The Summer Slide. There are many ways to tackle it to ensure your kids are prepped for the upcoming school year. SimplyFun Playologist Julie Harrison shares her tried and true method for getting her kids ready for the classroom.
Q. How old are your children and what grades will they be entering this school year?
A. My girls are ages seven (almost eight), going into 3rd grade, and age six, going into 1st grade.
Q. What types of play do you and your children engage in over the summer?
A. Our days typically start with art or imaginative play. We have been playing outside at the park or the pool and we play games in the late afternoon/evening to connect as a family.
Q. Is there a specific time in the summer that you begin focusing more on school readiness? If so, when?
A. I think it’s important to focus on school readiness throughout the whole summer in order to prevent the summer slide. I want my kids to go back to school without having to relearn what they learned last year and focus on building their education.
Q. What does your school readiness regimen include?
A. Reading every day is extremely important. We also use math workbooks and television programs that focus on geography on a regular basis. The summer is a great time to check out local museums to learn more about art, history and science, too!
Q. What SimplyFun games have you used in your school readiness program for your children?
A. I love SimplyFun games to enhance learning opportunities. Letter Slide, Clover Leap and Spell Trek are our favorites for language. Math Room, Whirly’s World and Hook ‘Em are the favorites for math. We’ve played Let’s Drive and Let’s Jet to learn more about geography, and Mirror Mansion to learn about the science of reflection. We also have fun with Bee Alert and Tar Trackers to sharpen memory skills.
Q. What are the results you have experienced by using SimplyFun games and play in general to help your children prepare for back to school?
A. My kids have really developed their social skills, especially winning and losing, by playing SimplyFun games. The games also reinforce the education that they’ve had and build on it in a fun way! Most importantly, though, is that we are connecting as a family on a daily basis.
Q. What is some advice you would give to other parents who are committed to preventing the summer slide and prepping for back to school?
A. My advice would be to enjoy the summer months and use SimplyFun games to “sneak” in some learning opportunities while developing better relationships with your kids.
Q. Are there any specific SimplyFun games that you recommend?
A. SimplyFun has fantastic games geared for different ages and levels of education. There are so many to choose from, whether it be math (Digger’s Garden Match, Math Room or Math’d Potatoes), language (Pass the Rooby Roo, Spell Trek or Get 4 & Score), science (Dinosaur Challenge, Kilter or Mirror Mansion) or geography (Global Ranking, Let’s Drive or Let’s Jet). Some great strategy games would include Bypass, Chess on the Loose and Trifusion. Summer is full of get-togethers and we like to play Eye to Eye, Qualities and Perspectives with the other adults.
Q. Any other information you would like to share?
A. In today’s society, I think it’s extremely important to connect with your kids on a daily basis and make sure that they don’t grow up staring at screens. I think that screens can take away from traditional play and forming relationships with others.
One Thanksgiving holiday while visiting family, I watched my dad and brother-in-law play Kilter with my kids and their cousins. It was such a delight watching them laugh and form better bonds while playing the game! The connections that are formed through game play are amazing, and important.
Do you have a method for preventing the summer slide? Share it in the comments below.
SimplyFun Playologist Julie Harrison lives in Redondo Beach, CA with her husband, Andrew and two daughters, Courtney and Amanda. When she’s not helping other families connect with SimplyFun games, she and her family enjoy playing, dancing and swimming.
It’s that time again! Summer is winding down, and you and your children are getting ready for the new school year. Your children’s summer may have included play dates, camp, and maybe a family vacation. Regardless of the type of summer activities your children experienced, transitioning back to school requires a dramatic shift in interests, focus, routines, and schedules.
It’s also beneficial to help your child review previous academic skills and foster interest in learning new skills while maintaining the fun of summer. One simple way is to play a wide variety of games a few weeks before school starts. Board and card games provide a fun way to re-introduce structured interaction, higher level thinking, and academic skills.
There are many reasons that games are useful in this way.
