Labor Day is for play—and a little bit of playful, back-to-school work

Labor Day originated to pay tribute to the American worker. The long holiday weekend that has sprung up around it, has become a last hurrah for summer playtime, with many families hitting the road to squeeze in one more round of fun. With schools starting right before or after Labor Day, it’s a great idea to help kids make good use of travel times, wait times, and down times, and get a jump on making this school year a success!

Traveling moms and dads will definitely have lots of company. Caroline Hallemann, reporting for Town & Country, uses stats from Airlines for America (A4A), a trade organization, in predicting that 15.6 million passengers plan to fly over the 3-day weekend, a 4% increase over last year, largely the result of falling ticket prices. Similarly, with gas prices lower than in some recent years and holding fairly steady, the 2015 AAA estimate of more than 35 million Americans hitting the road over the long holiday weekend will surely climb even higher this year.

Before arriving at a vacation destination, or even afterwards in some cases, kids may want to simply be left alone to text until their thumbs grow numb or move up five levels in their favorite video game, but there are more productive ways to pass the time.

Elizabeth Burns, writing for Science Naturally, cites Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in suggesting that “students returning to school after a lengthy summer break will have lost one to three months’ worth of learning. Studies show that on average, teachers end up spending four to six weeks reteaching things their students learned during the previous school year.

Older kids will benefit from quick-to-download apps such as Multiplication & Division Flash Action App for iPad or Android or Fraction Attraction for iOS or Android, a math game app that lets players beat the clock and combines visual representation of fractions with the numeric form to lock in learning.

To make a giant difference in kindergartners’ and first-graders’ understanding of math, try the whimsical 320-page Giant Math Readiness, chockful of creative adventures that include Bedtime at the Zoo, Subtracting Ocean Friends, and Runaway Chicks.

For preschoolers through first graders, those just getting acclimated to school, the Little Scholar® learning tablet, designed specifically for this age group, is ideal for travel and comes preloaded with over 200 apps, videos, e-books, and songs. No Wi-Fi required, but it can also connect to Wi-Fi internet when available. A colorful, sturdy Little Scholar Protective carrying case is available to help protect it.

Not everyone in close quarters wants to hear each other’s games or music, so a pair of Little Scholar Kid-Safe Over-the-Ear quality stereo headphones can make road trips more enjoyable for everyone. One set, designed specifically for younger kids, is adorned with Charlie, everyone’s favorite golden retriever and star of the Charlie & Company preschool series that’s included on Little Scholar. Over-the-ear headphones customized for small and sensitive ears, they are comfortable and cushy, with padding for the head and ears. When not in use, they can be folded in at the hinges and stored in the drawstring bag.

As kids say good-bye to summer, help them greet a new school year with skills, enthusiasm, and confidence.