How to Make Summer Learning Fun... And NOT Like School

4 min to read
A family loading a van with summer items for fun activites with their children.

Just like parents, kids need a break from their daily routine. With their developing brains, increased pressure at school, and less time for social enrichment, by the end of the school year, it’s likely they need a break more than ever. 

As important as a break is, continuing to nurture your child’s interest in learning will help them avoid summer learning loss and enter the school year prepared come fall.

With school out, and most kids really excited for a break, you’ll want to continue providing learning opportunities—but make them engaging. Here are five ways to make summer learning fun and not feel like school!

1. Take Lessons from the Natural Environment

After spending most of the day inside, getting outside can stimulate a new level of engagement and interest. Education doesn’t have to feel like work; summer learning activities can be exciting and engaging for your child. Whether your child spends time in the backyard or at a local park, nature can provide a different perspective on learning science, math, or geography. Tailor fun summer learning activities to your student’s unique interests. 

Build your child’s nature smarts by exploring outdoors, bird watching, nature-centric art projects, and more. Discover more fun summer learning activities you can do outside.

Do you have a science buff? Warmer weather invites us to explore interesting items in nature. Gather twigs, shells, leaves, or flowers and a few kitchen staples, then follow these steps to make DIY fossils at home

2. Benefit from Boredom to Unleash the Imagination

A bit of boredom isn’t bad. Being bored can open your child’s imagination and give them the chance to invent a new game, make a new friend, or discover a new passion. You can help to proactively address boredom by discussing open-ended activities your child can enjoy solo. You might encourage daydreaming and, if your student is open to it, have them draw a picture or write a story to record their imaginations. This is a great way to encourage emotional intelligence and fine-tune communication skills.

It can be tempting to fill your child’s summer schedule with tons of activities, outings, and plans. However, it’s important to give your student time to play without a plan. Unstructured play is associated with improvements in memory, self-regulation, and social skills. Summer educational activities don’t have to be overly complicated; who knows where your child’s imagination could go with a few common kitchen ingredients

3. Broaden Your Student’s Horizons Through Travel

Summer is a great time to travel and learn lessons about the past, a different culture, and even strengthen family bonds while making memories. According to the Student & Youth Travel Association, travel has a positive impact on students, providing academic, social, and civic benefits. 

You don’t need international or even interstate travel to give your child these benefits. You can use your home town as a base for learning and teach your child about your state’s history, weaving in opportunities to go to local museums, historically significant landmarks, and nearby state parks. 

A family hiking in the woods as a fun summer learning activity.

4. Increase Your Child’s Background Knowledge to Improve Reading

You can help improve your student’s reading skills outside of doing grammar worksheets or reading exercises in workbooks by enriching your child’s background knowledge of vocabulary and language skills to build the foundation for learning. 

You may be surprised to learn that you can provide summer educational activities by planning trips to museums, baseball games, street festivals, and planetariums. Encourage your child to be curious, ask questions, and explore. Through these experiences, your child will build real-world knowledge, enhancing their cultural literacy by providing context to what they are reading. That way, when your child encounters a reading comprehension assignment in school about the solar system, they can connect with and understand the text better than without this established background knowledge.

5. Find a Summer Camp that Piques Your Child’s Interests

During the school year, your child could be asked to focus on subjects that don’t interest them, but summer often doesn’t have those same requirements. If your child loves video games, consider camps that offer game design or competitive eSports. Or if your child loves art, look for classes focused on painting, pottery, or puppet making. 

Finding a summer camp that focuses on your child’s passions, strengths, or interests will not only help generate excitement about going to camp but also may align with and build on what your child has learned at school. Summer camps also provide unique social opportunities for children to meet other kids their age with shared interests.

With a little preplanning and forethought, your child can have the perfect mix of fun and learning to look forward to all summer long. Discover more fun summer learning activities

And if you are looking for fun online summer courses to supplement your child’s academics, check out Connection Academy’s online summer school courses.

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