Educational Activities for Summer
Summer can be a busy time with camps, vacations, family reunions, and nature outings. Even so, there is often a lot of downtime in the midst of all that activity, and that down time creates the perfect opportunity to help students maintain the learning they gained last school year.
Here are some ideas for how to help kids occupy their time in educational ways.
1. Read. It's an obvious one, and often one required of students by their school. The options are numerous. Choose from graphic novels, comic books, audiobooks, ebooks, books on the Epic app, or good old-fashioned print books. Don't feel compelled to stick to fiction; there are many excellent non-fiction and poetry options out there. If a student is reading an audiobook, it's very helpful for them to have a print version to read along with, especially if they have dyslexia or other reading issues. Make regular trips to the library so there are always choices.
2. Write. If your child is particularly inventive, ask them to write a Choose Your Own Adventure story or create a pop-up book. They could also keep a travel journal or a nature-observation journal. Entries could be short, but meaningful: what was the most interesting landmark they saw? What kinds of birds or plants did they see outside the hotel or by the lake? What impression do they have of the place they've visited? If they are at a sleep-away camp, ask them to write postcards or letters. I'd be happy to receive some!
Another option here is a dream journal. Have them record their dreams or even just impressions or feelings they had upon waking and discuss them over breakfast.
Watch a documentary together and ask them to write a summary after. Or, create a blog for them where they can share their thoughts (and photographs and art) with your family and their friends.
3. Listen. Schedule time during the day to listen to podcasts. This could also be a family activity, and could be combined with chores, cooking, or art-making. Some of my favorites are This American Life, On Being, Invisibilia, The Moth, StoryCorps and Radiolab. Check content first as not everything is appropriate for younger listeners. NPR has a list of podcasts for kids as does Fatherly.
4. Play. Educational games might make kids groan at first, but I find many will ask for them over and over once they've played them. There's a long list here too. Some I enjoy are Bananagrams, Scrabble, Spellaminoes and Boggle. Brain Freeze, Rory's Story Cubes, Sequence, Head Full of Numbers, and Rush Hour are great as well.