Time away from school doesn’t necessarily mean that the learning has to stop. Here are some fun ways to stay motivated to study during the long summer break…
The impending summer break heralds’ holidays, enjoying the warm weather and much relaxing with friends and family. However, in between downtime and leisure activities it’s also important to keep your brain stimulated, so that you will be ready for the new academic term when study resumes.
Learning is a habit that should be practised and nurtured. In both US and UK educational settings research has shown that ‘summer learning loss’ is a real thing. Researchers who study education call this the ‘summer slide’ – the tendency for some students to ‘undo’ some of their academic gains when they’re no longer in a structured school setting, with the biggest losses seen in reading and maths.
However, summer doesn’t need to be a time when children fall behind in their academic development.
Importantly, cognitive motivation doesn’t have to involve formal learning and there are many fun activities that students can engage in over the summer break to exercise the brain:
- Summer reading – Bury your nose in a good book! Summer reading is essential to maintain and continue building reading skills. It is an easy and enjoyable way to continue maintaining learning while school is out. Reading also fosters socio-emotional development, increases a student’s knowledge base and enables them to lose themselves in the joy of storytelling.
- Keep a Journal – Document activities in a journal over the summer. As well as being a great tool to reduce stress, journaling will enhance critical thinking skills, boost emotional intelligence, inspire creativity, and help with achieving goals.
- Summer camps – What summer camps are operating in your area? Educational camps and structured social activities can build and develop life skills and introduce you to different people and places. Summer camps offer a wide range of sports to stay fit and active, as well as other activities including drama, dance, singing and arts and crafts
- Reflect on the academic year – Write on a piece of paper the answers to the following questions: What did I do well? What did I do not so well? What can I do differently?
- Set ‘learning self-improvement goals’ – Set goals for the coming academic year (based on the previous list) as well as during the holidays such as ‘number of books read’ or ‘pages written in your journal’, with a reward when you hit your target.
- Watch educational YouTube videos – In between your usual choice of viewing, slot in a few videos from fun educational resources such as MinutePhysics (all kinds of cool experiments), CrashCourse (all types of history, chemistry, astronomy and more) and AsapSCIENCE (wide-ranging science topics).
- Watch documentaries – If the TV’s on, make the switch to a documentary – not only will you gain knowledge, but this could inspire an interest that you never thought you’d have.
- Find a new hobby – This could be anything from drawing, cooking, or gardening to stargazing or making time for regular workouts… the choice is yours!
- Volunteer – Volunteering at your local community group or nearby charity is a valuable way to engage with your community and to also learn new skills.
- Visit museums – A trip to a museum will increase your knowledge and leave you feeling inspired. Even better, it’s usually free!
- Re-connect with friends and family members – If you didn’t get much time during the school term to spend time with certain family and/or friends make the most of your time and do that now. Plan activities together or simply meet up for a cuppa and catch up for an instant mood boost.
- Achieve an athletic goal – Improving your physical health will have a positive effect on your mental health. With more time on your hands over the holidays, why not work towards a specific physical goal of your choosing such as a 2-minute plank challenge, 50 push ups in one minute, or 50 squats a day?
Although some summer learning loss is unpreventable, these simple and enjoyable activities will ensure some solid steps are taken to keep your brain stimulated so that you are ready to engage with the new school year. All our staff and students have worked incredibly hard this year so enjoy the well-deserved break ahead!