How to keep up Math and Reading Skills over Summer Vacation

Ever wonder how to get smarter during summer break?  Summer vacation often makes it difficult to keep concepts alive.  However, parents can intervene.  If you want your children to grow smarter over summer vacation, use these three simple, fun techniques.


According to Ron Fairchild at Johns Hopkins University, children on average lose 2.6 months of grade level math equivalency over summer vacation without interventions. This is called summer learning loss.  However, this backspin can and should be prevented. 

Math Shopping

Adopt ways to incorporate math into daily family dialogues and activities.  For example, embed mathematics concepts into shopping trips.  Throughout the summer, include children in planning family meals.  Search together through recipe books or cooking apps for some new concoctions which your kids would like to prepare with you.  After choosing a recipe, discuss the amount of ingredients required for each meal and prepare a grocery list. 

At the store, have the child estimate the accumulating cost of the groceries and for an added bonus thought process.  Require them to stay within a fixed budget.  From start to finish, kids keep their mathematics skills fresh simply by having them plan, shop for, and prepare a meal.

Reading Enjoyment

Encourage reading at home over the summer.  To do this, establish a few times a week for “family reading time.”  If your children are young, devote this time for reading a book without pictures to them.  Doing so will help them increase their vocabulary as well as create happy memories as they bond with you.  Older children may prefer finding a book at the library related to their interests. 

Digital books are another avenue to capture youth’s interest over summer break.  These include free e-book classics similar to what kids read in middle school or high school.  These books are available at several locations, but the Gutenburg Project offers over 33,000 free e-books available for download to PC, iPad, or other book readers.

Vacation Videographer

Use summer trips to your advantage by having children create a documentary video. Technology engages youth by tapping their creativity.  Have kids research a vacation destination prior to your family vacation.  Gain their input by selecting at least one historical site to tour during the trip.  The children would digitally record themselves on location, teaching others about the location.

Upon returning home from vacation, children and parents could reflect on their vacation together while editing the videos and posting them on YouTube or Facebook for their family and friends to see.  This process would reinforce history, geography, and technology concepts prior to returning to school in the fall.

Regardless of how you choose to engage your children in academically creative projects over summer vacation, children will benefit.  Keeping their young minds actively engaged in math, reading, technology, or history will help maintain academic curiosity and will reinforce the notion that their caregivers also value learning.