School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean handwriting has to halt! Summer learning loss or “the summer slide,” can happen when a child’s learning regresses over the summer months. It’s clear what kids need to be learning during the school year, but what should they be doing in the space between one grade and the next?
Besides spending some well-earned time at the pool, kids can be reinforcing the skills they learned during the year and preparing for the year ahead of them. Summertime skill building doesn’t have to be dry, so make a splash with these tips for play-and-learn activities!
- Work with what you have: Fun learning activities can be easily incorporated into playtime. At the pool? Help children retain the letter formation skills they learned during the school year by letting them trace letters in sunscreen. At the beach, trace letters in the sand or have children practice writing their name with seashells.
- Try a scavenger hunt: Rainy summer day? Have kids create a treasure hunt with a prize or a surprise at the end. Ask them to write out five or ten (depending on the child’s developmental level) clues on pieces of paper. If the child is younger, allow them to write simple clues that contain one or two words. Older children can write full sentence clues. Have the child write them in cursive for more advanced practice! When the children have finished writing, hide them around the house. Kids will be motivated to write by the excitement of discovering what’s at the end of the hunt.
- Write in a journal: Journaling is perfect for handwriting practice and has the added benefit of strengthening language arts skills. In the summer, children have more time to devote to using their imagination on paper. If children struggle for a topic to write about, choose a simple topic, such as a description of their favorite animal or a vacation they’ve recently taken. Draw and Write Notebook is an ideal journal for young letter learners who will do best with a combination of drawing and writing.
- Quiet time with apps: Learning apps can be a great way to balance outdoor activity with rest and quiet time. Instead of grabbing the iPad and putting on a movie, explore the Wet-Dry-Try app. It allows kids to be interactive and learn letter formation by tracing letters with their fingers.
- Practice cursive: Let children get their feet wet with cursive! For students that are ready to advance their skills, summer can be a good time to familiarize children with cursive letters to give them a head start in the fall. Letting a child hang up cursive wall cards in their bedroom or the playroom is a fun and easy way to introduce them to cursive formations. Learning cursive will be less intimidating for a child if they’ve already had some basic exposure to the cursive alphabet.