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Keeping Summer Fun

Jun 08, 2016 04:31AM ● Published by Family Features

Summer is here and that means it’s time for baseball games, barbecues, camping trips and other vacations. However, it’s also a time for continued learning, whether you’re staying at home or out on the go exploring your community and beyond.

Research shows that children who don’t read over the summer risk losing up to three months of important skills they obtained during the school year, and for students from economically disadvantaged communities, as many as 80 percent are at risk of falling behind academically.

“The summer learning slide is an issue for most children,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “To minimize learning loss, we have developed activities and booklists to inspire the imaginations of children of all ages this summer.”

Whether families are planning a staycation or a vacation to a far away destination, reading and sharing stories together is easier than ever. Always have a book, mobile phone or tablet handy for reading and use these activities to help your children thrive during the summer months.

In your own backyard
Staycations aren’t just for those on a limited budget; they provide an opportunity for the family to research and explore places in their neighborhoods. From a hike in a state park to a day at the county fair, there are lots of places to go near you.

  • Visit a museum or art gallery. When you get home, use sidewalk chalk to make your own mural or paint your own masterpiece.
  • Have a “book-nic.” Grab a blanket, snacks and books to celebrate a beautiful summer day together.
  • Plan a backyard camping trip for friends. List all the things you will need to survive the night outside, including a flashlight to read scary stories.
  • Visit the library and check out books about local birds or insects. Go on an adventure walk to see what ones you can find in your neighborhood.
  • Walk around your neighborhood and look at the houses. Draw pictures of your favorites and make up stories about someone who might be in them.

On the go
Vacations and adventures are filled with easy ways to expand your child’s mind, vocabulary and creative side. Be sure to talk about what you see, where you’re going and what you loved most about your trip.

  • Hit the library before you leave, or download 50 free e-books at RIF.org/50ebooks, to make sure everyone in the family has a book to enjoy during downtime.
  • Play the alphabet game and find objects beginning with letters from A-Z while traveling.
  • Browse online and look at maps together to identify where you will visit, how far you will travel and keep track of any must-see places or must-do activities along your route.
  • Write letters to friends and family. Tell them all about your adventures away from home.
  • Keep an explorer’s journal. Draw pictures of your favorite sites and keep notes about what you learned and how places differ from home.

For a full list of recommended books for children and downloadable summer-themed activities, visit rif.org/summer.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (children in car)

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