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5 Active Learning Ideas for Kids to Finish Summer

Keeping kids engaged by doing rather than viewing.

We all look forward to vacations. Whether it’s finally having the time to hit the pool, binge watch a favorite show, or log some extra hours of sleep, a chance to relax and rejuvenate is key. When kids are presented with the extended break of summer vacation though, it’s important that these much anticipated vacation-like activities are balanced with a healthy dose of learning activities too. We’ve shared 10 Must-Dos for Limiting Screens, and now we’ve got 5 great active learning ideas that allow kids to make the most of summer fun with an educational twist.

Connect with the Outdoors & Explore the Community

  1. Geocaching- This trending activity that requires a device equipped with GPS capabilities is like a giant international game of Hide and Seek. Caches are hidden by other members of the Geocaching community, and coordinates are given to allow players to locate the oftentimes intricately hidden treasures. By becoming a member and downloading the app, kids and families can embark on a journey of discovery. There are numerous types of hunts that seekers can complete, and once a cache is discovered, members sign the log and replace things exactly as they found them. With over 2.8 million caches to find worldwide, this activity that involves calculating, investigating, navigating, etc. gets kids outside, active, and exploring.
  2. Orienteering- The sport of orienteering pairs a participant with map and compass to navigate a designated course. The intellectual and physical components of the meets make this a great way to get kids outdoors. While there are timed and competitive elements, there is also the opportunity for beginners to get out and enjoy the fun and exploration that go hand-in-hand with this educational activity. With a chance to develop map reading and navigational skills, it’s worth discovering if an orienteering club is in an area near you!
  3. What’s Close to Home?- With all the cutbacks that limit field trips during the school year, summer is a great time for families to catch up on everything the community has to offer. Exploring a factory close to home and learning the how-to elements of local goods is one great option. By visiting Factory Tours USA, it’s easy to locate some local options. Taking a look at Virtual Tourist can also be eye opening when it comes to finding learning adventures without leaving your zip code. Having kids map, plan, and budget for local adventures is another great learning opportunity waiting to be had!

Get Creative

  1. Make It!- Have your kids join the Maker Movement this summer. Makerspaces are popping up in schools and classrooms everywhere, but the concept behind these STEM-based learning areas doesn’t have to be exclusive to the educational community. Parents can create their own versions of Makerspaces at home. The concept behind these areas is providing the materials and space to allow kids to break down, build up, and create pretty much anything their imaginations will allow. From outdated electronics to the recycle bin, any supplies can be transformed and created with a little imagination and ingenuity. With online options like purchasing kits from Makey Makey or low budget ideas of a more crafty nature from Storytime Toys, kids can dive into making almost anything this summer.
  2. Nature Fun- Anytime spent exploring nature is educational. Taking things a step further and helping kids find creative ways to interact with the bounties of the backyard will be a motivator for movement and learning.
  • ABC Nature Collections- On a sidewalk, driveway, or patio, make a giant grid for the letters A to Z and have kids collect something from nature to correspond to each square. They may have to get creative with their labeling, but this could be hours of fun or a competition for multiple players.
  • Nature Art- Have kids collect anything and everything that could be used in creating a nature image (e.g., leaves, berries, grass clippings, flowers, twigs) and have them design creatures or scenes with all the natural materials.
  • Nature Photo Challenge- Make your own family version of What’s This? by taking extreme close-ups of items found in nature. Zoom in on the piston of a flower or the bark of a tree and have players name or match the item and its location. Each player could take pictures to try and stump others, or a single photographer could be appointed.

While the easy fix for keeping kids busy can be pulling up a video or handing over a game controller, the educational fix is the way to go this summer. These active learning ideas which encourage exploring and creating allow for hours of educational summertime fun. Whether it’s a family adventure, a connection with nature, an exploration, or a new creation in the making, when kids are doing, learning comes to life in the summer months.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.


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