As the school year winds down and comes to an end, kids are itching for some summer fun and let’s be honest… no homework. While we want our kids to enjoy their summer break, we want them to keep learning and growing, too!
Research shows that summer learning loss, also known as “Summer Slide,” happens during the summer months when kids’ learning backtracks, losing certain concepts, vocabulary, and skills in between school years. To prevent this learning curve from happening, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorite ways to incorporate learning into summer activities that will be sure to keep kids engaged and eager to learn—without even realizing it!
Get kids reading, moving, and learning with Summer Bridge Activities®
The best way to make learning fun, is with versatile activities that keep kids engaged and make learning interesting, which is why Summer Bridge Activities is a great way to keep summer brain drain at bay. Each workbook features over 60 days’ worth of fun learning activities, fitness exercises, reward stickers, and flash cards to keep kids moving and thinking, all while having fun! The best part? With only 15 minutes needed to complete the daily activities, your kids won’t feel like they are doing homework, and will have plenty of playtime to follow.
If you’re looking for a little more, the Summer Bridge Bundles are jam-packed with fun and versatile educational tools to keep the learning going. Each bundle is packaged in a drawstring tote, and includes a workbook, a set of flash cards, 2 nonfiction books and 2 fiction books, and a user guide with added tips and ideas for family engagement. No headaches, no interruptions, just learning made fun.
Create a fun scavenger hunt adventure
Spark your child’s imagination and creativity with a homemade scavenger hunt! This is a great activity for both a solo explorer or a group of curious kiddos ready to go on an epic learning journey. Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids using their fine motor skills and put their thinking caps on as they answer riddles or follow a map until they get to the final clue (or where X marks the spot!). You can even get creative and burn the edges of the paper to make it look old and dated to get in the spirit of adventure.
Make little gift baggies or get creative with a mini treasure chest and fill the booty with colorful stickers, completion awards or certificates, little notepads, chocolate coins, and other sweet treats! Have the kids dress up like explorers, and use an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll as a spyglass accessory to make the learning experience feel even more magical.
Turn free time into fun time with summer learning mazes, puzzles, and coloring printables
If you’re looking for something a little more low maintenance to kill some time this summer, summer learning printables are easy, free, fun, and keep kids engaged for hours! Kids practice rhyming skills, discover how their favorite summer treats are made, learn new summer-themed vocabulary, and more!
Our free summer learning printables include summer-themed crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, picture challenges and riddles, connect-the-dots, memory games, coloring and drawing activities, and much more! There’s also a ton of grade-specific math and language arts printables to practice or reinforce essential skills for the upcoming school year, too! With a variety of printables to choose from, your child has unlimited opportunities for engaged learning this summer.
Build, craft, and complete challenges with hands-on STEM activities
Help your child go full STEAM ahead with fun grab-and-go STEM activities! Learn about the seasons, life, physical, and earth and space science, or plants, animals, insects, and other interesting science topics. Kids can design pool flotation devices, dig for fossils, make ramps and seed carriers, and more using easy-to-grab materials.
Each STEM set features 30 challenge cards with child-friendly text and a visual list of materials needed to complete each challenge, so activities can be completed independently, in small groups, or with the whole family! The back of each card includes hints, questions, and explanations of the science behind each challenge for extended learning.
A free digital resource guide is also included with each set to help young learners better understand the science behind each STEM challenge. Pair the learning cards with the free digital resource guide for even more fun science experiments! Grab your thinking caps and get ready for some summer STEM fun!
Practice sight words and other basic skills using chalk on the sidewalk!
Turn the next sunny day into a day for outdoor learning with some sidewalk chalk fun! Kids can learn patterns by playing games like tic tac toe, and reinforce number skills and hand-eye coordination with hopscotch. A great way to incorporate phonics practice into outdoor fun is by playing games like hangman—using basic sight words and categories to practice and reinforce essential spelling and reading skills.
You can also turn chalk-time into a time for kids to get creative with their drawing skills. Give them an object, animal, or scenario and have them draw out what it looks like. Have them color-code different parts of their drawing to reinforce their color recognition skills. The best part? Kids have so much fun while playing these games (especially outside!), they don’t even realize they’re learning while having a blast!
