Keep Your Twins Engaged in Learning This Summer

Don't Let Brain Drain Erode Their School Skills Over the Summer

school twins
Photo Getty Images / Digital Visition.

Ahhhh, summertime! It brings carefree days full of fun and play, but the time away from school can also bring about some unwanted consequences. As the weeks roll by, nearly all kids lose some of the skills and knowledge that they acquired in the previous school year. Greatschools.com reports that the average student loses two months' worth of grade-level math and reading skills over the summer. As a consequence, teachers have to spend the first weeks of the school season reviewing and refreshing skills from the previous year.

So what can busy parents of twins do to avoid the summer brain drain? Some fun and easy activities will go a long way to keeping your twins' brains engaged and active, so that they are ready to return to learning in the fall.

Keep Them Curious

Schedule outings to places and events that encourage creativity and a quest for knowledge. Children's museums, historical monuments, science centers, zoos and nature parks are all good starting places. But don't just show up and look around. Before you go, talk to your twins and generate a list of questions about what you'll see and do. Help them to develop curiosity about the people, places and things you'll encounter. That will give your visit a purpose and a plan. Capitalize on the natural competitiveness that exists between twins by seeing who can find answers first or who can collect the most new facts about your topic of study. This will also challenge your twins to do a little learning in the midst of enjoying the experience.

They'll have plenty of interesting stories to tell when they return to school and have to write that "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay!

Play School

One of the benefits of having multiples is that you have two or more children at the same developmental stage -- a built-in buddy. Use this to your advantage this summer.

Set up a mock schoolroom and play school. Assemble some basic school supplies and let your twins take turns being the teacher and the student. Workbooks are also readily available; select products that review material from the previous school year and introduce skills that your twins will encounter in the upcoming grade. Because this is "summer" school, keep things light and simple. Build in plenty of opportunities to reward productivity and good behavior, and don't forget to schedule recess and snack time!

Read, read, read!

Greatschools.com says that students who read outside of schools do better academically than those who don't. Use the summertime to read for fun. Become a regular at your local public library. It's free, it's usually air-conditioned, and it's full of resources. If you're lucky, you can even get two copies of the same books, to avoid the inevitable twin squabbles! Try these tips for reading with twins.

Consider starting a book club for your twins. With two same-age children, you've got a head start on forming a group.

All you need are a few other children and a good book to start a discussion. This summer will mark the fifth anniversary of the Mother/Daughter book club that I enjoy with my twins and their friends. This has been one of my favorite summertime traditions and I highly recommend it.

If your twins need a little extra incentive to read during the summer, there are numerous summer reading programs that can provide motivation and encouragement. Or, the inherent competitiveness between twins may provide all the motivation they need. Make it a game to see who can read the most.

With a little bit of creativity and planning, parents of twins can use the summer months to encourage learning in a fun way, avoiding summer "brain drain" and keeping their twins engaged in learning all year round.

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