How not to slip slide the summer away

A hacker sits with a laptop in his tent on July 30, 2013 in Noord-Scharwoude, The Netherlands, one day ahead of the Observe Hack Make (OHM2013) event. This five-day outdoor international camping festival for hackers, held every four years, will run until August 4 and will accommodate some three thousands visitors. 

The "summer slide," as it's known, is what happens when you let your child do exactly that: sit around, play video games, watch TV and generally not do much to keep up the brain action. The Department of Education estimates that, on average, the "slide" can set students back two months in reading and math.

Here are four ways to stem the slide:

1) Crack the code. Coding camp may be the next best thing to playing a video game. No tents or marshmallow-roasting here. These camps are pretty much indoors, and range from day programs to overnight options at universities to online camps. EdSurge has a good round-up.

2) Virtual summer camp. If lanyards and popsicle-stick sculpture are not your thing,the online DIY company Make Media has partnered with Google, for Makers Camp. The "camp" lets students collaborate on creative engineering projects and share them with other kids across the country, using Google+. Like most Google products, it's free - the only price is letting Google know what your kid is up to.

3) There’s an app for that. There's no mistaking these apps for what they are: school. There are apps to track reading, apps featuring math and science activities, and a whole lot of others to help kids boost their skills over the summer.

4) Go traditional. The Department of Education suggests some quaint alternatives to the digital world on its blog. Spending time at the library, volunteering at the local dog shelter or hospital, or making a summer reading list, with a reward for each book completed.

About the author

Dan Abendschein is the digital and data reporter on our LearningCurve team reporting on tech and education.

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