Soleil Moon Frye Shares Tips for Avoiding the #SummerSlide

Lolli here…

Summer is officially here (or will be very soon) for most of us, and as wonderful as it is to let the kids spend all day playing outside, I am always concerned that the summer sun is going to suck everything that they’ve worked so hard to learn throughout the school year. Target’s Mom Ambassador Soleil Moon Frye (aka the former Punky Brewster) wants to make sure kids avoid the dreaded “Summer Slide.”

Soleil Moon Frye

As a child growing up in the 80s, I remember Soleil from the Punky Brewster series as well as one of my kids’ favorite shows, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, where she played Roxie King.

I was excited to have the chance to chat with Soleil the other day about the “Summer Slide.” We discussed ways to keep kids engaged in learning throughout the long break, her experiences with her own daughters and Target’s plans to help families keep the “Summer Slide” at bay.

I was just thrilled that she started off by calling me her hero. It totally made my day.

What are some of YOUR tips for keeping the kids engaged in learning activities throughout the summer months?


Win a $50 Target giftcard and 10 books!

Target is giving one 5 Minutes for Mom reader a $50 Target giftcard and 10 books (age-appropriate for your child). This sweepstakes is only open to U.S. residents 18 years or older and ends on 6/23/2012. Please note that they cannot ship the product to a P.O. Box. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Target provided me with the opportunity to interview Soleil Moon Frye, who is their Mom Ambassador. No compensation was received, but Target provided 5 Minutes for Mom with the giveaway package. The thoughts, excitement, and interview questions were my own. Infographic from Target’s blog, A Bullseye View.


  1. Jenny says

    Our kids love to read. They also have “homework” that they have to finish each week during the summer … a short poem to write, math races to complete, little things that don’t take much time but keep them thinking!

  2. says

    We are on a year-round school schedule so we are lucky enough that they don’t have a long summer of no school. But my kids love to read and visit educational websites ( is a great one for preschool/kindergarten kids!)

  3. Mary Happymommy says

    We go to the library a lot. We also make a trip to the dollar store in the beginning of summer to load up on workbooks, flashcards, and crafts that we use during the break.

  4. Anne Lehnick says

    My son is starting kindergarten this year, so we haven’t yet experienced this – and we read at bedtime all year right now. But my friends with older children have had the kids read books and write book reports throughout the summer. I think it’s a decent idea.

  5. Junglewife says

    I love the library. Checking out new books from the library to read aloud to my kids is a great way to keep their minds engaged!

  6. Michelle says

    Lots of library trips and fun ways to learn and explore, such as science experiments and cooking (of course my daughter reads and measures the ingredients).

  7. says

    We have a daily reading time. For an hour each day after lunch, it is quiet time and the kids read their favorite books. Also, I sign them up for every summer reading program I can find :)

  8. K.Pugh says

    Read to them, help early readers read with you, encourage the older kids to read aloud to everyone. In addition the local drug and department stores have great age appropriate work/activity books. I buy them quite frequently.
    Thanks for the chance.

  9. Linda Stewart says

    We keep our ‘home’ routine the same year round. The boys go to school/pre-school/daycare during the day. When we get home the oldest has his writing time and the younger two have book time. Then it’s outside to play until dinner. After dinner it’s baths, teeth, 30 minutes educational TV, story time, and bedtime. We keep this routine straight through the summer and it makes the transition back to the regular school season so much easier and they remember what they’ve learned.

  10. says

    My daughter and I read novels together, the whole family plays trivia games. We have to incorporate more math this year, I’m not sure how we are going to do that, maybe Khan Academy.

  11. says

    My daughter goes to school in the summer, too, so we don’t have to worry about it – it’s a little less structured, but she still learns and reads daily!

  12. Amanda Sakovitz says

    have a schedule! also maybe get your kids involved in a summer park program with other kids.

  13. Denise L says

    Visit museums, zoos, and historical sites in your area (and enroll in your library’s summer reading program). Make it fun!

  14. Stacey B says

    Make some time before bed to read at least one book, or if it’s a chapter book read 1 or 2 chapters every night before bed

  15. Sonya Morris says

    Our library always has a great reading program that has kids begging to go to the library for new books.

  16. says

    Provide learning experiences in whatever you are doing. We spent loads of time at the zoo, safari park, Sea World, museums, reading, even learning at the market about the foods we bought.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  17. Natalie S says

    Lots of fun educational trips to museums, library, park, etc. Also fun reading time at home and outdoor play!

  18. says

    We set reading goals for the summer and we apply school skills to real life. Like figuring out tax at a store or reading signs on a road trip.

