SOURCE: Walmart

August 08, 2011 05:00 ET

Help Kids Make the Most of Their Free Time

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Aug 8, 2011) - (Family Features) Longer days, warmer weather, time off from school -- there's a lot for a kid to enjoy about summer. But for many young people across the country, summer is a time of struggle.

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) states that most students lose approximately two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. But for lower-income students, the loss is often greater. This achievement gap between higher- and lower-income youth can be attributed largely to access to summer learning opportunities and critical needs like healthy meals.

What You Can Do
Award-winning fashion designer Tina Knowles, mother of superstars Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, is working with Walmart to inspire others to help U.S. kids have a better summer.

"I am very passionate about supporting our youth. They are the future," said Knowles. "It's truly a blessing for me to work with Walmart on this wonderful project that contributes to nourishing young people's bodies and minds."

Knowles is partnering with Walmart through its Summer Giving campaign, which will provide $25 million in grants to organizations like the National Recreation and Park Association, YMCA of the USA and NSLA. The funds will give young people healthy meals through summer feeding programs, as well as access to summer learning programs and job opportunities.

Knowles, whose "Miss Tina" line of clothing is sold at select Walmart stores and on, has also shared tips for parents, grandparents and other caregivers, so they can help the kids in their care make the most of summertime and get a head start on their futures:

Help your family eat healthy. Cook with all the delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season. If you're having a hard time keeping up with summer demands, find a local summer feeding program in your neighborhood. Summer feeding sites feed children nutritious lunches while promoting fun outdoor activities.

Keep your kids learning throughout the summer. It is important to make reading, writing and math a part of their everyday activities.

  • Have kids keep a journal of their summer activities or write regular letters to friends and family.
  • Cooking together is a great way to incorporate math into the everyday routine. Talking to kids about units of measurement, asking them to help halve or double a recipe, even letting younger kids keep track of time are easy ways to develop math skills.

If you have older kids, help them get their first job. Summer jobs are a productive way to prepare our teens for their future, while keeping them busy and out of trouble.

  • Help them put together a resumé. They may not have much work experience, but they can describe their accomplishments and skills.
  • Encourage them to dress appropriately and to apply for jobs in person. Let them practice interviewing with you and help them develop questions for potential employers about the job for which they are applying.

You can learn more about Walmart's Summer Giving Campaign and other Walmart Foundation initiatives, and find a local volunteering opportunity at

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