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10 Summer Activities to Keep Your Child's Mind Engaged

At JH Classical Academy we seek to instill in each of our students a love of reading to cultivate lifelong learning. Not only does reading give students an understanding of the world around them and glimpses into other worlds, but it has been proven to bolster cortical growth in children. Now that students are out of school for the summer, it is critically important to continue fostering the habit of reading and learning at home. 
According to a report from research scientists at Northwest Evaluation Association on the effects of COVID-related closures in schools, “without summer reading, students will only retain about 70% of their progress compared to a normal year, and math retention could regress half a year to a full year.” This learning loss is known in education circles as “the summer slide”. How can you mitigate this in your own children? It’s quite simple and includes engaging your child in reading and learning activities daily throughout the summer.

A report published in the BAOJ Journal of Neurology says that “children benefit from having books at home. A more learned home environment supports a child’s cognitive development and later wellbeing as adults.” So, go to the library with your child and let them pick out some books to have in the house! Studies have suggested that allowing your child to pick out their own books (within reason of course) furthers their desire to read as it is not seen as a school-related “requirement”.

And don’t discount the value of reading to your children. Sarah Mackenzie is the force behind the “Read Aloud Revival'' movement. On her website (www.readaloudrevival.com) and podcast by the same name, she shares a wealth of information and research on the benefits of listening to books read. Students of all ages who listen to books have higher writing and speech competencies. Hearing from a parent is always great, but audio books count, too, and there are some fantastically read books on Audible. Pick a great story, make a fort, fire up some twinkle lights and s’mores, and settle in for a family read-aloud! It will make for both magical memories and productive academic growth time. 

To give you some other ideas for growth-promoting summer activities, we asked our teachers for their top suggestions!

10 ideas from JH Classical teachers to keep students engaged through the summer:
  1. Read for at least 20 minutes every day. Click here to see JHCA’s recommended summer reading list. 
    1. Purchase a book from our shelf at Valley Bookstore, which includes titles from the reading list! 
    2. Check out a book from the Academy Library, open Thursday, July 8 (11am-1pm), Thursday, July 22 and Friday, August 6 (12pm-2pm).
  2. Practice math flash cards. Children should be practicing addition, subtraction, and multiplication for 5–10 minutes a day. 
  3. Play games with the family that focus on reading, phonics, spelling, and math. Some ideas include Scrabble, Bananagrams, Ticket to Ride, Connect Four, Rummikub, Yahtzee, Tenzi, and Sequence Numbers.
  4. Play chess. Graduating 3rd–6th graders should be playing chess every week. Email Coach Jay Stallings if you’d like to play online and forgot your login information.
  5. Practice writing out the alphabet in your neatest cursive, or “manuscript” for incoming first grade students.
  6. Practice identifying countries on printouts of blank maps to retain and learn new geography knowledge.
  7. Play the Latin games “Magistra Dicit” (a version of Simon Says, meaning “Teacher Says”) and “State” (a version of charades meaning “stand still”) with your friends and family. In the game State, the leader calls out Latin verbs and the students act them out until the leader calls out “State,” which basically means, “freeze!” Bonus: Label items in the house in Latin!
  8. Create an A–Z summer thankful list. Each day, every family member says what they are thankful for starting with a different letter each day. For example: A- air to breath, amazing parents, avocados. B- beach, baseball, beautiful sunset and so on. Write each list item down on a poster board. This helps with spelling, writing, and a thankful heart!
  9. Learn a new hymn or Bible verse as a family. Visit gettymusic.com/hymnsing for helpful tunes, lyrics to print out, and more. In the grammar stage of classical education, students learn through memorization and often through song. Learning a new song is a great way to exercise their memorization skills. Mrs. Patrick suggests Googling Steve Green and Hide Them In Your Heart for more ideas.
  10. Make an ice sculpture. Save used, funny-shaped food containers, fill with colored water, and freeze. Then, take outside, remove frozen shapes from containers, and build whatever you want out of them. For even more fun, float the giant colored ice cubes in the pool (we recommend using milk cartons as molds for this).

    Enjoy!
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Jackson Hole Classical Academy
P.O. Box 7466
Jackson, WY 83002
 
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(307) 690-8396
 
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