How To Beat The Summer Slide

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As the school year comes to an end, you might be starting to think of ways to beat the summer slide and avoid learning loss. While it’s very important to allow your child a well-deserved summer break, it’s also crucial to make sure that the skills they’ve gained in the past school year are retained.

Summer learning has many benefits, and arguably the most important one is that it prevents regression and sets your child up for academic success in the new school year!

But before we dive into the fun stuff...

What is the summer slide?

The summer slide is a term used to describe the knowledge regression that can happen during the summer months when children don’t attend school or take a break from homeschool.

Summer learning loss can be managed by encouraging your child to try summer activities that incorporate academic skills. Below are some of the most effective (and fun!) summer learning activities you can use to beat the summer slide:

Children on a water slide.

Try summer reading challenges

Who doesn’t love some friendly competition? This learning activity is great to encourage your child to keep their reading skills on track, and provides them with a visual way of measuring their progress!

A summer reading challenge can be focused on:

  • The number of pages read per day
  • The number of books read during summer break
  • The number of audiobooks your child listened to while doing other activities or while travelling

Speaking of travel, this learning activity is an amazing way to spend quality time as a family while on the road, as you can encourage your child to read aloud while you drive, or listen to an audiobook together in the car!

And if you want your child to be motivated to complete a reading challenge, set up a reward system for every milestone they accomplish! For example, you can set rewards for 10, 50, and 100 pages read in a specific period of time.

You can also check out our summer reading program for fantastically fun summer learning!

Take a day trip to your local library or museum

Some summer days can’t be spent outdoors, so why not visit your local library or museum? This is an amazing summer learning activity if you’re looking to escape the heat (or the rain), and an awesome way to cultivate your child’s general knowledge.

Local libraries and museums are full of learning resources not only for your child, but for the whole family! This cultural trip will help you beat the summer slide, bond as a family, and even discover common interests.

Allow positive screen time

Screen time is inevitable during the summer months. While some view this as a negative, screen time can be extremely useful to prevent summer learning loss, as there are endless learning resources available online that can really help your child stay on track.

Summer learning programs are highly engaging, and have been created especially to beat knowledge regression, transforming screen time into positive learning time. For example, Night Zookeeper uses gamification to make learning fantastically fun for children!

Two children, using positive screen time to learn.

Create flashcards

Another way to beat the summer slide while learning on-the-go is by creating flashcards on topics your child struggles with and should work on over the summer break. These can include anything from sight words, to math concepts, or any other topic of your choice.

Flashcards are also very handy to take on vacation, as they don’t take up much space and can be pulled out in the car, on the plane, at a restaurant, or while you’re waiting in line to go on a ride!

Keep workbooks & worksheets handy

Inspiration strikes when you least expect it, so it’s important to encourage your child to put pen to paper whenever they express interest in doing so. Taking workbooks or worksheets to do as you travel can preserve your child’s academic skills, and help them pass the time.

We recommend taking coloring books for younger children, or children at pre-k/early years level. These are great for developing pre-writing skills, such as fine motor skills (like holding a pencil correctly), especially if your child is starting elementary school at the end of the summer break.

For older kids, we suggest taking a workbook or a few worksheets in your bag for unexpected free time, or as mentioned above, whenever your child expresses interest in learning. Using workbooks and worksheets during summer help children stay on track, consolidate the knowledge gained during the previous school year, and can even introduce them to new topics they’ll learn about in the new academic year!

Play games that stretch the mind

There are many ways to incorporate learning in your child's favorite games, to ensure that their skills are retained and even improved without making learning the main focus of this summer activity.

I Spy for example, is a summer fun staple - who doesn’t associate a family road trip with this game? Playing I Spy encourages children to observe the real world and learn to analyze their surroundings, but it’s also an effective summer learning activity! This classic game helps to develop descriptive and communication skills.

Write using creative writing prompts

Writing is one of the most challenging skills to master at elementary school level, and it can be easy to forget specific rules and principles over the summer break. While your child should still enjoy some free time ahead of the new school year, you can beat the summer learning slide by asking them to complete different summer writing prompts every once in a while.

These don’t have to be complex, or require your child to write hundreds of words in one go. They should be fun and exciting, in order to keep your child interested and motivated to write.

If your child is a visual learner, we recommend trying picture writing prompts, as they offer a great starting point when it comes to thinking of settings and characters. If you want to focus on keeping your child's writing skills on track for the next school year, you should try some elementary writing prompts for their grade level.


There are endless learning experiences to have during the summer break, and we guarantee that the activities suggested above will help your child beat the summer slide with ease. From cultural visits to long road trips, there’s always an opportunity to learn and ensure that your child’s academic skills remain in tip top shape for the year ahead!

How Night Zookeeper can help

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

If you’re looking for a summer learning program that is safe, exciting, and doesn’t feel like school, check out Night Zookeeper. Our award-winning content has been created by education experts to improve your child’s reading and writing skills in a fantastically fun way! The combination of bitesize learning games and challenges, with more in-depth lesson series make for the perfect summer learning resource for any parent trying to beat the summer slide.

Our summer learning program is very flexible, which makes it accessible to a lot more children worldwide. There are endless ways to shape your child’s summer learning experience in a way that is unique to their personal learning style. These include an adjustable difficulty feature, a simplified version for younger children, personalized feedback on all of your child’s work, and much more!

Sign up today to start the summer fun and get a 7-day free trial!

Got any questions about our program? Reach out to us at [email protected], or via our social media pages:

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