Summer Learning: Hands-on Experience


YouthQuest students better be prepared to get their hands dirty with various hands-on themes that will teach students math, language arts, science and social studies.

“We have seven different themes this summer that each site will choose from,” says Cheryl Adkins, program director for YouthQuest. “We want to make sure students are having fun along with continued learning to help beat the summer slide.”

The “summer slide” is what happens when learning is not extended throughout the summer months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, students lose up to two months of mathematical skills and two to three months in reading.

By participating in themed activities such as building erupting volcanos and using science to inflate balloons, students can build on concepts learned throughout the school year and make a bit of a mess as well.

Other themes YouthQuest sites will explore this summer include:

  • Camp Invention: Students will take their inventing skills outdoors. They will create solar prints using Legos, build their own woodland sun dial and learn about toy tinkering and inventing.
  • Animal Magic: After studying a variety of animals, students will choose characteristics of three different animals that relate to them. Then, using art materials, students will make an imaginary animal that is just like them.
  • Red Carpet: To develop confidence in public speaking, students will create productions that will be performed in front of others.

To extend students’ learning beyond YouthQuest and help beat the summer slide, families can use some of the following activities to keep youth engaged at home:

  1. Read with them: To help your child beat the summer reading loss, take them to the library. Help them pick out books that you can read together or that they can read alone.
  2. Encourage curiosity: A great way to keep the mind sharp and creativity flowing is to ask questions about what is around you. For example, when outdoors, ask about the flowers and plants that they can see. Then help them research different kinds of plants.
  3. Explore writing: Sharpen your students writing skills by giving your child a journal. If you attend an event like a family reunion or graduation party, take photos and let your child create captions for them.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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