The lazy days of summer are here, but that doesn’t mean children should get too lazy with their academic skills. The “summer slide” is one of the main concerns parents and educators have about the long break from school. Students tend to forget the things they learned during the year and ditch the good academic habits that they built all year.

Keep your children reading!

Taking a break from school doesn’t mean your children should take a break from reading. Take them to the local library. Many libraries offer youth programs designed to pique a child’s curiosity and foster a love of reading. Many summer reading programs also offer incentives to children to visit the library every week and earn prizes based on how much they read.

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To really foster children’s love of reading, let your children choose something they are interested in and want to explore. Visit your local bookstores as they may also offer activities and events around “new releases” that are fun for kids of all ages.

Practice math facts!

Children should practice their math facts - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – all year long. Online websites and board games are fun ways to encourage children to exercise their brain. When you are out for a walk, count the trees you pass or the cracks in the sidewalks. Have your children add up their purchases at the store or snack shack or divide a cake into pieces and talk about fractions. Reinforce math skills in everyday activities.

Visit museum and historic places during your vacation

Make history come alive by visiting local, state, or national historical sites or museums in the area. Experience the age of the dinosaurs or the shaping of America. These trips encourage learning, interaction, and exercise. New Jersey is the crossroads of the American Revolution and there are many interesting sites to visit.

Research your vacation sites!

If you must plug into technology, take the opportunity to research the history of your next vacation spot.  Plan to visit some areas that bring the family together, promote exercise, and foster learning.

For children participating in summer program activities, have them keep a log or journal of their day and review it with them in the evenings or on the weekend.

Whatever you are doing this summer, you can help your child prevent the summer slide.