This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Costco Box Tops and Acorn Influence.
Can you believe that we're starting to talk about the kids going back to school already? My kids go back in mid-August so the first day of school really is coming up fast.
How have your kids been doing this summer? Having fun, swimming, maybe going to summer camp?
Summer vacation is supposed to be a time to unwind, take a break, and enjoy the warm weather. Unfortunately, for many kids, this also means they start to forget some of the things that they learned in the previous year. This is called the summer slide. Part of making sure your kids are ready to head back to school is to help them retain all of the knowledge they learned the year before.
Don't worry, you don't have to practically homeschool your children all summer to avoid this. There are many things you can do with your children either one-on-one or as a family that will help them continue learning. This isn't just for the summer, either. All year long you can use some or all of these tips to keep them learning throughout the school year, too.
Learning can be fun and it can happen without your kids even knowing.
FUN WAYS TO GET READY TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
For us, this is the most important thing we do to help prevent summer slide. We are big readers in our family so this isn't even a chore for us, but I realize there are people out there who don't enjoy reading as much as we do. The biggest key to get your kids reading is to make it fun!
If your kids don't love books, maybe they will enjoy comics or graphic novels. Even audiobooks can help. Research says that kids only need to read six books over the summer to prevent summer slide, so make that your goal and if you read more than that, great!
Visit the library
The library is a lot of fun and you don't even have to check out any books. Younger kids will love playing with the toys in the children's section or playing educational games on the computer. Maybe even go in for story time. Being read to is also highly beneficial.
Educational games and apps
Just because something is on an electronic device doesn't mean it isn't helpful in teaching your children new skills. We have several LeapFrog products and games in our house and I know they have helped my son get ready for and excel in Kindergarten and beyond. If you don't have a LeapPad or similar device, there are plenty of phone apps available for learning.
Math flash cards
I know, I know. This doesn't sound like much fun, does it? If you approach it like a chore then no, it won't be fun at all. If you approach it as something fun and make a game out of it, your kids will be much more receptive to the idea.
Same as above. It's all about the approach. My six-year-old son loves to do things that make him feel like a big kid so treat workbooks as a big kid activity. We also don't make him work in them, but they are available if he wants to. There are plenty of other ways he's learning so we don't make it a big deal. It's summer. It's time to be relaxed, right?
Visit museums, zoos, and aquariums
There is so much learning to be had from a fun visit to a museum or aquarium. This summer we have taken the kids to the science and natural history museum as well as a western art museum. To my surprise, my kids both loved the art museum more than I thought they would. So even if you think your kids may not enjoy it, give it a try. They just might surprise you!
Zoos and animal parks are also a great place to learn about animals and the world around us. Hands-on learning is the best kind of learning if you ask me!
Go on vacations and road trips
Even if you can't go on a vacation to another state or country, even going on a small road trip a few towns away has great benefits. Kids learn so much about the world around them through travel and exploration. I'm sure you can find a town near home that you haven't been to before or even explore new places in your own town. Travel experiences will not only help prevent summer slide, it will give your kids lasting memories.
Keep a summer journal
Have you taken any trips or have your kids gone to summer camp? Maybe they have played a summer sport? There is plenty for your kids to write about in a summer journal. If your kids aren't old enough to write well yet or just don't like to, have them draw pictures about their summer. It will be fun and it will be a nice keepsake for you to look back on in the years to come.
Play board games
Learning through games is a fun and sneaky way to keep your kids learning throughout the school year. Even simple family board games help your kids with reading, math, sharing, and taking turns. These are all valuable lessons that they won't even know they're learning.
My youngest son loves to help us in the kitchen. These are life skills that they will need to know, so why not start early? They can learn measurements and even chemistry, especially if they help you bake.
Help your school with Costco Box Tops
Now that your kids have kept their heads full of knowledge and have learned new things, it's time to get ready to go back to school. Help your kids learn all year long not only at home but by helping to get money for their school through the Costco Box Tops program. Buy specially marked products that you already shop for regularly, clip the box tops, and send them in. Each box top is worth ten cents and checks will then be sent to your child's school twice a year. It's just that easy and doesn't cost your family a penny more to help your school.
Box Tops sweepstakes
Now there is even more incentive! Enter the Costco Box Tops for Education for the chance to win $3000 and 100 box tops for your child's school. Here's how to enter:
- Take a photo about how Box Tops for Education inspires imagination in your kid
- Preferred ways of entry: Instagram or Twitter
- Can upload to microsite as well but is not the preferred way of entry
- Follow @BTFE on Twitter or Instagram (this is how winner will be notified so must follow this handle)
- Share and use hashtag: #InspireContest
- Prize: 3,000 Costco members will win. Each winner will win 100 Box Tops for their school
- Sweeps will not include/do not engage in e-box tops
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 9/30/17. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions visit www.costcobtfe.com. Void where prohibited by law. Use of “#InspireContest” when posting entry constitutes entrant’s agreement to Official Rules. Sponsor: General Mills.
Each box top is worth 10 cents to redeeming school when clipped from box tops products and sent to the redeeming school. Only BTFE registered schools can redeem box tops. Limit $20,000 per school per year for box tops redeemed through the clip program. See www.boxtopsforeducation.comfor program details.