The dreaded summer slide doesn’t have to be a thing. And intense, boring reviews don’t have to be either. You can keep your kids learning all summer long… but in sneaky ways that feel more like fun than homework. Try these no-sweat summer learning activities to help your crew have fun and stay sharp all summer!
Local Reading Challenges
Tons of libraries have summer reading challenges for kids. They usually come with a fun chart to check off or put stickers on plus a few prizes once they’ve met their reading goals. Head to your local library to see if they’re offering anything this summer. If not, give the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge a try!
Family Field Trips
Odds are you have a few spots near your home that are loaded with fun learning opportunities. Think outside of the usual museum spots – kids can learn a ton by touring farms, gardens, factories, state capitols, historical sites, fire departments, etc. Local moms’ groups on social media are a great way to find out what’s available in your area!
The Great Outdoors
Hikes through natural areas provide a ton of opportunities to chat about plants, animals, ecosystems and conservation. Kids will develop a rich vocabulary and keep their science skills sharp. Resources like the Audobon Bird Guide, Picture Insect App or brochures from state and national parks can help you identify the critters you see on your hike!
Raise a Mini Chef
Cooking with a recipe helps kids learn to read and follow directions and sharpens math skills with a real-world use for fractions. Whip up some kid-friendly recipes together and be sure to explain why it’s called a quarter teaspoon or half cup. When you aren’t available to cook with them, a play kitchen is the perfect mess-free way for them to practice those skills alone. Just outfit their play kitchen with a few real measuring spoons and cups to beef up pretend play.
Did you know that constructive play (i.e. building things) is associated with improved math and reasoning skills? So while building bricks and blocks may not seem like much of a math review, all that building is helping their brains stay sharp.
Write Letters to Family Members
Hand-written letters to family members are a perfect learning activity for kids from preschool up! Writing about their favorite summer activities will help kids develop their storytelling skills, and reading and responding to their family members’ letters will help develop critical reading and thought. Even younger kiddoes who can’t write on their own yet will still benefit from the fine motor practice of signing their name!
Kids learn best through doing, especially if they feel real ownership over what they’re doing. Check to see if local animal shelters, community gardens, and food banks accept kid volunteers (Many do as long as they have adult supervision). They’ll develop critical listening and direction-following skills and learn about giving back to their community!
Learn with Movies
Even kids’ screen time can be leveraged for learning. Whenever your kiddos finish a movie, follow up with questions that will help them learn about the elements of a story. You can help them master vocab and concepts like antagonist, rising action, conflict, foreshadowing, and tons more!
So you see, learning during summer break can be fun! Engage your kids in rich, real-life experiences and provide plenty of fun reading opportunities. Talk about it all together, and you’re good to go!