Summertime is the perfect opportunity to make memories with your loved ones and enjoy warm weather, summer camps, family vacations and other activities. As the song says, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

But if it’s too easy, your children’s minds may turn to mush. OK, not really. But, kids can lose some of the progress they made during the school year if they’re all play and no work. The trick is to make “work” feel like fun.

Here are some tips:

1

Set them up for summer reading.

Stock your children with books that don’t feel like homework but that will make them think on a much larger level. Together, explore your children’s interests and find books at your local library that feed those interests. A quick search by grade level and topic on Pinterest, Scholastic or Funbrain will result in a multitude of choices.

2

Encourage journaling.

Keeping a journal can be a fun way for your kids to document their summer activities and sharpen their writing skills. Give them ideas or question prompts for what to think and write about.

3

Capitalize on screen time.

Challenge your kids to tell you about what they’ve learned in the time they spent watching videos, listening to podcasts or reading online news.

4

Create a “matching agreement.”

For every hour spent in front of a screen (TV, video games, streaming services, etc.), have your children match that time with a learning activity. Encourage them to try math games on free sites such as Math Is Fun, Math Playground and Splash Math, or look for math games on the PBS Kids site. You may also find affordable or free summer programs at local churches or community centers.

5

Gamify learning with a rewards system.

Have your children set and track goals for themselves, such as the number of books read over the summer or the minutes spent on math tutorials. Then, agree on a fun reward for goals attained.

If you need more ideas to keep your kids engaged this summer, their teachers may be able to recommend a variety of activities you can try together at home. Have fun!

Dr. Pamela Roggeman serves as the academic dean for the University of Phoenix College of Education and has extensive experience designing curriculum and preparing teachers in a university setting.