How to Prevent the Summer Slide

Apr 23, 2024 | Camps, How to Choose a Camp, Latest News

Are you familiar with the “summer slide”? It’s the tendency for children to lose some of the achievement gains they made in the previous school year. Children can sometimes lose a whole grade-level’s worth of skills over the summer, putting them at a disadvantage when the next school year starts in fall.

While it can happen to any child, the summer slide disproportionately affects students from low-income families. It’s an issue of equity and access to tools and programs that can help prevent learning loss over the summer. COVID-19 exacerbated already existing differences in achievement by income and race.

So what can you do as parents to help prevent the summer slide? Brains are a lot like muscles when acquiring skills or knowledge—they need exercise! 💪 Practicing reading, writing and math skills at home is GREAT! Formal programs like summer camp have also been proven to help kids maintain and improve skills. One study found that children who participated in summer programs that included mathematics activities experienced significantly better mathematics achievement outcomes compared to students who did not. Taking steps to ensure your kids stay learning over the summer can mean that rather than spending the fall struggling to catch up, they feel confident and ready to take on the new school year.

Photo Credit: Astronaut Training Camp at Challenger Learning Center

Here are some ideas for how you can keep your kids learning and engaged over the summer:

  • Of course we have to mention Blueprint4 as a resource! As a search platform for summer and out-of-school programs, we connect families like you with summer programs that work for your budget and your schedule. Check out some of the many summer camp programs listed on our search site!
  • Participate in a summer reading pledge. Many local libraries offer summer reading challenges that allows kids to track their reading hours. If there’s not a branch near you, try the Scholastic Summer Reading program – it’s a completely free digital resource for young readers!
  • Explore your local museums and parks. Many will have free or low-cost summer programs and activities for kids. If you’re local to St. Louis, check out our Blueprint4 activity book for a map of cool places to check out! Email Sarah to pickup a copy of the activity book!
  • Play games and do crafts. Practicing math and reading skills doesn’t have to look like work! Simple crafts and flash card games like math war or concentration can be a simple and fun way to keep kids learning.
  • Try out a new recipe. If summer snack time is feeling never-ending, try to get your kids involved in the kitchen with you! Your child can work on dexterity and concentration while chopping veggies, or practice fractions with measuring cups.

Don’t let the summer slide keep you up at night. Adding in a few of these suggestions can help your child prepare for the next school year in a fun, engaging way!