If school is not out already for your sons, they (and you) are counting down the days until summer vacation begins. As you are locking in their schedules, don’t forget to make time for summer learning. As we’ve noted in previous posts, research indicates that children lose learning skills over the summer, and summer learning programs can not only stem that loss but can also have a significant positive effect on reading and math skills.

Looking for ways to incorporate learning into your son’s summer? Here are some suggestions:

Common Sense Media’s Digital Fun for Creative Kids: 100+ Summer Learning Ideas– Common Sense Media has created a guide to more than 100 apps, games, and websites to pique the interest of children from 2 to 17. You can find the guide here. Storytelling, Building, and Coding are just some of the categories you and your sons can explore here. While some of the digital media reviewed in this guide is free, much of it is not, and if it is not the site tells you where you can buy it. I loved reading about the coding games and apps. This is a skill we’d be wise to encourage our boys to acquire, and playing games seems like a fun way to do so.

KIDS: Summer Planning 2013–The State of Connecticut’s website for children includes a “Summer Planning Guide 2013”, found here, which is worth perusing. While many of the links on this site are most relevant for Connecticut residents, there are several links from which all parents can benefit. Clicking on the “Summer Fun” link will lead you to articles like “I’m Bored – Summer Tips for Parents” and “Summer Tips for Parents of Teens”. Click on “Summer Safety” and you will be led to “Summer Safety Tips for Parents”. The “Summer Reading” link offers book lists as well as “Summer Reading Tips for Parents”. Lots of good stuff here, worth taking the time to find it.

Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading: Barnes and Nobles offers a summer reading program for children which gives them the opportunity to earn a free book over the summer. All they have to do is read eight books, record them in the reading journal provided on their site, bring in the completed journal to their local Barnes and Nobles, and they can choose a free book from the Barnes and Noble Reading Journal list of books. Check out the details here or visit your local Barnes and Nobles for more info.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries: This site, found here, is chock full of reading activities, games, and crafts suggestions for toddlers through teens, courtesy of the New York State Library.

Summer Reading 2013: The New York Public Library system has compiled a lengthy list (in English and Spanish) of great books to read for everyone from babies to adults. Click on the list here.

We’ll keep looking for resources and will pass any we find along. Let us know if you find any good ones. Happy Beginning of Summer Vacation to us all!!!