Playing both old and new games lets parents observe their child to see what skills have been retained and which ones may have suffered during the “summer slide.” Parents don’t have to become a teacher to help their child refresh skills. They can help their kids relearn skills by playing games that are related to the weak areas. Game play is an enjoyable way to reintroduce or reinforce learning. Make time for a game a day!
Playing games does not mean eliminating other types of play for the rest of the summer. Children still need time for open, fluid play with their siblings and friends. This type of play holds great value for developing independence, leadership, creative thinking, and functional problem solving. Encourage all types of play and add in structured skill-based games to help the transition to school.
About the Author
Dr. Toni Linder is a leader in the field of early childhood development and early childhood special education. She works with children of diverse backgrounds and ability levels, including children that are gifted and talented, who have disabilities or come from backgrounds of poverty, and those from multicultural backgrounds.
Exploring the world in fun ways is a mission in our home. Like all explorers, we require tools. And no, I’m not talking about maps, a compass or a computer. Our tools are games. When we play, we explore, we learn, and we have fun doing it! Here are some of the games in our exploration “tool box.”
How do you explore the world through play with board games at your house? Share your answer in the comments below, then check out even more games to add to your toolbox at simplyfun.com.
Michelle Sorrells has been a SimplyFun Playologist since March 2016. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband and two children, Zachary and Loralei. Their favorite pastime adventures are going to the movie theater and taking annual trips to Disney World. The Sorrells are also avid fans of “pajama days” where they stay home and play games, watch TV and rest, all while never getting changed out of our PJs.
I recently experienced an extra poignant Father’s Day as it was the first without my Pop. I thought of all the memories we made together. All those seemingly simple activities that ultimately shaped my life. One of my earliest memories is of him pushing me on a swing as we counted up to a hundred in English and then Spanish. Then there were the long, intricate car tracks we would build throughout the hallway and rooms of the house. He taught me to play pool, poker and backgammon. All games I still love playing today.
Another game we loved was ping-pong. He beat me at it for years until I finally triumphed at 15. That was one of those life lessons my Pop imparted. Namely, you can’t be proud of a victory if you didn’t earn it with effort. Obviously, the other lesson is that practice absolutely pays off!
I imagine all Dads and Granddads have great memories playing with the kids. Mine include teaching my daughter to ride a bike at the school down the block; holding hands as we jumped off a bridge into a pond at family summer camp; evening story telling events at the local library; and searching for all the constellations in the night sky.
There was that time when she caught a water snake when she was only 5 years old. We learned to surf together when she was a teenager. I taught her to play volleyball. We would stack rocks in the creek, make sand castles at the beach, and play all kinds of games and puzzles. Unsurprisingly, I’ve loved playing ping-pong, poker, backgammon and pool with her.
It’s possible that I have an endless supply of great memories made by playing together as a family. But, our playing together is so much more than memories.
It is how my wife and I have been able to pass on life skills like good decision-making, sportsmanship and practice, and values like effort, empathy and respect for others and the natural world. It’s how my daughter developed the confidence, creativity and passions to pursue her interests in Greek mythology (thanks constellations and library story telling!) and photojournalism (thanks water snakes, sand castles and family summer camp!) at college. Heck, I credit her rich play life as essential to getting into a wonderful college and adjusting so well her independence, even though she is 3,000 miles away.
When you wrap it all up, we love each other a little more every time we play together. That’s the best thing about playing with your kids or grandkids.
I hope all Dads, Moms, Grandmas and Grandpas have a great summer of play.
About the Author
For over 20 years, Matt Brown has been leading high-performing teams to develop vibrant business cultures, invent and launch high-impact branded platforms, and turn around underperforming brands and businesses. Matt consults with Fortune 500 and early stage companies, usually working with the C-suite. He also co-founded a couple of companies including big BOING, an integrated strategy, innovation and development company that partnered with Kraft, Disney, Coca Cola, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Learning Curve and others to invent, design and launch (or completely overhaul) major domestic and international brands.
Ever considered hosting a SimplyFun Laugh & Learn? Get your friends together, grab a snack, and play like kids again. This summer, host a Laugh & Learn and we’ll bring the FUN. Here’s how to get started …
Be sure to check out our host rewards program and create your wish list.