  19. Steph says

    We are doing a lot of workbooks for the next greade level. Couple hours a day to prep for next year. Of course we play outside and inside, but I have to keep them fresh for the next year.

  20. says

    I’ve been going to the library practically every week, picking up books to read to my son. This is a great way to foster education and the love of reading. :)

  21. Jenn says

    We take advantage of the programs at the local library and we try to visit some of the historic places around here too!

  22. Margaret Smith says

    My son has a reading disablility and we make sure he reads throughout the summer. We reward him, by taking him fishing, swimming, movies, etc. and read the same book along with him. This really works wonderfully.

  23. Ashley Hatten says

    weekly trips to the library, & doing workbooks my sons teacher sent home with him for the summer.

  24. Meaghan F. says

    I don’t have children, but I babysit my nieces and we have it set that they have to read at least 45 minutes a day.

  25. Kayte CookWatts says

    Ask them questions about the world around them. Ask their opinion, or meanings of words you come across in daily life.

  26. says

    I believe that the “Summer Slide” is bull, so I’d let my kids enjoy summer vacation while they’re still young enough to have the summers off.

  27. Allison says

    When I was a kid, our library had this board game with prizes you would get to play based on the books you read. At the end of the summer, there was an auction where you could use points you earned.

  28. Stephanie V. says

    We go to the library twice a week, for storytime and to get new books to read. Also for the kids educational programs.

  29. Cynthia W says

    My tip is to plan a fun but educational activity once a week. Have the kids research the upcoming project on their own time.

  30. Kathlean Owens says

    Riddle scavenger hunts, play “Nature Bingo” while going for a hike in the mountains, Car ride math game (each person takes a turn saying a problem and the other answers it and then says another math problem. Extra good for those learning their times table.)

  31. Theresa Shafer says

    PBS has many good help to read programs like Between the Lions and Sesame Street. Also some DVDs are read along books for young adults. Read and then see the movie is a nice way to set up a discussion.

  32. Troy B says

    Field trips are some of the best ways to keep a child’s mind active and engaged while learning about the history of the country.

  33. kelly nicholson says

    Leave a comment below with your best summer-time tip for kids to avoid the “Summer Slide.”

    find something like baseball or anything,stay out of trouble

  34. alyce poalillo says

    Make learning less like “school” for them and more integrated in daily activities.Nature hikes and hands on museums, even trips to the beach can be learning activities in disguise

  35. says

    We visit the library on a weekly basis as well as go to their free programs. I also think fun field trips to museums and nature centers are great.

  36. patricia skinner says

    The library is a great way to avoid the summer slide. Reading opens up new worlds and ideas.

  37. alsvegas says


  38. Katie R says

    My best tip is to enroll them in a summer reading program at their local library. Our library rewards kids for reading with coupons for free food at local restaurants and other prizes.

  39. Laura Jacobson says

    We like to go to our Goodwill store once a week on half price day and pick out new books! Great prices on half price day!

  40. Theresa Jenkins says

    We start back in Aug.,with work books for an hr a day….and they have to read a chapter a day in any book they want

  41. Jennifer Marie says

    Let children pick their own books at the library so they are interested in what they are reading.

  42. Barbara Montag says

    The kids belong to a summer reading program at the library.
    They’re always excited about it.
    Thank you.

  43. Pauline Milner says

    Our kids love to learn so we provide them with educational activities throughout the Summer to keep their brains sharp. They can learn while having fun and they avoid long intervals in the Summer without education. Thanks for the great giveaway opportunity. ~Pauline

  44. Kathleen Downes says

    My son isn’t in school yet but I read to him and we play educational games on the computer as well as go to the library and museums.

  45. Jessie C. says

    We go to local library two or three time a day for story telling, reading and other fun activities.

  46. Kristi C says

    We go to the library often. The children are required to read at least 30 minutes a day. We also have random spelling test.

  47. Susan Ladd says

    I buy my kids fun books for during the summer months and they enjoy them. I want to thank you for this awesome sweep and hope to win :) Thanks and Happy Father’s Day !!!

  48. Stefanie G says

    I like to put the kids in ymca camps and make sure to always have plans for them so they don’t get bored!

  49. Patricia Crowley says

    We join the Summer Reading program at our library every year and set aside at least one day per week to go to the library to read!

  50. gina says

    Plan lots of educational fun field trips to museums, art galleries & the library. Make sure you encourage reading by letting them read books they enjoy.

  51. Jannie Bryant says

    Read often to your young child. It helps instill a love of reading and they will be happy to read in the summer.

