Students who are not mentally stimulated while they’re away from school can suffer from “summer learning loss.” (Courtesy photo)

Keep kids engaged during the summer

Hard to believe it, but our school year has come to an end. But that doesn’t mean the learning stops. Some great learning can happen over the summer — and it’s easier than you think.

Read all about it
Do you have any Warriors fans at your house? Pick up some of the many Stephen Curry biographies at the public library in the youth section and leave them around the house. Kids are already interested in their heroes, so reading about them won’t feel like work.

Shadow day
If you head outside with your family for the day, explore the physics of shadows. Ask them to look at their shadows at different times of the day. Use a stick in the sand or chalk on a sidewalk to trace shadows to see how they shrink and grow with time. Kids are natural scientists, so I bet if you ask them why that’s happening, they will have fun figuring it out.

Who’s the boss?
Even with some restrictions lifted, it’s still important to save water. Visit www.sfwater.org for lots of simple, child-friendly ways to save water and electricity. Ask your child to look through these tips and be the energy manager around the house by teaching how to conserve — he or she can even make posters for the family about conservation.

Going away?
Let your kid get in on the planning by practicing how to use a map to find cities and tourist attractions. If you’re traveling by car, fill your kid in on the car’s gas mileage and then have your child figure out how many gallons of gas you’ll need to buy.

Find the triangles

When you’re out and about with your child, have everyone keep an eye out for shapes. You never know what you’ll find in the architecture at the airport, the shopping mall or even the grocery store. If your child likes to draw, have him or her bring along a sketchbook and draw the shapes.

The fact is, lots of children experience something called “summer learning loss” over the break, when they aren’t actively engaged in learning during the summer months. And when they return to school in the fall, they often have to play catch-up for weeks.

Keep showing your child that his or her education — even during summer break — is important to you. I can’t wait to see all our students back this fall and find out what they learned over the summer.

Find more summer learning options at GoKid.org’s website, sponsored by the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families: www.sfkids.org.

Richard Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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