5 Fun Summer Learning Activities
Your kids’ education doesn’t have to stop once school lets out for the summer.
In fact, summer is the perfect time to further skills that typically aren’t taught in the traditional classroom setting — life skills they’ll need later on like cooking, navigating, gardening, and just plain creative thinking.
Want to help your kids get the most out of their summer (and have fun while doing it)?
Try these five summer learning activities on for size
1. Planting, growing, and caring for a garden.
This activity builds all kinds of skills. First, have them help build the garden. If you’re doing a raised one, this might mean helping to design the box, measure and cut wood, hammer and use a drill, and other steps in the building process.
Once that’s done, take them to the store to pick out the supplies — soil, seeds, a watering can, and any other materials you might need, and then head home to start planting.
Finally, have them create a map of where you’ve placed each seed, and write out the instructions for each one’s care. How often do they need to be watered? Who will do the pruning? Work together to create a care schedule for your new plants and watch your hard work pay off.
2. Making pancakes, French toast, or some other simple meal.
Too many kids head to college without knowing how to make a meal, even a simple one like pancakes or French toast. Make it a point to give your child at least one go-to meal this summer — something they can make from beginning to end all on their own.
Breakfast meals tend to be a great start, or you can go for a basic lunch or dinner too, like spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, or just grilled cheese sandwiches. Make sure you ask them to make it once or twice after they’ve learned it, too.
3. Setting up a lemonade stand.
A lemonade stand is one of those classic summer learning activities that can help your child build all sorts of skills. They learn about money, business, and marketing, and they also get to use math in a real-world situation — a rarity for most kids these days.
It also gives them a chance to get out in the community and connect with their neighbors (another rare sight for today’s screen-obsessed kiddos).
Just make sure you have them take the business from start to finish. They should go with you to the store to pick out the ingredients, assist with mixing the lemonade and setting up the table, and then finally with selling the drinks and pouring them as sales come in. You can even have them create flyers for their business for some extra credit.
4. Reading a map (a treasure map!)
We may have GPS these days, but knowing how to read a map is still a vital skill that kids need to learn — especially if they’re nearing driving age.
For older kids, invest in (or print out) a map of your community, and create an itinerary for the day (maybe one place for lunch, one place for a hike, and another to stop by and see family). Then have your child sit shotgun and direct you where to drive. You can even offer prizes or rewards for each place they successfully point you to.
For kids on the younger end, try a treasure map instead. Create a map based on a local park or playground, and use landmarks (a big rock, a blue slide, etc.) as the stops along the way. Be sure to have a treasure waiting at the end!
5. Writing a story as a summer learning activity.
Help your kid flex their creative skills by writing a story as one of their summer learning activities. Work with them to brainstorm characters and plot ideas, then send them off to write down the narrative. It can be one page, 10 pages, or 20 pages, depending on the age of the child, but when they’re done, help them bring it to life. Read it aloud, act it out as a family, or get out some crayons and sketch out what each character would look like.
If you have several children, you could do tandem storytelling instead. Have everyone agree on the characters, and then let one child write page one, the next child write page two, and so on. The story will take some interesting turns going through several hands, and once all is said and done, you’ll have a great family memory to show for it.
School’s out for summer, but kids can still enjoy these summer learning activities
Just because school’s out doesn’t mean your children have to stop learning. Get creative, and help them build up those life skills they’ll need when they leave the nest. Need more ideas for summer fun? Try these 10 kid-friendly activities.