  52. Amy Z says

    Spread activities out throughout the summer, rather than having all your fun in the first couple of weeks.

  53. says

    Spend time with them. That’s how I plan on keeping them engaged in learning. Anything we do together helps them learn. I’m pretty sure you have to always be observing things and talking about them for the kiddos to be learning alongside you.

    Oh…and a trip to some cool places (Mt. Rushmore, the zoo, etc) helps.

  54. says

    Read to your kids, run through math problems in the car. Keep a work book at home and in the car. Reward completion with a trip to the pool the movies, etc.

  55. Marla Bland says

    My best advice is to get involved in a summer reading program if possible or visit the library weekly. Also read together with your parents.

  56. Candice Hull says

    Though my kids are both still pretty young, we still like to incorporate learning in to everything we do. Even out walking around, we have them count things or try to name the animals and birds. When we go on trips, we like to go to at least one educational facility and try to learn the history of places we are seeing.

  57. Geoff K says

    Since lots of summer films are based on books, I make it a practice that we all have to read the novel before seeing the film – and we always have lots of books and games (especially word games like Scrabble) in the car and in the backyard to play.

  58. Crystal C says

    We go to museums, especially the museum of science in Boston, plus take part in our library’s summer reading program.

  59. Crystal F says

    Have books that they enjoy reading and find interesting. You can never have too many books. My girls also enjoy playing computer games that they learned about while still in school. thank you!

  60. Paula Tavernie says

    My kids love going to the library! We spend a few days a week there!
    ptavernie at yahoo dot com

  61. Nadine L says

    We are always a fan of the Summer Reading Program at the Library. The kids fill out a chart for each book they read and get a prize based on the number of books they read. It’s fun and keeps them interested.

  62. R Hicks says

    we encourage the kids to read books and take them to educational type tourist destinations

    brich22 at earthlink dot net

  63. Jill says

    We do a 1/2 hour reading time each day. If we are home, it’s in the afternoon. If not, it’s to bed a little early to get it in.

  64. Kathleen Fitzsimmons says

    We try to find fun activities to do and get them outside. We limit how much time they are allowed to play videogames

  65. Debbie C says

    Schedule several day trips to historical sites, museums and other fun but educational sites throughout the summer. Encourage the kids to research the destination before and after on the internet.


  66. Kim Smith says

    We do a weekly outing. It doesn’t hve to be expensive. I have found plenty of great outings to do for free in our city.

  67. jeni Lutz says

    i have a reading reward with my kids if they read 4 books in a month then they get to pick a place of there choice to do like hershey park the zoo its what they want to do alone with mommy for the day

  68. says

    We do the library’s reading program, write letters to pen pals and grandparents as writing practice, have workbooks, and go places that are educational and fun.

  69. shaunie says

    To avoid the “Summer Slide” you can read books that are fun and insert them throughout your schedule so it doesn’t seem like “school” or something they have to do

  70. clynsg says

    Let them pick a project that will involve using skills that they need to keep, such as some minor carpentry that will need a little math.

  71. Pauline M says

    For my kids, we visit our local goodwill store and pick out some of the funnest books we can find, then my kids will require an hour of reading to enjoy an hour at the pool!

  72. Debra F says

    I’m an English teacher so we are always reading, talking about what we are reading, visiting book stores and libraries….it is part of our lives.

  73. Leslie Luke Stanziani says

    We do book reports during the summer and read out loud in the van when we have errands to do.

  74. Britt Brill says

    Only allowing video games and apps that have an educational component… Such as reading a book via an app.

  75. Lindsey Garrison says

    Our library has a summer reading reward program where the kids can enroll and get rewarded for reading. We try to help encourage the girls to check out books and read with them. We also read books to them every night.

    Also, doing weekly activities together that they don’t realize that is fun and they can learn new things. It helps them not watch TV and stay active during the summer to learn.

  76. April V. says

    Reading themes and challenges. All family members choose a book in a loose theme (Pirates, Space, Animals) and get together once a day (week) to discuss what they like (or dislike) about the stories. Find common denominators (dialogue, atmosphere, geography). Challenge the kids to find two books they’ll like even when they are older.

    Go to the library often. Sit in there and read with them. Read along with whatever they are reading and mention the stories while out doing other things.

  77. Roxann says

    Make sure you are reading with/to your kids. The library usually has a summer program for kids. Just make sure to keep it fun. They won’t even realize they are learning.

  78. jenny says

    We join the summer reading program at the library which keeps the kids motivated to keep up with their reading. We also try to take in at least a couple of museum trips during the summer.

