Fun Learning Activities for Kids During Summer Break

3 min to read
Three young students on their summer break enjoying the outdoors.

The summer is here, and as you think about the lazy days over the break, it's important to plan for fun summer school activities to keep your student thinking and learning. Did you know that many students experience learning loss over the summer if they are not engaged in educational activities? And teachers typically spend between four and six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.

Instead of looking at summer as “time off” from learning, approach it as a time for hands-on, experiential projects and learning opportunities that may not be possible during the school year.

One way to ensure a fun break filled with rich learning activities for kids is to work as a family to create a list of summer projects. Post the list in a common area in your home like on your fridge to keep it in sight and top of mind. At the end of each week, go through the list with your family, discuss and check off activities that were completed, and add any new activities that came up. 

Summer Activities for Students

Here are a few possible summer activities for students to get you started:

  • Host art contests with neighborhood friends: Use chalk, clay, crayon, paint, etc.
  • Complete a little community service: Help a neighbor mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, or cook dinner.
  • Embark on a camping trip: The camping experience can take place in the backyard, on a campground, at the end of a long hiking trail, or even in the middle of your living room. Have your student help plan an agenda and list needed items. Then, teach them how to pitch a tent or prepare ground covering for a night under the stars.
  • Start a garden: Growing their own food or flowers will teach learners a great deal about plant cycles, caring for a living organism, and managing a growth schedule. You can go as large as a home garden or as small as growing some herbs or microgreens out of a single jar inside your home if you use gardening as one of your fun summer school activities.
  • Try household improvement projects: Have your student look around the house to find projects that they would like to work on, and/or offer projects that you would like to have completed. Ask them to help in the planning, purchasing, and completing of these projects. Summer is a perfect time to plan a fun project that will help your student develop scheduling skills.
  • Play school: Reverse roles and ask your student to create a quiz for the Learning Coach. Children love trying to stump their teachers and loved ones. Allow your child to be the teacher and have family members act as the students. Your child can plan activities/worksheets/lessons.
  • Take on some scrapbooking activities: Have your child help organize pictures or topics, and allow them to journal about activities.
  • Enjoy family reading time: Set aside a time each day for family reading time. Try The Knock, Knock Game when you hear your younger students read. The child reads but knocks on the table when they come across a difficult word for you to help with. Sometimes, you’ll find that your student remembers the word the next time it comes up in the story.
  • Spend time in the kitchen: Have your learner plan and cook a meal.
  • Writing activities: Use your imagination to come up with a fun writing contest with your kids, or even challenge them to keep a journal over the summer.
  • Take the kids outside: Studies have proven that physical activity helps grow not only strong muscles but also strong brains. From old favorites like tag, leapfrog, and wall ball, to more organized games like basketball and baseball, outdoor activity stimulates both the mind and the body. So if you can, send your kids outside to play. Even just an open window and a dance party can provide the same benefits. Bonus points if they make up their own games or dances!
  • Become a backyard astronomer: With the warm and clear nights, summer is a perfect time to observe the stars. All you need is a star chart and your own eyes to view many interesting celestial bodies. If you'd like to kick it up a notch, you can always contact your local amateur astronomy group. Many of these groups host frequent star parties, where folks can gather and observe the heavens through telescopes.
  • Observe wildlife in your area: Even in urban areas, wildlife can be everywhere. There are many low-cost books for identifying birds and animals. Visit your local library to pick up a guide, and then see how many species you can find in your area.
  • Be a tourist in your own town: Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall for guidebooks about your town. Then go visit all the things a tourist would normally go see. Or discover the artwork of famous museums around the world by going on virtual museum tours with your kids!
  • Play video games: I know what you're thinking: How can video games be good for growing brains? But certain kinds of games, particularly those that require problem solving and reasoning, can improve a student's ability to learn. So let the kids play—just be sure to balance the time out with other summer activities for students.

Incorporating just a few of these suggested learning activities for kids into your summer schedule can have huge academic rewards for your students when they return to school. Additionally, the summer should be a time for some downtime and family fun, so remember to keep things low-key, simple, and relaxing!

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