Did you know that your child’s brain can actually back track during summer break? Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at University of Missouri Columbia conducted a study that showed kids can lose anywhere form 1-3 months of learning by the time they return to school after summer break. That doesn’t have to be the case though. Keeping your kids engaged in summer learning activities will make the transition back into the classroom much smoother. We’ve put together a list of some some summer learning ideas for reading, writing, math, as well a few fun games to keep their wheels turning! Most of these can be modified based on your child’s age and grade level, so feel free to make these games and activities easier or harder.
Summer Learning Ideas
Word Hunt: We all know how much kids love Easter egg hunts and who says they’re only good for once a year! Each egg should contain a word. These words can make up a sentence or a list. Then once they find all of the eggs they have to put them together to create the sentence! (Or, create a list of new words and have them put them in alphabetical order). This is a great idea for revealing a vacation destination or a fun outing the kids have been asking to take!
Family Game Night: Have a family game night and try out a new game your family has never played before. Have your child read the instructions aloud. This will help with both public reading and comprehension.
Water Balloon Fun: Nothing helps to beat the heat like some fun summer learning water games! This water balloon game is great for a variety of ages focuses on reading, verbs, and colors. Get multicolored water balloons and create targets with corresponding colors. These could be hoola hoops, buckets or colored side walk chalk. Have the kids help you come up with a list of verbs to write on the balloons. When it’s time to play, they should read the word, and throw it at it’s corresponding colored target. If they miss, they have to do the action written on the balloon. If they hit it, then their siblings or parents have to do the action!
Sidewalk Chalk Word Search: Create a life size word search on the sidewalk using new vocabulary words. If your kids are at different learning levels, have the older kids create the search for the younger ones!
Egg Carton Math: All you need for this one is an egg carton, a penny and a marker! In the holes of the egg carton, write numbers 1 through 12. Then come up with a “Winning Number” before you begin. Each player starts with a 0. Then they shake their egg cartons and whichever hole the penny is in, they add that number. The next turn, they shake the egg carton and then subtract the number that the penny lands in and so on until one person reaches the winning number!
Cups: There are several ways to adjust this fun summer learning game depending on your preference and your child’s grad level. Grab 15 plastic cups and write a different letter on each cup. For younger kids, set the cups up in a triangle shape on the floor. Have them toss a ball or a coin into the cups. Then they have to tell you a word that starts with the letter on the cup. For older kids you can write different things on the cups like math problems, nouns, pronouns and verbs, or whatever it is that they’re learning about. If it’s extra hot out, you can line the cups up in a row and have them use water guns or water balloons to knock the cups over.
Play Store: Let your kids set up a pretend store! Working with the “cash register” and calculating change will utilize their math skills and help to keep them sharp!
Cooking: The summer is a great time to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Whether you’re using vegetables you’ve grown in your own garden or found at a local farmers market, reading recipes, or working on math with measurements and conversions, the kitchen is the perfect place to get your kids minds engaged!
Signed, sealed, delivered: Have your child write at least 1 letter a week during the summer. Start by having them look at the calendar and determine how many weeks of summer are left. Once they have a number, they can write a list of all the people they want to send letters too.
Write a Progressive Story: Have one member of your family write one page of a story. Then they pass it along to the next family member and they add another page. Continue this until everyone (who is old enough) has written a page. Then have your kids read the story aloud to the family!
Write a list: Have the kids write a list of all the things they want to do this summer or have them write your to-do list or grocery list. Try to find at least one thing for them to write every day. By having them continually write throughout the summer they will feel totally prepared when they get back to school.
Learn to Read a Map: This is such a fun way to incorporate summer learning into your kids lives without them even knowing it! Go over the basics of how to read a map and then put them to the test! Pick a destination, get in the car and have them guide you there using only the map! They’ll love the freedom to give you the directions and feel a huge sense of pride when you finally reach your destination.