Summer 2020. We had such high hopes for this summer vacation as an actual time off from school and active learning. Except that now kids have been distance learning since March. With such drastic changes in education, many families are now wondering how they can make the most of summer learning.
How Every Family Can Make the Most of Summer Learning
Summer learning, with a few exceptions, doesn’t have to be intensive to be effective. In fact, kids can learn so much of value just by playing and creating!
Check out all our best summer learning ideas!
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Enjoy Learning Math This Summer
When you think about learning math, your mind might jump straight to workbooks and speed drills with 0-12 facts. While these methods of learning are awesome, you can get creative and still help your child learn important math skills.
Help your child with math and make the most of summer learning with these easy ideas:
- Cooking: you’re measuring ingredients and talking about fractions! It’s a great opportunity to compare sizes (1tbs vs 1tsp) and practice reducing/doubling recipes.
- Games: try Monopoly or Clue to work on money and logic skills
- Puzzles: work those logical thinking muscles and build stamina to complete challenges.
Easy Summer Reading Ideas for Kids
Not all kids love reading – and that’s just fine. But all kids should be reading. It’s one of the essential ways to help your child succeed both now and in the future.
In the summer, it’s all about finding ways to motivate your child to read. Work to discover their interests and preferred style(s) of reading materials. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter if they’re reading novels, comics or magazines. It’s the act of reading (or listening) that counts!
Try these easy reading ideas:
- Graphic novels: my daughter is plowing through Zita the Space Girl right now, so we’re hunting down lots of similar books for the summer
- Audiobooks: listening to books is just as valuable as reading in many cases – check out Audible or your library’s Overdrive for downloadable books
- Cookbooks: cooking pulls double duty when you challenge your child to read the recipes to you
- Magazines: we love Ranger Rick, Highlights and National Geographic Kids for their educational content – so fun my kids don’t even know they’re learning
Do Science This Summer
Science is literally everywhere you look. It’s easy to do experiments or engage in science activities at every level of learning and commitment. I get it. You don’t necessarily want to be doing super involved experiments every day. Neither do I, quite frankly.
Cover the science spread with these ideas:
- Nature Walk: take a zero-prep nature walk with your kids and talk about things you notice along the way
- Scavenger Hunt: level up by looking for specific things around your home or outside – noticing your environment is super science-y!
- Read a Book: we love National Geographic’s book “Why” with thousands of answers to kids’ burning questions
- Play a Game: there are online, app-based and board games you can play with your kids while also learning science concepts
- Experiment: experiments are one of the most-requested activities in my house
DIY a Structured Summer Learning Program
However, there are many children who DO benefit from a structured summer learning program.
Is Extended School Year right for your child?
There are tons of options to maintain or create a very structured program for the summer:
- Extended School Year: for students with IEPs to prevent regression over the summer
- Summer School: program for at-risk students provided by the school
- Tutoring: help re-teach or pre-teach content and skills with a private tutoring
- DIY: you locate resource and follow a schedule that works for your family
Your choice is super personal, but if you’re looking to DIY something on your own, I love these resources:
- BrainQuest: the workbooks and card decks are great, challenging options
- Kumon: my daughter likes the way that these workbooks are structured and the explanations provided
- Scholastic: I’ve long been a member of the Scholastic book club program as a teacher, but I also love the workbooks and learning resources the company creates
- Hands-On Materials: blocks, counting cubes, pretend money, an abacus – working with their hands can 100% help kids learn!
No matter what you do, from the most relaxed sneaky learning ideas to the most structured schedule, it’s awesome. The whole point is just to keep kids excited about learning – even when they’re on vacation!