Summer is a time filled with swimming, picnics, and lots of watermelon. It is also one of the most natural times to engage your child’s curious mind! Whether homeschoolers take a break over the summer or homeschool year-round, these 10 fun and easy ways to keep kids learning all summer are sure to be a hit.
- Set up an obstacle course in your yard. Jump like a kangaroo from one place to another, wiggle like a snake around a hula hoop, use a water hose to make a curvy line on which to walk. Have your child make predictions about how many jumps she has to make, how long he can walk on the water hose, how many steps it is from one place to another. You get the idea – any excuse to get them to move is great!
- Go on a nature walk and have your child observe nature. Your child can take a photograph or draw in a notebook. If you take walks in the same place regularly, take note of how things change over time. We use our smartphone to take photographs and teach our children about what makes a great photograph in order to connect nature with art.
- Watermelon equals summer, and there are tons of learning activities to do with a watermelon. To measure circumference, use a string to go around the watermelon, and then use a ruler to measure the string. See if the watermelon floats. Estimate the number of seeds in a piece of watermelon, and then count them.
- Paint like Pollock – Jackson Pollock, that is! Simply get an inexpensive canvas (many craft stores offer them 50% off), choose colors to match your décor, and splatter paint it. Another idea is to splatter paint on pieces of cardstock and make them into thank-you cards.
- Start a rock collection. This is especially fun if you are taking a trip this summer. Your child can extend this topic to include gems and minerals, too. Be sure to look for identification guides at your local library!
- Start a pen pal exchange. Your child can write his/her cousins on postcards and look forward to receiving mail. Currently, we are writing our great-grandparents, who really appreciate getting a little note in the mail each week!
- Host a book or toy exchange. Have each child bring 3–5 items to trade for someone else’s treasures.
- Give back to the community. You can participate in park clean-ups, have a bake sale or lemonade stand, or hold trike-a-thon to raise money for your favorite charity.
- Visit local museums or art galleries in the heat of the day. Also, be on the lookout for historical markers in your area or on your vacation.
- Have a family book club or movie club. Everyone reads the book or watches the movie, and then discusses things like:
- What do you think the message of the movie is?
- Would you want to be friends with X character?
- What part was the most interesting to you?
- Would you recommend this movie or book to a friend
BONUS idea: Participate in summer reading programs where your child can earn prizes. Be sure to check with bookstores, restaurants, and your local library. For even more ideas, you can check out my Summer Activities Pinterest board or Evan-Moor’s Summer Activities Pinterest board.
Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite ways to keep kids learning during the summer? Please leave your ideas in the comments section!
Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website http://www.thrivehomeschooling.com.