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United Way Offers Seven Ways to Avoid the ‘Summer Slide’

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Jun 23, 2017

School may be letting out, but the learning shouldn't stop. Many students lose months of learning over the summer - a phenomenon that has been dubbed the "Summer Slide."

1.Enroll children in fun summer classes and programs with educational activities. Boys and Girls Club offers affordable after school and summer programming in several Valley areas. Programming focuses on academics, healthy choices and having fun, while encouraging participants to be caring, responsible citizens. And the Valley's public libraries have a wide variety of activities to promote reading and learning during the summer months. Several local agencies will also host activities for Summer Learning Day on July 13. For tips on how to choose a summer care provider, visit our blog:

2. Keep kids active despite the summer heat. YMCA offers everything from fitness programming to childcare and overnight camps for kids across the Valley, all of which encourage teamwork development and physical fitness. ICan offers free youth programming in the East Valley, providing children with a safe place to go, and focusing on youth development, education, healthy lifestyles and job skills.

3. Get kids outside when it's not too hot. For example, The Phoenix Zoo offers children a summer of up-close animal encounters and hands-on-activities as well as art projects, games, nature play, hiking and more. To learn more about this program visit:

4. Keep kids reading throughout the summer. The Maricopa County Summer Reading Program encourages children to read at least 20 minutes a day and offers weekly prize drawings, challenges and badges for participants. Several other libraries across the Valley also have summer programs for students and kids of all ages. For more information on these programs, visit:

5. Challenge their minds with fun activities. Valley of the Sun United Way distributes School Readiness Kids across Maricopa County and offers them for sale on their website. They are designed to help children ages 3- to 5-years-old prepare for school with 80 different activities. For more information on how to obtain these kits, visit:

6. Expose them to culture. Phoenix Public Library and several other cities offer Culture Passes to check out, which allows two people free admission into a variety of Valley destinations, like the Desert Botanical Garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Phoenix Art Museum. Learn more:

7. Ensure children are eating nutritiously. If children aren't getting enough activity and exercise, obesity can set in. And for those families who are struggling to put food on the table, Summer Meal Locations ensure that children and teens ages 18 and younger who might not otherwise have access to meals over the summer, are able to have access to free meals at locations across the county. For more information on where to find summer meal locations, visit