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A Parent’s Guide to Summer Learning

Tips and activities to ensure that the extended break from school isn’t an extended break from learning.

By Lani Aquino

While summer is a break from the day-to-day schedule of the school year, it shouldn’t be a break from learning. The look of learning in the summer may be different, but it’s important for parents to ensure that learning is present during day-to-day activities.

For the kids who loves school, learning may naturally infuse itself into the summer months. A project or interest may take center stage and be the focus of reading, writing, and activities pursued. For kids that struggle with some components of learning or aren’t counting down the days to the beginning of a new school year, it may take a little more work to make learning a natural part of summer break. No matter how it looks for each child and family, these 6 ideas are a great way to make learning a part of everyday life this summer.

Explore Science- There are lot of kits and subscriptions on the market for shining a light on scientific study, but there are also some free resources with great ideas for experiments and exploration. Scientific American’s Bring Home Science page posts a new activity every Thursday and has hundreds of past ones to view and complete. A fun and educational weekly (or daily) activity for the whole family.

Read, Read, Read!- Set aside reading time every day. This could be a family activity like the monthly book club ideas shared by Growing Book by Book or individual book choices. Libraries and bookstores often have summer reading incentive programs to help encourage kids to dive into books. Talk about what everyone is reading and help kids see reading as an exciting and normal part of daily life rather than a timed chore.

Camps & Classes- Whether it’s due to a personal interest or the need to work on a specific set of skills, camps and classes offered through the school system, zoos, museums, rec centers, etc. are an opportunity to put the focus on learning. These are also a perfect solution for working parents.

Everyday Math- Work on basic math skills with things like cooking together, budgeting for an outing, running a lemonade stand, etc. Bring numbers to life whenever possible and make any summer skill-building work needed fun. An engaging app, math skill card game or board game, and/or pattern blocks and building materials will be more positively received than assigning workbook pages.

Summer Journal- Have kids keep a summer journal. For younger (or older) ones, this could be a family journal where everyone contributes. Adding pictures, drawings, mementos, etc. is a great way to keep a record of activities while encouraging reflection and building writing skills.

Educational Outings- Visits to zoos, museums, and other local points of interest are great summer learning activities. Planning the outings, following maps, reading information placards, etc. are all wonderful learning opportunities that expose kids to a wide variety of high-interest information.

Summer learning doesn’t have to happen in an assigned block of time with a set amount of work being completed. As parents, it’s important to keep learning alive for kids, but it’s equally important not to overdo it by making summer learning a chore. Summer is a great time to get the whole family involved in learning whenever possible and recapture some of the much needed family time that can be lost amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy school year. These 6 summer learning opportunities will have kids and families well on their way to a summer of learning fun!

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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