How to Keep Your Macomb County Child Engaged This Summer

Effective ways to keep your child’s mind engaged this summer. Dig into these tips from a literacy expert from Macomb Intermediate School District.

I always look forward to those final days of school, knowing that the long summer is ahead. It’s a time when my kids can relax and take a break from the rigorous academic schedule of the school year.

But when is summer too much of a good thing?

The extended break can lead to the “summer slide,” where students experience a significant loss in learning and academic skills. I wanted to find some fun ways Macomb County families can keep their kids engaged, so I reached out to May Manna-Denha, a literacy coach consultant at Macomb Intermediate School District.

She shared why it’s important to keep your child engaged during the summer — and some great tips for making it fun.

Understanding summer slide

Summer slide refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge that can occur when students take a long break from formal education.

Research supports this, says Manna-Denha. “It becomes much more challenging for students to catch up once they’ve fallen behind,” she explains. It’s essential for parents to find ways to keep their children’s brains active during the summer months.

Why summer learning matters

Manna-Denha emphasizes that keeping the brain engaged during summer is critical for maintaining learning momentum. “Continuous learning during summer helps children return to school more motivated, confident and ready to tackle new challenges,” she says.

This is especially important as students adjust to new grade levels, which often bring more advanced material and higher expectations.

So, how do you do it? We share some practical tips for keeping your child’s brain engine revving, even when they’re not in school.

1. Encourage reading and literacy

Reading is one of the simplest — and most effective — ways to keep a child’s mind active over the summer.

Reading never needs to end for kids, says Manna-Denha. “It helps build background knowledge and keeps children engaged, especially when they can choose books that interest them.”

Whether it’s a comic book or a novel, allowing children to pick their reading material makes them more inclined to read.

Reach out to your child’s teacher, your local library or the Macomb Intermediate School District site to find suggestions for summer reading for your child.

Bring reading into your family’s daily routines. For example, during grocery shopping, task your child with comparing prices per ounce on cereal boxes. This not only helps with math skills but also involves reading and comprehension. “Making learning part of everyday activities is a great way to keep it fun and interactive,” she adds.

2. Explore local summer camps and programs

Local summer camps offer a range of activities that can keep children engaged while preventing the summer slide.

“There are many camps available through local organizations that cater to various interests such as art, sports, nature, and STEM,” says Manna-Denha. These camps provide structured learning opportunities in a fun and social environment, helping children stay engaged and develop new skills.

Manna-Denha encourages parents to seek out local programs. Macomb County offers excellent resources for finding camps that suit your child’s interests. These programs can be a great way for children to learn and socialize outside the traditional classroom setting.

Macomb Community College offers engaging summer programs for kids as young as 4 and Macomb Family YMCA offers many options to keep kids’ minds active.

3. Make learning fun and interactive

For children who might be resistant to traditional learning activities, Manna-Denha recommends finding ways to make learning fun and engaging.

“Interactive and hands-on activities can make a big difference,” she says. For instance, gardening projects where children plant seeds and observe the growth process can teach them about science in a practical and engaging way.

Try mixing up “field trips” with at-home exploration. Virtual field trips are a great way to explore new topics. Many organizations offer virtual tours and activities that can keep children entertained while learning about different subjects. This can be particularly useful for children who are more inclined to spend time on digital devices.

Virtual Field Trips to Try This Summer

Strategies for overcoming resistance

Some kids resist even the mention of activities that can seem even remotely like school. Here, we share some tips for bringing even the most resistant kids into some summer learning.

Blend play with learning

  • “Find activities that your child enjoys and incorporate learning into them,” Manna-Denha suggests.
  • For example, if your child enjoys video games, look for educational games that can be both fun and informative. “It’s about finding the balance and making learning part of the activities they already love,” she adds.

Create a balanced schedule

  • Setting a balanced schedule that includes both free time and structured learning can help manage screen time and ensure that children remain engaged in educational activities.
  • “Parents can create a summer break study plan that includes designated times for different activities,” Manna-Denha suggests. This helps children understand the importance of balancing fun with educational pursuits. Involve your child in setting this schedule and come to an agreement on what makes sense for both of you.

Use rewards and incentives

  • Sometimes, a little motivation can go a long way. “Providing small rewards for completing learning tasks can be a great way to keep children motivated,” says Manna-Denha. This could be as simple as extra playtime or a small treat for finishing a book or completing a math exercise. The key is to make learning feel rewarding and fun.

Model lifelong learning in your home

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s summer learning. Manna-Denha emphasizes the importance of parental involvement, suggesting that parents take an active role in planning and participating in learning activities.

“Parents should find ways to incorporate educational activities into everyday life and encourage their children to explore new interests,” she says.

Find ways to bring other trusted adults on board. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other family members can help provide additional support and motivation for children, helping them stay on track and build confidence in their abilities. Or, seek out a mentoring program for your child.

“Every child needs a champion, and having a mentor can make a big difference in a child’s educational journey,” she says.

For more information on living and learning in Macomb County, visit Make Macomb Your Home. Find more articles like this at Metro Parent’s A Family Guide to Macomb County.

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Metro Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.

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