Every teacher fears it: The Dreaded Summer Slide. It is well-documented that children can lose many of their gains in reading and math during the long summer months off of school. (See the “Did You Know?” section.) There are many great ideas out there to help students retain their knowledge and skills. The Daily 7 is something we came up with to do just that.
Where it Came From
At the beginning of the summer, I came up with seven activities that I felt would help my kids incorporate balance into their summer and keep their minds active. During the school year, my kids enjoyed using the Daily 5 in class to work on their literacy skills. So when I introduced our summer plan as the “Daily 7,” they were immediately excited about it.
How it Works
Each of my kids had a chart with a checklist of the Daily 7 activities, some other reminders, and a calendar. Feel free to use this Free Color Printable of our Daily 7 or this Free Black and White Printable of our Daily 7. We used packing tape to cover the portion of the chart containing the checklist. (Alternately you could laminate the whole paper or put it in a page protector. Tape was cost-effective for us.) This allows the checklist to be reusable. Dry erase markers are also more fun for kids (and adults!) to use than regular paper and pencil.
Each day the kids would check-off the activities they accomplished. If they completed all 7 activities, they got to put a sticker on the calendar. We decided to not do the Daily 7 on Sundays and out-of-town days, but we used other activities to keep reading and mentally active. We also agreed that if we had a busy planned day, the kids could “make-up” the activities on another day and still get a sticker.
For my kids this summer, trying to fill their calendar with stickers was motivating enough. However, I have a friend who uses a similar system and the kids earn screen time as they complete the activities. You could also award small prizes for completion or have reward levels depending on how many times the list is completed. You can adjust the activities you want your kids to do using this Free Printable Template for Daily Activities.
The Daily 7 Activities
- Read Scriptures
- We read and discuss scriptures together as a family almost every day. The older kids are encouraged to read on their own sometimes as well. I haven’t found a better way to help us consistently learn about the most important things in life.
- At Least One Helper Job or Service
- Read Scriptures
- Sometimes the kids chose what that helper job or service was, and sometimes I did. It ranged from folding laundry or making someone else’s beds to doorbell ditching a friend with cookies. (See here for why we call them Helper Jobs and our approach to teaching kids to work.)
- Practice Piano
- My six and eight-year-old both take lessons from me, although we took some weeks off of lessons in the summer. My four-year-old was excited to have the same list as the big kids, so he spent some fun time at the piano making up songs or playing simple ditties.
- Read for 20 Minutes
- Read to yourself or to someone else, or be read to.
- Write, Do Math, or Complete a Workbook Page
- The kids cycled through these three activities. Writing and math both had a lot of freedom to them. Writing activities included making up stories, writing in their journals, writing letters, and practicing writing spelling words. The favorite math activities were answering story problems created by mom (especially Harry Potter themed problems for my slightly obsessed eight-year-old 🙂 and math games on the computer.
- Physical Exercise for 20 Minutes
- Exercise activities included running around the house, making up your own exercises, doing Go Noodle, a family run when Uncle Scott came to town, playing soccer, riding bikes, and more.
- Clean Bedroom
- How does it get so messy everyday? 🙂