Start planning now to prevent the summer slump for kids

According to Exploracise, a popular website for parents and educators, the skills and information retained by children during the school year are too easily forgotten during summer break.

These tools, tips and programs help kids to stay on top of things – including their health – during the summer months.

Weight gain and learning loss

Children spend their school year learning all about the importance of education, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. “While some people are aware of the learning loss, many aren’t aware that children tend to gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school,” says Carrie Schneider of Exploracise. Paul Von Hippel of Ohio State University found that children could gain as much weight during the summer months as they do during the school year.

But summer weight gain is not the only concern. Harris Cooper, former professor at the University of Missouri Columbia found that children could forget up to three months of learning over the summer.

Keeping kids engaged during the summer months

The materials through Exploracise offer parents, educators and children the tools needed to engage children’s brains and bodies during the summer months. Here are some important tips to help organize your child’s summer. These tips not only keep your child active, they also help prepare your child for the next school year.

Tip: Don’t rely on standard workbooks as your child may be ahead or behind for his or her grade level. If your child is coming out of fourth grade and is at grade level academically, it’s best to pick up fourth grade workbooks to maintain, review and improve his or her current academic skills in preparation for the next grade level — unless your child’s teacher says otherwise.

Achievement journal

Before school ends, schedule a short meeting with your child’s teacher to get up to speed on your child’s current achievement level. Keeping a journal will help you remember and further document how your child is doing academically over the summer.

Educational camps

In between the fun and games that typical summer camps provide, schedule in a few educational camps to keep your child’s mind fresh and open to learning new things.

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Tip: Visit the library for books, audio books, educational DVDs and education computer games.

Feed the brain during free time

Your summer schedule may continue to be busy with work, activities or other children, but school-aged children typically have more free time during the summer months. Schedule educational and active activities for these down times to keep kids away from the TV, video games or unnecessary snacking.

Keep your child’s body active

Children need exercise to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. By encouraging your children to exercise and play outside during the summer months, you are helping to keep them active and automatically limiting time in front of the TV.

Tip: These activities also provide some much-needed family time for your children.

Different ways to keep your child active for summer

  • Hiking as a family.
  • Bike rides with the family.
  • Walking to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner.
  • Ball sports at the neighborhood park.
  • Swimming.
  • Building models, a tree house or backyard forts.
  • Organize outdoor activities with friends and family.

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More about kids and summer

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Summer camp alternatives
7 Ways to keep your kids active this summer