In order to be competitive in tomorrow’s work force, our kids are going to need to be fluent in something that quite frankly may scare some of us who majored in English: STEM. In fact, by 2020 there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than students who can enter the labor force as skilled workers.  

Why does this matter if you have a six-year-old? Stay with us. We’re not suggesting that you put her on a rigid career path destined for computer programming. We ARE suggesting that you take advantage of her fascination with taking things apart and seeing how things work. Elementary and middle school are the perfect times to foster science, technology, education, and math skills. And summer is an ideal time to support your child’s exploration without the rigors of a school schedule.

Besides, summer brain drain is real, friends.

Skills and knowledge gained throughout the school year fade during the summer months.  According to Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels, loss of content retention begins within 24 to 48 hours of learning unless the new information is reinforced or applied immediately.  After a month without reinforcement, approximately 80 percent of what a student has recently learned can be lost.

That’s why Sylvan created (cool) STEM summer classes and camps, an amazing way to keep your kids’ academic skills fresh while they’re re-charging their school batteries. Focused on four key areas, your child can explore robotics, math concepts, coding, and engineering. Programs are designed for children in grades 1-8. The core of each program? Enthusiasm and hands-on discovery. Sylvan’s programs strive to build excitement about STEM (which, let’s be honest, some of us have trouble mustering when the annual Science Fair project instructions come home).

Kids in the Robotics Camps will build, program and animate a variety of robots using LEGO® bricks and award-winning software. Have a gamer on your hands? Kids in the coding camps use the coolest technology to design and create video games or animations, learning hot skills like coding and physics. Future engineers will love building moving machines out of LEGO® bricks or amazing structures out of K’NEX — learning concepts and problem solving skills fit for a real engineer— during engineering camp!

summer science at home

Can’t fit STEM camp or classes on your summer agenda? There are things you can do at home to give your kids a STEM boost, too.

Play Games: Many family games and puzzles are not only fun, but help children to develop and reinforce skills.   A simple card game can involve mathematics, analysis and logical thinking.  Be sure to select games appropriate for your child’s age level.

Help in the Kitchen: Helping mom or dad with grocery shopping develops opportunities to use math skills, such as making change, weighing fruits and vegetables, etc.  Providing assistance with cooking can also familiarize children with weights and measures, organization and planning and following a recipe.  Perhaps you and your children could make a special dessert for the whole family.  Help children pick a recipe, create an ingredients list and go shopping together.

Get Building: Doesn’t matter if it’s with candy, K’nex, Legos®, marshmallows, cardboard, or sand at the beach. Have your kids construct something! For older children, challenge them to build it so that is can hold something with weight on the top, for example a golf ball or a tennis ball. Put it through a wind test. Possibilities are endless!

about sylvan learning

With more than 35 years of experience and more than 750 locations throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of personal learning for students in grades K-12. Sylvan is transforming how students learn, inspiring them to succeed in school and in life. Sylvan’s proven tutoring approach blends amazing teachers with SylvanSync™ technology on the iPad® for an engaging learning experience. Sylvan also leads the way with Sylvan EDGE—STEM and accelerated courses and Sylvan Prep —college and test prep courses. Sylvan supports families through every stage of the academic journey. For more information, visit www.SylvanLearning.com or SylvanLearning.com/blog.