Summer Do's and Dont's for Parents

Dear Teacher

Research tells us that children in grades K-12 are gaining more weight and falling further behind in learning during the summer months. So we’ve gathered up some ways to combat that problem. Here’s to a happy, healthy summer.

Do’s for a productive summer:

• Bring your children up to grade level in every subject through your efforts or outside help.

• Have a daily family reading half hour where everyone gathers and reads. No discussion is necessary. However, it can be fun if several family members read the same books and/or magazines and talk about them. Think of the different perspectives an article about Kim Kardashian in People magazine might solicit.

• Make summer a skill building time for such non-academic activities as sports, music, dance, cooking, knitting, photography, or whatever else interests your children. Gaining skills in any of these areas will help kids build confidence in their abilities. This is especially important if your children aren’t academic super-stars.

• Have a variety of family-oriented activities such as weekend hikes or biking outings, game nights, picnics, visits to historical sights and colleges, and attendance at sporting events and musical performances.

• Have daily household jobs for every child that contributes meaningfully to the running of the house.

Don’ts for a productive summer

• Let your children spend too much of their time on media entertainment, including TV, video games, Facebook, and Twitter.

• Let your children avoid fairly vigorous daily physical activity.

• Let your children eat a steady diet of unhealthy foods 




Find Appealing Summer Activities

I have three grandchildren, ages 10, 8 and 5. I would love to have some new activities for them to do, as I spend so much time with them during the summer. Do you know any online services that are both fun and educational? 

Many websites offer interesting summer activities. Visit, which allows children and adults to work together. The site has videos and instructions for projects, from origami to science to cooking and more.

The Lawrence Hall site ( has many experiments that may tie in with what your older children are doing at school. For example, your grandkids could compare the size of their ears or feet to those of many animals. We also offer academics that are fun on our website ( under “Learning Activities.”

 These at-home activities are one solution, but visiting places in your community can really widen your grandchildren’s knowledge of the world. Why not select one day a week and call it “Adventure Day?” Have a short adventure that ends with a picnic. Try paying a visit to your local fire station; check out the Cotton Museum or Davies Plantation; ride the trolley downtown; learn about animals at the zoo; drop in to the Pink Palace and see their astronomy shows. Time spent at a swimming pool, bowling alley, or miniature golf can even teach new skills. You’ll find many more ideas in our monthly calendar of events, both here and online at

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