Learning Doesn’t Have To Pause During Summer
School is out for the summer! It’s 8 weeks of glorious time to rest, relax and enjoy all the wonderful activities of summer we miss during the school year. Summer is the perfect time for playing outside, running in the sprinklers, and enjoying time friends and family and having cookouts and barbeques.
Summer is a valuable time to continue activities that enhance your child’s learning and knowledge, review subjects that were not covered in school or provide extra instruction in a subject that your child needs extra help. All children will benefit from a summer of learning.
Remember, the brain is like a muscle. Our ability to learn and remember will be better if we strengthen the muscle every day. School will be more beneficial in the fall if we help our children continue actively learning all summer. Sure, it’s okay to relax during the summer and play more (even enjoy a video games if that’s fun), but also important to balance the non-learning activities by mixing in a few active learning times each week too.
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5 Activities for Active Summer of Learning
Plan Theme Days
I am borrowing this idea from summer camp. Every day at camp they have a “theme day”. One day is craft day, one day is cooking day, one day is field trips, one day is water day and so on. You can use the same idea to keep your children actively learning all summer.
Plan your weekdays based on themes. Monday could be science day, Tuesday could be math day, Wednesday could be bookworm Wednesday. Choose 4 or 5 themes you can follow each week. Plan an activity based on the daily theme that also includes a learning objective.
Study Subjects Where Your Child Needs Extra Help
Since most schools no longer teach math facts and math facts are a strong foundation to any math knowledge, memorizing math facts are a must. You can simply review several math fact charts every day (but this is boring), and not always effective.
You can use flash cards, like this set from Spectrum, this set includes all math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), telling time, and factions.
If your child likes to write their math facts, try a website like www.math-drills.com. They offer a variety of worksheets and drill charts to help your child learn their math facts.
Spelling is another subject that leaves many children challenged all through their school years. Summer is a great time to review phonics or complete a spelling program.
If your child struggles with spelling, I recommend Spelling Power. This spelling program will help your child improve their spelling starting from about 3rd grade through 12th grade all in one book. My son struggles with spelling, I have used this book to supplement his learning during the school year and summer break.
If your child likes to practice spelling on the computer, Spelling City offers some great spelling games to practice spelling words. You can use lists already created by Spelling City or create your own list.
Do a Reading Challenge
Give your child a reading challenge this summer. Encourage them to find fiction or non-fiction books on a topic they enjoy and read just for fun. Yes, I said read just for fun.
Barnes and Noble offers a reading challenge that when completed your child earns a free book (details here).
Scholastic is challenging children to read as many minutes as possible. Sign-up here.
Your could also design your own summer reading challenge specific for your child and offer a special reward or incentive for completing the challenge by the end of summer.
Learn and Study New Material
Summer is a great time to study and learn new material. For example, you could study the writing of the United States Constitution and how the Founders debated the many forms of government.
If your child enjoys science, why not do one or two big science projects over the summer. Try to think of projects that could incorporate materials learned during the last school year or that will build new knowledge.
This summer, I am planning to review the Core Knowledge Series for Kindergarten through 6th grade with my children. These books give a solid foundation of knowledge all children should learn at each grade level and provide enough information for a good summer review (they provide highlights and key concepts, they are not a full curriculum). These books are an overview you could use for basic study or guideline for more in-depth studies.
- What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know (Revised and updated): Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning (Core Knowledge Series)
- What Your First Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)
- What Your Second Grader Needs to Know (Revised and Updated): Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)
- What Your Third Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Third-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)
- What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of A Good Fourth-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)
- What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education
- What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Sixth-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)
Visit Local Museums, Zoos, and Parks
Museums, zoos and parks all provide active learning experiences. Children’s museums offer many hands-on activities and science and industry museums are focused toward the child who loves science and math, but benefit all children.
Summer break will be over quickly. Children should have fun but also learn new ideas and subjects during summer. With a little planning, you can make summer an active learning time for your children. If you need a few ideas to get started, plan your activities based on theme days, focus on subjects where your children need extra help, visit local zoos and parks, create your own reading challenge, and review the topics in the Core Knowledge learning series.
Let’s make it a active and fun summer of learning.
How do you keep your children learning actively all summer? What is your favorite summer learning activity?
Christia Colquitt says
I love the Core Knowledge Series & use them with my 5 kids! This is an awesome round up!
Hi Christina, I found the Core Knowledge series a few years ago. It’s been one of my favorites since it provides a great foundation of general knowledge and gives you ideas to grow on.
I love working with my kids over the summer. We usually do worksheets and summer reading programs. I love when they read! Thanks for linking up to #HomeMattersParty hope to see you next week.
Hi Crystal, summer is a great time to focus on the joys of learning (science experiments, reading for fun). We can be relaxed and still learn.
Adelien Tan says
What a wonderful post you have. We also have a summer break, but I think we will not be able to let children idle or have fun without any learning all of the time. They will get bored when they don’t have any meaningful activities to do. Thank you very much for joining us in the Family Fun Friday.
Hi Adelian, you are right. It’s good to relax in summer, but we cannot let our children be idle the entire summer. We can add in a few learning activities (even better if they think it’s just fun like going to a science museum or visiting a park and observing nature).
Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup. I plan to feature your post this week so stop by my blog and check it out. I wholeheartedly agree with you about keeping a little math in the summer plans. We do Singapore Math during the school year but switch to Life of Fred during the summer because it’s more fun! The kids look forward to the stories.
Hi Leslie, thank you for hosting a great party and featuring this post. I am not familiar with Life of Fred (just the name sounds fun). I will have to check it out for summer math.
You’ve got some great ideas here to keep children interested in learning all summer long. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup!
Hi Gayl, summer is such a great time to keep our children learning outside the classroom. A few summer learning activities will make the start of the school year so much better.
Kelly @RaisingSamuels says
Thanks for sharing these great ideas with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂
Great list! We love doing reading challenges. Usually we do the Summer Reading Program at our local library and fill out their reading list for fun prizes. Thanks for joining us this week at the Family Joy link party!
Mother of 3 says
We also enjoy themed weeks– lego week with lego challenges, books to read, and lego writing prompts, we’ve enjoyed fun summer units like bubble making, ice cream and even water balloons. We read about our theme, do fun projects around our theme, even try to come up with yummy snacks about our theme.