and record them in a notebook. Dry and press plant samples between wax paper in a large book for a few days. When samples are dry, glue them into the notebook by the descriptions.
16. Play Beach Ball Math: Write out numbers on the top and bottom sections of a beach ball. Throw the ball! Whoever catches it has to add (or subtract or multiple) the numbers where their thumbs are.
17. Write a Biography: Does your child have a hero in his or her life? Ask them to research their hero at the library and write a short history of his or her life.
18. Keep a Summer Journal: Ask your young, emerging author to write a little about what they did each day!
19. Gather and sort rocks: Part of a day at the beach can be spent finding and classifying rocks and learning more about geology. Discover what makes rocks look the same or different and have them guess what each rock is made from.
20. Make a Butterfly Feeder: Create a butterfly feeder out of a sponge, string and sugar water! Hang it from a tree and track the amount and kind of butterflies that visit the feeder.
For more inspiration on activities to prevent summer loss, please visit these sites: