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6 Ideas to Prevent the Summer Slide

June 25, 2015

Summer is in full swing!  You had a chance to celebrate with your children with trips to the ice cream shop and a few splashes in the pool.  Then the reality of 10 weeks without formal education sets in.  The good news is that you use your family laptop, tablet, or smartphone to keep your kids academically strong during summer vacation. As a mom and a passionate tech-savvy educator, these are my top 6 tips.

Tip #1: Learn and Create on YouTube

My teacher friends with kids from age 11 up through high school age have told me they create their own YouTube channels with upbeat video podcasts like Kid President or how-to videos like Club Academia. I’ve seen kid-generated podcasts that are book or movie reviews, musical or dramatic performances, stop motion videos, and much more.  As they produce each episode in their summer series, they will use essential skills like brainstorming, drafting, and storyboarding. As a parent, you can set videos to private or unlisted if you have privacy concerns.

Tip #2: Create Video Stories

My children are even younger and aren’t quite ready for YouTube.  But they do love to create and illustrate stories and then narrate them with easy to use iPad apps like Educreations or ExplainEverything. The apps allow them to either draw their own images or take pictures of family events and create personalized accounts of what happened.  Kids are so proud to share these kinds of multimedia creations with relatives near and far and it is oh-so-fun to listen to their little voices telling stories in their own words.

Tip #3: Coding

You and your child can learn to code together with the Code Studio at Code.org.  There are a variety of ways to learn-- from 20-hour courses to activities that take 10 minutes or less.  Another option for younger kids is the Daisy the Dino app. The experts who design these games include university researchers, K-12 classroom teachers, and executives from companies like Google and Amazon.  They’ve done a fantastic job building engaging options for learning a skill that has become essential in schools and marketable in the workforce.

Tip #4: Read with an eLibrary

If you have a young reader check out EPIC! at getepic.com or get the app. It's like Netflix for children's books. My own children love it. If you happen to be a teacher, it's free! If not, there's a free trial period. For many of the books, kids can choose if they want to read or if they want to be read-to. They can also earn badges for reading achievements.

Tip #5: Measure, Cook, Yum!

Look up new recipes online and have kids execute the buying, measuring, and reading and following steps. My favorite free recipe app is the Allrecipes Dinner Spinner because of the fun way users can select recipes based on favorite ingredients.  Kids will learn about choosing healthy food.  Plus you get the added bonus of sneaking in some math through grocery budgets, measurement, temperature, and time. You might even get them to help out with meals and try new foods!

Tip #6: Keep Your Eyes Open

If you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @EdAppAdvice for lots of updates on new apps or great deals on tried and true educational games for kids. I’ve found quite a few for our family iPad.