I gave my parents this list of ideas. All teachers know about the "summer slide". I actually experienced it with my kiddos this year. Since I moved up with a majority of them from Kinder to 1st, I knew precisely what their former teacher (me) had taught them. It was a little disheartening to see how much they had forgotten over the almost 3 months of vacation. Of course, kids need a break too-I'm not suggesting all work and no play; but here are some ideas for keeping those brains from turning to mush.
1) Start a Kids' Book Club-the student could run a book club with friends or cousins. The book could be read aloud and then discussed. Maybe even an activity to go along with it. They could read a story about camping and make s'mores. Or about Hawaii and make fruit kabobs-anything to keep them reading and make it fun.
2) Take regular trips to the library. I can still remember walking into my 1st public library as a kid and just being daunted by the amount of choices in stories. If they pick out the story themselves-it will be something more likely to keep their interest.
3) Practice measurement. My kids had so much trouble mastering this concept. When I am determining whether to measure in gallons or cups I picture a milk jug and the measuring cup. These kids just don't have that real world connection to measuring. Take a bucket of water or better yet a little plastic pool outside and give them a bunch of different containers to "play" with. Reviewing measurement and a way to keep cool!
4) Math is everywhere. If you are taking a drive-have them try to find a license plate where the numbers add up to 10. Or a sign with a certain number on it. At the grocery store have them pay attention to prices or count your change. Anything to keep those math skills fresh.
5) Take nature walks. Even if it's in the backyard. Give them a magnifying glass and a clipboard to record what they find. Let them discover that little world out there we take for granted.
6) Keep a journal. I have always been a list-maker. I still have a list I made in high school of "Things I Love". It's so interesting to go back and look at how my priorities have changed. Composition books are for sale at Wal-Mart and Target 2 for $1.00. Start them off with prompts to make lists: places I'd like to visit, things I love to do, my favorite foods, my favorite people, my favorite words, etc. They can also write letters in there to anyone-have them write to your dog, their siblings, anyone-sounding out the words to write, spelling words they know how to spell, will hone those language arts skills even more.
If you take some time every day to do something academic, I guarantee you that "summer slide" will be limited and they will begin the year with most of the same skills they had at the beginning of summer.