Family engagement is defined as the inclusion of families in activities or programs that promote child development, learning, and wellness.1 During the school year, these family engagement activities may include parent-teacher conferences, progress reports, parent volunteer activities, input on school decision making, reinforcing skills from school at home, or collaboration between parents and teachers to determine methods to better meet the students’ needs.2 Family engagement is beneficial because it improves behavior, increases attendance, and increases achievement among children.3
Summer vacation is a period for children to relax and have fun. However, without proper family engagement at home children will suffer learning losses and will not be ready for the new school year.4 Incorporating activities into your summer schedule that utilize the skills and information the children learned at school ensures that they retain the information through the duration of summer vacation. 4 See a list below of some family-oriented activities for summer vacation.
- Play “I Spy” while at home or in the car.4 Have your children look for letters, shapes, patterns, or colors.4
- Make popsicles with your favorite fruits.4 Allow the children to use their math skills to count pieces of fruit and measure ingredients.4
- Make homemade ice cream.4 For an occasional sweet treat, make an individual serving of ice cream and teach children about the science of liquid changing to solid while the child watches the ice cream solidify.4
- Create a book club with friends and neighbors.5 Invite the children’s friends and neighbors their age as well as their parents to take part in this book club.5 It is a great way for children to maintain and improve their reading and comprehension skills as well as complete their summer reading assignment.5
- Plant a family garden in your backyard.4 Teach the children how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.4 Use planting the garden as an opportunity to provide some nutrition education.4
- Children’s Bureau. Family Engagement Inventory. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed March 1, 2022. definition – Family Engagement Inventory (childwelfare.gov).
- Jacques C, Villegas A. Strategies for Equitable Family Engagement. State Support Network. Published December 2018. Accessed March 1, 2022. Strategies for Equitable Family Engagement (ed.gov).
- Little P. Engaging Families in Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: A Review of the Research. The Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project. Accessed March 1, 2022. Engaging Families in Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: A Review of the Research | The Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project (expandinglearning.org).
- Turnbach S, Anderson K. Fun Ideas for Family Engagement: Summer. Maryland Families Engage. Accessed March 1, 2022. Fun Ideas for Family Engagement: Summer – MARYLAND FAMILIES ENGAGE.
- The Resource Lounge. Family Engagement Through Summer Learning. RGS Teachers Lounge. Accessed March 1, 2022. Family Engagement Through Summer Learning – Really Good Teachers™ Blog and Forum | A Really Good Stuff® Community.