Keeping Kids Learning over the Summer with Summer Bridge Workbooks

Where did the time go? It's the end of July, and school is just around the corner. I'm a bit nervous at the thought of 3Po and Jammy entering kindergarten -- My babies! Will they miss me, being away from home for so long? Will they be ok in separate classrooms? and all that momma bear stuff -- but one thing I'm not worried about is whether they'll be able to keep up with their lessons.

They have been going to a very unstructured, play-based preschool for 2 years and I'll admit I was a bit freaked out when I realized in June that they didn't know the days of the week. But I think we've been pretty good about supplementing their play-based curriculum with more focused learning activities that build kindergarten readiness skills. Alfie has been helping them with their phonics at bedtime, they attended morning summer school for 4 weeks and I've bought some workbooks to keep them busy during the afternoon, and between those Alfie, the teacher and me, I think we've managed to keep their minds engaged and ready for the schoolyear.

So when I was invited to review publisher Carson-Dellosa's Summer Bridge workbook series, I gladly said yes. For one thing, I love their slogan, "School Stops for Summer, Learning Never Should". How true is that? I could so be BFF's with a company with that philosophy! And I'm always ready to try out activities that keep kids busy at home, for parents like me who can't afford summer camps throughout the summer.

The kids received their Summer Bridge activity workbooks about a month ago, and I'm happy to see that they've really been engaged. Like most activity workbooks, they feature grade-level-appropriate math and science activities that get progressively more challenging as the kids work through the book. They have a certificate that kids can write their names in when they complete the workbook. But these workbooks have some features that I've never seen in the other workbooks I've bought at our local Walgreen's or Target. To name a few:

* The workbooks span the whole summer -- they are divided into 3 sections that correspond to each month of summer vacation. Kids can do a little bit each day so they don't get workbook burnout and abandon it after a week. The instructions say to do 1 page a day but your child can take it at their own pace, really. Mine sometimes do 2 or 3 pages a day, leave the workbooks alone, then resume the activities a couple of days later.

* It's not just about academics. The workbooks have a huuuge bonus section with activities related to behavior, fitness, nutrition, manners, and more. Who wouldn't want a workbook that instructs you to rent the movie Toy Story or work on your confidence by cracking eggs?

* They've figured out that kids love writing out lists and checking items off a list. So they've got lists galore: summer reading lists. motivational calendars, activity lists, happiness lists, and skills lists.

* The workbooks feature lots of tips for help their child get the most out of the workbook, as well as other ways to keep them engaged throughout the summer.

The kids love doing their workbooks every day. They were a lifesaver last week when I went to Chicago and left Alfie with the kids. The only thing I regret about the Summer Bridge Activity workbooks is that we didn't receive them sooner!

I received free product samples for this review, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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