This year seems to have seen a lot of kids fall behind in terms of academic progress, though exactly how great the learning loss was, is difficult to ascertain since a lot of school districts opted out of standardized testing this year. However early data indicates that it was significant (especially in math). Perhaps this was due to less instructional time, less personalized learning, greater absenteeism and for many families (particularly in the lower socio economic bracket), and a lack of access to technology, wifi and other learning resources. But perhaps it is also due to a lack of balance between the mind and body.
Professional Athletes have long valued the concept of optimizing the mind-body connection, but we don’t always talk about it in an education setting. But we should.
Everybody’s mental health and wellbeing (including that of our children) has been heavily taxed this year, and countless studies have shown that anxiety, depression, and stress overload are inhibitors to learning.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Amanda Hill from NBC Maine, about the issue of learning loss and summertime learning, and here’s what we had to say:
Airing on this link and on NBC Maine News Center at 7:00pm EST on Tuesday August 10th
By optimizing the mind-body connection, you can make learning a goal this summer. The trick is to find something your child is passionate about, and then leverage that to teach something! For example when my kids asked me if they could start a Youtube Kids channel, I agreed, as long as they first wrote a full business plan, with a story arc, and then recorded and edited their first 3 episodes. (They are still working on that!)
There are so many activities that require reading, writing, math and science, like cooking, counting, pointing out patterns, building or playing board games like Scrabble, Banangrams, Proof!, or Rummikub.
Some tips that might help you achieve that balance are:
- Keep it fun, and leverage whatever your child is passionate about!
- Timing matters! Consistent but quick activities will greatly develop skill (think 30 minutes every weekday!)
- Balance out screens and no screens, active with creative play!
- Keep a well-being centric approach! If your kids are fighting you on reading every day then don’t push it! You will only squelch their love of reading. Instead, use an activity that forces them to read (like cooking or watching the TV with no sound but subtitles!)
- Celebrate the micro-goals – you want to ensure that your child’s confidence is growing as they learn, so that they believe they can and will succeed.
Need help thinking of things to do? Below is a list of 50 amazing activities, tools, resources and just things to try with your child, so that summer break allows them to reset and refuel for the coming year!
|AllTrails App||Hiking App to show nearby trails and difficulty rating||7||Active|
|My Mama Says||Book series and arts-integrated social and emotional education curriculum that fosters a healthy relationship between kids and their emotions. It emphasizes that emotions are messengers that do not control us, and we do not control them!||PreK-4||creative/offscreen|
|Geocaching App||App that helps seek and hide containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world||6||Active|
|Bedtime Math||Interactive and Creative Math Stories to share before bed||3||Creative/Offscreen|
|Seek by iNaturalist||Image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi and participate in monthly observation challenges.||4||On screen/off screen|
|WURRLYedu||A music education platform that weaves social and emotional learning into musical skill development. Many of their resourecs can also be found on Flipgrid||5||creative/onscreen|
|Duolingo||App to learn a new language through earning badges and daily rewards||6||onscreen|
|NEO Kids||videos for a variety of different workouts for kids||5||Active|
|Cooking with Kids: Food Network||Recipes and Ideas to get kids engaged in the kitchen||4||Creative|
|Friendzy Snail Mail||Template and Creative Ways to write Physical Letters||6||offscreen|
|Audible Kids||App for Reading Audiobooks||4||offscreen|
|Storytime Anytime||YouTube Series of Stories being read aloud in creative animations||2-12||Onscreen|
|Brightly Storytime||YouTube Series of Author Read aloud stories||2-12||onscreen|
|The Moth||Engaging Events, Activities, Lessons, and Videos on Creative Storytelling||6||Creative/onscreen|
|Circletime||Subscription service that provides videos of Arts Based and STEAM focused activities led by an expert!||Under 10||onscreen|
|Beanstalk||Interactive Education Shows where Kids Online can talk with and lead the engaging show!||3-6||onscreen|
|Scratch or Scratch Jr||Where kids can learn to code in creative ways through games and characters||5||onscreen|
|Cool Math 4 Kids||Math and Games combined!||K-6th Grade||onscreen|
