Smart Ways to Jumpstart Learning before School Starts

For most children, school breaks are a welcome hiatus from academics. Having a long break gives them a chance to travel, explore new activities and spend invaluable time with family. Unfortunately, if they haven’t been plugged into academic activities over the break, they could find the back-to-school transition a bit jarring. But take heart! Even if school is only weeks away, you still have time to ward off learning loss and strengthen your child’s academic skills before they head back. Here are some tips to get you started!

Switch to Educational Programming

TV doesn’t rot the brain as many people once thought. In fact, television can be a great learning resource for children! Educational programming encourages kids to ask questions and think critically. Nature shows, history programs, and science-based children’s programming are particularly beneficial, but don’t let the learning stop there. You can introduce an element of education into your family movie nights by asking your children to talk about movie themes or plots.

Provide Real-World Math Problems

Making connections between mathematics and real-world applications is a wonderful way to support your child’s math skills. According to Whitby, some great opportunities to encourage mathematical thinking include baking, traveling, grocery shopping, and eating out. When baking, for example, you could help your child convert recipes to feed more or fewer people. When eating out, have your child estimate the final bill or calculate the tip. These real-world math problems can be especially useful for kids who need an extra boost with academic math.

You can also purchase math workbooks or download math apps for your kids to work on. Completing just a few math problems every day can help your child maintain what they learned last year.

Encourage Daily Reading

According to, regular reading is important for preventing the loss of literacy skills. Encourage your child to read every day. Consider creating a short reading challenge for your child, keeping track of all the great books they read to see how many they can get through before school starts. Children tend to mirror what their parents do, so set a good example and pick up a book yourself. If your child struggles with reading, research cited by KQED suggests that audiobooks may be a beneficial alternative. Audiobooks can also introduce children to books above their reading level.

One good way to get your child to read is to give them a space that allows them to kick and relax. A spare room can easily become a sanctuary with some comfortable furniture and a few pillows, as well as some plants and an essential oils diffuser. Or, you could take things a few steps further and paint the walls and/or create a cozy reading nook.

Plan Educational Outings

Are you still trying to squeeze in as much family time as possible? Especially when you’re busy with work, this can be a bit of a challenge. One solution is to try and plan some educational adventures. Take your kids to places where they can learn new things or put their existing knowledge to the test. Factory tours, museums, medieval festivals, botanical gardens, zoos, aquariums, and planetariums are all excellent family field trips. If you don’t have a full day, take your kid to a playground where they can get some exercise and enjoy the benefits of free play. Engaging in free play helps kids develop a variety of skills, from decision-making to leadership. Play also helps children learn how to cope with challenges in an effective way.

School breaks are a great opportunity for children to expand on the things they learn in school, but sometimes life and activities get in the way. Your child still has time to do a little catching up before the first day of school arrives. Look to incorporate extra learning every day, whether it’s workbooks, educational programming, reading, or family outings. Every little bit helps and sets them up for success as they head back to school.

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