  79. says

    My husband and I like to make learning fun by randomly quizzing the kids throughout the day on math equations and spelling words. They actually love it!

  80. Alicia Zirjacks says

    We go on educational outing to zoos, nature walks etc…we also read a lot and continue learning

  81. lknott says

    Plan a trip to a local library. Even the babysitter can do if Mom and Dad are working! Plan a number of books they can bring home and make this a set day each week!!!!! Kids will love it plus gain responsibility please read!

  82. Mike S. says

    Make it interesting. Find out what the kid likes and get books on that subject and/or do things that are interesting to the child, not that are interesting to you. Make time to make it happen… ITS IMPORTANT!!!

  83. Sarah Lehan says

    All the libraries around here have summer reading programs with prizes.
    Thanks for the contest.

  84. Jennifer Reed says

    We continue to do educational activities like summer reading programs, educational games on computer, and some worksheets during the summer months.
    repose4jr at gmail dot com

  85. Betty Curran says

    We always found that a fun summer activity followed up with books about it helped them stay interested in reading.

  86. Vicki says

    Have a preschooler. She has her own library. Participates in story time at the library and the summer reading program. Almost everything we do is a learning experience, but we have fun doing it.

  87. Deborah M says

    We participate in special summer programs at our local library and museum and do a few pages a week from a math workbook.

  88. Patrice says

    Visit the library or book store frequently and let your children pick out the books that they want. Go on nature walks and learn about the various plants and animals that you see.

  89. Carrie says

    Turn every day activities into learning opportunities – bring measuring cups into the pool and talk about addition, subtraction, and fractions, look for animal tracks in the woods, read maps together on vacation…

  90. Courtnie says

    It’s important to go to the library, but also I thought the math statistic was surprising. Maybe we should have them practice math during the summer.

  91. Claire McKeon says

    We have a little book club where we make weekly trips to the library. During “bookclub” each kid shares what they read, and what the stories made them think about.

  92. says

    Make reading fun- we always used books as rewards, and had a nightly read-a-long, everything from Peter Pan when they were smaller to a horror trilogy when they were older. Take your cues from what they enjoy and figure as long as they are reading, it’s all good. Also, when traveling, have them read all the signs, the brochures for things to do, etc.

  93. melissa says

    we do the library where my kids pick books they want to read, And we also do the book contest that the library has and also what the store has.

  94. Sherrie says

    I keep them busy during the day to keep their minds stimulated i.e. parks, waterslides, kids museum, swimming, educational tours etc.

  95. Cee Love says

    Read together everyday. Even with older kids, you can have a reading session just read separate books.

  96. Charles Burbridge says

    Trips to the library. Even if the kids only check out a comic, or a DVD, or look at magazines, they’re in the library. Once they’re used to that, then have them read something before they get the next DVD, whether it be a magazine, or a comic, or yes, a book.

    Of course, this only works if TV isn’t a babysitter at your house. It’s a reward, not a pasttime.

  97. Peggy Rydzewski says

    When I have my grandson I show him so old time fun things.. His favorite is building a tent in the back yard..he plays for hours

  98. Charlene Kuser says

    I get my kids do do chores around the house and teach them as we go along.We make it into a game with charts and rewards earned.

  99. Jane H says

    we go on summer field trips to refresh what they already learned or prepare them for what they wil learn.

  100. Rachel Storey says

    I have a 14 year old son and a 12 year old nephew that spends most summer days at my house. Of course video games could consume every waking moment if I allowed it. And while I do give them their play time, I try to get them involved in the real world, too. Board games such as Scategories are a great way to engage other parts of their brains, as well as crossword puzzles. We also enjoy Geocaching, which gets us all off our bumbs and out into nature.

  101. Laurie Emerson says

    I take some of the school papers my daughter did and erase the answers. I then copy them and make them into a booklet. Each day they do a few of them to help her renumber what she did this year and be more prepared for the next year.
    lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

  102. destiny says

    Summer is time to have fun but taking trips to museums, local historical places and libraries are all fun ways to have an educational summer

  103. Beverly M says

    I hope the children have fun this summer with their family and friends and they also read lots of good books. Thanks for this contest!

  104. Danielle says

    Trips to do fun things. I also let them help me cook more often. They get to practice math skills and reading skills that way! They love spending more time helping me make food. Not to mention they eat more of it that way. Win-Win.

  105. Michelle C says

    We visit our local library and play educational games. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  106. heather c says

    Put a chart up for the kids AND YOU with goals for the summer of things to do daily, like reading, drawing, practicing music, etc. Gold stars, y’all!

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