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10 Summer Learning Activities

Published Jun 5, 2017 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

This summer, don't let your kids become victims of the dreaded summer slide. Use these 10 summer learning activities to keep kids' minds sharp and help them build new skills all summer long.

Summer is here and with it comes trips to the pool, family vacations, and a whole lot of rest and relaxation. The last thing most kids want to think about during the summer is learning. However, learning is as important during the summer as it is during the rest of the year. This summer, keep kids’ brains sharp by enjoying some fun learning activities.

1. Plan a Trip

Get kids to help plan the family vacation, or even a short staycation, this year. If you don’t already have a vacation destination in mind, have kids research possible locations or attractions. As you plan the trip, talk to kids about things like setting and sticking to a budget and mapping out the best route to get to your vacation destination. If you can’t afford to go on a real vacation, you can still let kids pretend money is no object as they plan the vacation of a lifetime.

2. Go on a Walk

Summer is known for warmer weather and sunny days, which makes it the perfect time to get outside and take a walk. Head to a local park or just walk around the neighborhood. As you walk, point out different people, places, and items in nature that you notice. You can even turn the walk into a scavenger hunt and make a list of objects for kids to search for.

3. Study the Stars

Since the weather is warmer and kids don’t have to get up early for school, summer is also the perfect time to stay up late and look at the sky. Grab a map of the constellations and see how many kids can find or try to catch a glimpse of a shooting star as it streaks across the sky.

4. Serve the Community

Kids can learn key character traits, such as the importance of being kind and putting others first. Use the summer as a chance to get kids involved in community service activities. Hold a food drive and donate the food to a local food bank, pick up trash at a park, visit a nursing home, or sign up to help at an animal shelter.

5. Practice Math at the Pool

The pool is a great place for swimming and working on your tan. It’s also a great place to practice math. Kids can use a stopwatch to see how fast their friends can swim across the pool or how long they can hold their breath under water. You can also take along different sizes of cups, buckets, and measuring cups and kids can see how much pool water can fit in each one. How many cups does it take to fill a bucket?

6. Visit a Museum or Factory

Use the summer as a chance to check out local museums or factories. Many town historical societies have museums with free or inexpensive admission fees. Factories often offer free tours too. If there aren’t any museums or factories nearby, you can find a lot of virtual tours online.

7. Learn from Online Lessons

Is there an area where kids need help or a particular topic they want to learn more about? If so, use the summer as a chance for them to explore their interests and improve their skills. Having kids complete online, self-paced lessons or watch educational videos helps ensure that any screen time kids enjoy during the summer is high-quality.

8. Plant and Maintain a Garden

If you live in a house with a yard, consider giving kids a small area to plant and maintain a garden. Kids can plant fruits, vegetables, or just pretty flowers. Older kids can research the best plants for your area and draw out a plan for the garden. You can even turn the garden into a science project and have kids determine how factors such as soil type and watering schedules affect the growth rates of plants. If you don’t have a yard, consider planting a small container garden indoors or on a patio.

9. Complete a Reading Challenge

Challenge kids to read a variety of books this summer by completing a summer reading challenge. Kids can try to read at least one book every week during summer vacation or read a book for every letter of the alphabet. You can also download and print a pre-made reading challenge for kids to complete.

10. Keep a Journal

At the end of every day, encourage kids to write down their adventures. Not only is keeping a journal a great way to help kids improve their writing skills, it’ll also make the “What I Did Over the Summer” essay easier to write when the school year starts again.

This summer, give kids a chance to relax, but also keep their brains sharp by filling their time off from school with learning activities. Don’t forget to throw in some summer activities that are just for fun to!

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