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Why Summer Learning is Important (and Doesn’t Have to be Boring!)

Summer vacation: a time for sun, fun, and – learning loss? Unfortunately, it’s true. Research shows that many students can lose significant academic ground over the summer. But what if we could flip the script? What if summer learning could be exciting and fun, something that kids wanted to do, like other summer activities? Game-based learning can help transform summer education from a chore to a choice. Get ready to discover how harnessing the power of play can keep kids engaged, motivated, and learning all summer long!

via Giphy

The Importance of Summer Learning

Research from the RAND Corporation shows that students can lose up to two months of learning over the summer, with low-income students being particularly vulnerable to this “summer slide.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. High-quality summer learning programs and at-home activities can not only prevent learning loss but help students make gains. The key is offering a blend of academic instruction and engaging, hands-on experiences. And that’s where game-based learning comes in.

Game-Based Learning in Summer Programs

For educators and school professionals, game-based learning is a powerful tool for creating effective and engaging summer programs. Educational video games can seamlessly integrate into traditional academic instruction or serve as standalone enrichment activities. They offer:

  • Opportunities for skill practice and content mastery in a fun, low-stakes environment
  • Instant feedback and personalized pacing to keep students challenged and motivated
  • Development of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and persistence skills
  • Increased student attendance and engagement, as learning feels like play

To incorporate game-based learning into your summer program, partner with a technology integrator or educational game studio to select high-quality games that align with your curriculum. Consider offering game design and coding workshops alongside gameplay to deepen the learning experience. And don’t forget to celebrate student achievements in the games to keep motivation high!

Game-Based Learning at Home

For parents, game-based learning is an excellent way to keep your child’s skills sharp and prevent the summer slide. Just like in formal summer learning settings, playing educational games at home is an active experience that feels more like play than work. Video games offer opportunities for children to explore new subjects and develop new skills in a way that aligns with their inherent interests and passions. Moreover, playing games together can be a fun, interactive way to bond with your child while supporting their learning journey. By making education enjoyable and accessible, game-based learning transforms the summer learning experience for kids and parents alike.

To make game-based learning a part of your child’s summer, look for high-quality games that align with their interests and academic needs. Set aside dedicated time for gameplay, and engage your child in discussions about what they’re learning. Celebrate their progress and achievements, just as you would their real-world successes.

High-Quality Educational Games

There are plenty of high-quality game-based learning experiences, for any age and any subject, that can be used in summer school programs or at home for summer learning. For example, ST Math is a visual math game developed by the MIND Research Institute. ST Math uses a visual, spatial approach to teach math concepts in a fun, challenging way. Students help JiJi the penguin overcome obstacles by solving math puzzles that get progressively more advanced. A study by WestEd found that using ST Math boosted math scores for low-income elementary students, with the greatest gains for those who started out struggling the most.

Another stellar educational game is Minecraft: Education Edition. This special version of the wildly popular sandbox game is designed for classroom use and includes features like lesson plans, assessments, and multiplayer collaboration. Minecraft is amazingly flexible and can be used to teach everything from history and science to art and language arts. Students can collaborate to recreate historical sites, engineer complex machines, write and perform stories, and much more.

A final example is our STEM sandbox game, RoboCo, a robot-building game that teaches engineering, coding, and problem-solving skills. Players design and build robots to solve challenging puzzles and explore a warehouse full of secrets. We designed RoboCo to empower players to learn by doing, experiment with wild ideas, and develop grit and persistence in the face of setbacks. Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend their summer making wacky robots?

Whether in a summer program or at home, the key is finding games that balance education and entertainment, encouraging reflection and discussion about the learning taking place. This summer, harness the power of game-based learning to make summer learning an adventure for all students. Whether you’re an educator creating an engaging summer program or a parent looking to prevent the summer slide, game-based learning can help you keep kids excited about learning all break long.

Ready to level up your summer learning with custom educational games? Contact us today to learn how we can help you create engaging, effective games tailored to your specific learning objectives. Our team of experts will work with you to craft immersive learning experiences that players will love. Let’s make this summer unforgettable!

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