Get crafty (and maybe a little dirty) out in the sun
For those days when it’s too nice to be indoors, planning an outdoor craft is the perfect way to enjoy the sunshine while learning to create or build something new. For the pro-crafters, help your child build his/her very own birdhouse! Let them customize the decoration with paint, glitter, and other craft accessories. You can also let your kiddo pick out a plant, herb, vegetable, or flower that they love, and help them garden it and watch it grow (and eventually eat it if it’s snack-worthy).
Take on some easier craft ideas like building a kite to play in the yard with, or you can even collect some cool rocks and make a painting activity! Accessories your summer look with DIY flower crowns, or bring the kitchen outside and craft some macaroni bracelets! Your child can paint them, add beads or any personalized touch to their homemade jewelry. Whichever craft you choose, getting creative together is a fun learning experience you can cherish forever as you watch your child grow and learn.
Create yummy outdoor science experiments you can eat!
These science experiments are a real treat! Teaching kids about science has never been easier (or more tasteful) than with edible experiments from home! Create solar oven s’mores in the driveway on a hot summer day to teach kids about energy from the sun (and fulfill those sweet tooth cravings). Need something refreshing to cool down your kiddos? Make flavored popsicles and watch them transform to learn about different states of matter like solids versus liquids. Another fun science project is the infamous pop rocks in a bottle experiment to learn about the chemistry behind what makes that infamous popping sound, and why there’s a reaction! Just prepare to maybe get a little messy.
Go for a hike or walk and learn about nature
From adventuring in the backyard to hiking on a local trail, there’s so much to learn about the nature around us! Going on a small hiking adventure is a great way to teach kids about the environment around them: what grows, what animals inhabit the area, and what makes where you live so unique! Learn about the different types of trees you spot along the way, where squirrels make their homes, and the different flowers that cross your paths. Let your child take the reins in learning how to navigate using a map or compass to build up some essential geography skills. You can even bring a pair of binoculars for bird watching! Pack a notebook and a utensil for your child to jot down all the different plants and critters they come across and what was learned along the way.
Teach kids essential money skills with a DIY lemonade stand!
Creating a lemonade stand has been a childhood favorite for generations that never gets old. Building an iced tea, koolaid, or lemonade stand is a great way to not only get your child thinking creatively and working with his/her hands, but it also teaches them essential money and counting skills... as well as social skills, too! You can even opt for a cookie sale (and cross your fingers for leftovers). Help your child figure out the essential ingredients needed to make their product of choice, and what the science behind each ingredient does: which ingredient makes it sweet? Which ingredient gives it a specific flavor? Why? This activity is also great for teaching children how to measure as they level out ingredients to make their product.
Once you’ve helped your child make the food or drink they wish to sell, you can use a folding table to create a stand, or you can get creative and build something out of old boxes and a tablecloth. Have your child hand-paint or color a sign for the front of their stand, and use a jar or an old shoe box to collect money as the customers (and cash) roll in. Keeping a calculator or paper and pencil on hand will help your child figure out if they need change, and how to calculate it, practicing great money and counting skills, too! Have your kiddo count out how much money they sold at the end of the day. Your child will be sure to feel a sense of gratitude and surely rewarded for making something that people were able to enjoy, all while pocketing some money on their own, using real world applications to learn about future job success.
Take a trip to the zoo or aquarium to learn about your child’s favorite animals
Anything involving animals is fur sure an activity most children can get on board with. It’s a great way to learn some essential life science facts about your child’s favorite animals and critters. Check out your local zoo or aquarium for a fun-filled day of animal learning! Kids can watch some of their favorite animals in action and learn about their habitats, what they eat, where they originate from, and how they communicate in their own furry, scaly, or feather-filled language!
Visiting your local farm or petting zoo is another fun way to learn about all sorts of animals! The best part: your child can hand-feed goats, pet some horses, and maybe even some sheep! Teach your child about what the role each animal plays on the farm: why is grazing important? How did chickens lay eggs? At the end of the day, ask your kids what was their favorite animal, and why. What’s the most interesting fact they learned? With so many animals to discover and see, the learning opportunities are endless!
There’s so many ways to make summer fun an enjoyable and educational experience that keeps your child’s learning wheels (and bodies) moving even after the school year ends. Which learning adventure will you take your child on this summer?