|All Kids Network||Resources for parents, teachers and anyone who works with children with thousands of fun kids activities like kids crafts, worksheets, coloring pages, printable mazes, dot to dot, hidden pictures and more.||4||creative/offscreen|
|EngiNerds||Guides for how to draw cartoons and create your very own comic book!||5||creative/offscreen|
|PBS Kids||Educational and Engaging Games with additional Parent Resources||4||onscreen|
|Disney Imagineering in a Box||Free Course, partnered with Khan Academy, that shows how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks. With Disney Imagineers, kids can complete project-based exercises to design a theme park of their very own.||6||creative/onscreen|
|KidStir Subscription Box||Monthly cooking kits that give recipes, grocery lists, supplies, and promote cooking with the family!||4-14||offscreen|
|KiwiCo||Variety of Monthly Science Kits & STEM Subscription Boxes||3-16+||offscreen|
|Genius Box||Bringing monthly boxes with hands-on learning science experiments!||8-12||offscreen|
|Green Kid Crafts||Monthly themed boxes arrive filled with 4-6 Science and Art projects plus a 12-page magazine||3-10+||offscreen|
|Prodigy||Kids explore the Prodigy Math Game world, where they answer math questions to complete epic quests and earn in-game rewards.||1st-8th||onscreen|
|Flipgrid||Flipgrid is a simple, free, and accessible video discussion experience for learners and families.||4||onscreen/creative|
|Sports Game||Find your local sports arena/stadium and take the kids out to a game to teach them more about numbers and statistics! If not, virtual options to watch games are available!||All Ages||offscreen/onscreen|
|Lemonade Day: Power of Entrepreneurship||Lemonade Day is a fun, experiential program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their very own business – a lemonade stand. Each year, in participating cities, youth have the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship by setting up their business during their city’s community-wide Lemonade Day.||7||creative|
|TIME for Kids||Educational Articles around a Variety of Topics||K-6||onscreen|
|The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources | MCN||Resources for In person and Online Museums||All Ages||onscreen|
|Crash Course||Crash Course is one of the best ways to educate yourself, your classmates, and your family on YouTube! From courses like Astronomy to US History and Anatomy & Physiology it’s got you covered with an awesome variety of AP high school curriculum topics.||K-12||onscreen|
|Circle Round : NPR||Creative story podcast that focuses on folktales from around the world and ends on a strong, important message.||5||offscreen|
|Podcasts | Brains On||Podcast around how things function in the world from a fun, hilarious, scientific viewpoint!||7||offscreen|
|Stories Podcast||Stories Podcast performs a new story every week, drawing from a variety of sources and a variety of styles. There are retellings of classics like Snow White, some folktales, and myths from around the world, as well as original stories.||All Ages||offscreen|
|National Geographic Kids||Videos and Games that educate about kids about animals in a fun and engagin way||All Ages||onscreen|
|Exploratorium The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception||Learn at Home Online Activities with a vast collection of experiments, resources, and online events to engage kids in the joys of science!||8-18||onscreen|
|iMovie||Turn videos into high quality movies through editing features, sounds, and more!||7||onscreen|
|Garageband||A fully equipped music creation studio right inside your Mac or iPhone. Perfect for song writing, recording or Podcasting!||4||onscreen / creative|
|Sesame Street||A hub filled with engaging videos, playful learning activities, and ways to help families stay physically and mentally healthy||2||onscreen|
|How Stuff Works||An education website that explains thousands of topics, ranging from the flu to black holes to conspiracy theories, with video and illustrations!||12||onscreen|
|Fun Brain||Online educational games for math, grammar, science, spelling, history and more||3||onscreen|
|Nick Jr||Preschool learning games and resources that feature characters from your favorite Nick Jr. shows!||3||onscreen|
|Scholastic||Fun magazine style learning games and other books and resources for kids of all ages!||3||onscreen|
|Proof!||Fun, fast-paced math game, where you make an equation, shout the result, show the proof and keep the cards!||9||offscreen|
|Rummikub||A tile based numbers game combining rummy with mahjong, requirng strategy and luck – also have Rummikub Jr for younger kids||8||offscreen|
|Scrabble||The original word game where you win points by spelling out words on a board||5||offscreen|
|Bananagrams||A fun and fast paced word game promoting literacy, includes a kids edition||7||offscreen|
|News-O-Matic||An educational resource for young readers, publishing interactive daily news content to teach 21st century skills||K-8||onscreen|