The summer slide is notorious among educators. It’s the learning loss some kids experience during the long summer break when they forget some of the things they learned during the previous school year.
Reading is a perfect way to keep the summer slide at bay. In fact, experts say just reading six books during the summer can help. So, be sure to head to your local public library this summer.
But, simply maintaining kids’ academic achievements shouldn’t be the only goal during summer vacation -- especially because there are a variety of free apps online that allow them to bone up on those math schools or learn a new skill, such as coding, this summer.
Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a massive free database of online courses in math, science and many other topics. Browse the site’s library to see all of the courses it offers -- from early math for young children to AP Physics and more. It’s a great way for kids to review material they learned the year before -- or gear up for what’s to come during the next school year. Also on Khan Academy: Pixar in a Box, a free storytelling course from the people behind kid-favorite movies such as “Inside Out, “Toy Story,” and “Monsters University.”
e-Learning: The global, nonprofit foundation aims to provide fun and free online learning for kids ages 5 to 12. You’ll find courses in math, science, health, environmental skills, reading and life skills. There’s also a great module for keyboarding -- an essential skill that kids, starting in fourth or fifth grade, need to master these days.
GCFLearnFree: From computer skills to reading, math and other subjects, the site offers more than 180 topics with more than 2,000 lessons, 800 videos and 55 interactives and games. Best of all, it’s free and you don’t even need to sign in to access the courses. Produced by the Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC Inc., programs include an internet safety course for kids, money basics, addition and subtraction, basic Spanish and reading activities.
Scratch: A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a free programming language where users can build their own interactive stories, games and animations, according to the website. What’s more, they can share it with others in an online community. It’s designed primarily for kids ages 8 to 16, but can be used by younger kids with the help of their parents. The site is incredibly user friendly and includes a step-by-step guide to get you started.
Code Studio: Part of Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, the site teaches kids, ages 4 to 18, all kinds of coding skills with courses and other activities, including some they can do offline. There are 20-hour courses to teach kids the fundamentals of computer science, along with shorter courses, games and even code art. Code.org also is behind the annual Hour of Code, which many kids participate in during the school year.
So, during the long summer months ahead of us, check out these free online sites with your kids. They might just have so much fun playing the games and completing the courses, they won’t even realize they’re learning essential skills at the same time.
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