How To Avoid The Summer Slide

17/08/2016 11:55 | Updated 18 August 2016

The school holidays are upon us - a time when children can enjoy the long break ahead of them. However, three quarters of parents* are worried that their children's academic abilities slip over the summer - in what is well known as the 'Summer Slide'.

But what do people mean by the 'Summer Slide'?

The summer holidays are a great time for families to spend time together, relax and experiences new things. However, it can also be a time when children forget some of the skills they have mastered at school. Not only are parents worried but research has shown** that at least two thirds of children fall behind in their learning over the summer, with children slipping back a worrying amount (up to a term) in their maths and English progress. This is referred to as 'summer slide'.

Summer should be a time for children to enjoy themselves and there are some great activities you can get them involved with that are both engaging and educational.

Visit your local library

Give your children the freedom to choose whatever books they like and to try lots of different genres without having to spend any money. Lots of libraries will have free activities for your children to get involved with, this summer they have a Roald Dahl themed reading challenge for your children to enjoy Check out your local council website for activities happening at your local library.

Make a scrapbook

Encourage your children to collect items when you are out and about, this could be anything to remind them of what they have done from tickets to museums, foreign coins to a leaf from the park. Let them take photos or draw pictures of what they are doing. Then create a scrapbook, your child can label items and write descriptions of what they have done. This is a lovely way to save some memories whilst doing some writing and recording.

Let's go to the movies

In a recent survey run by Explore Learning, watching TV came out as the most popular activity parents said their child wanted to do in the holidays. Why not read a book together that's inspired by a TV series or film and then watch it. A great discussion point would be if they thought the film was as good as the book or if they would have done anything differently if they were making the film version. They could even write a review of the book and the film - get them to look at some reviews in magazines, newspapers or online and then write their own.

Have a picnic

Make the most of any good weather and arrange to meet up with friends for a picnic, it's really important for children to keep interacting with others over the summer as they can learn so much through playing with others. You can also sneak some maths and English in to your preparations. Get your child to use times tables and addition when working out how many sandwiches, oranges, drinks etc you'll need to take. They could write a shopping list to work on their spellings then estimate how much they think the food will cost.


One of the most effective way to ensure your child stays ahead of the game is through tuition; just a few sessions throughout the summer can make all the difference. Explore runs free taster sessions so you and your child can see what it's like.

Telling the Time

Does your child constantly ask are we nearly their yet? When will my cousins be here? Or when are we going to the park? It's a great idea for them to wear a watch, then use their love of questioning to get them confident with time. For example 'Are we nearly their yet?' can be responded with 'we'll be there in half an hour. How many mins is that? What time will it be then?' etc.

Games and Apps

Spend some time together playing games to keep your child's mind active. There are so many great apps to keep your child engaged with learning so find one for an area your child needs to work on. Playing cards is a great way to work on maths and memory skills and new maths game Sumfun works on speed maths skills. Whilst games like Bananagrams, Boggle and Scrabble will help with spelling. If your child needs to work on verbal skills then Articulate for Kids and 5 Second Rule are great.

Have a fantastic summer!

*Explore Learning Research was a survey of 2000 parents of children aged 4 to 14, undertaken in May 2016 by MRS accredited research agent, Atomik Research

**Research; COOPER, H., NYE, B., CHARLTON, K. and GREATHOUSE, S. (1996). 'The effects of summer scores: a narrative and meta-analytic review', Review of Educational Research, 66, 227-68.