With school ending for the summer all over the country and only two weeks left in the countdown at our house, kids are ready to check out from homework and worksheets and studying. Around here, for the first couple of weeks, we tend to just veg out and recuperate from a long, hard year of learning, but once the kids are feeling a little more refreshed, learning time is back on!
Now, don’t get me wrong. We aren’t sitting at desks with worksheets every day, but we find ways to incorporate learning into our everyday activities and special outings. By disguising learning as fun things to do, my kids tend to get a lot more out of their summer vacation and still have plenty of time to bum around and play video games.
Here are some of our favorite fun ways to learn throughout the summer – just don’t tell my kids that they’re “in school” when school is out!
Start a garden: Growing things is an educational experience that ends with some delicious results. Have the kids research the plants that grow best in your area, what times to plant, and how to care for their garden. Experiment with different natural fertilizers and care techniques to see who can grow the biggest veggies.
Learn coding: Odds are your kids have been using websites such as Scratch or Tynker in school to learn programming basics. Let them have access to these programs at home to expand their coding skills and create games and animations over the summer. They won’t even know they’re learning!
Become a maker: Kids love to create , build, and invent. Sign up for a robotics club or just use the internet to find ideas at home. Makercamp.com has some really simple, fun projects that use specialty items, such as circuits, and things you have lying around the house to make things like rockets, slime, games, and more. Plus you can get information about MakerCamps taking place in your area.
Attend a camp or class: Local libraries, community colleges, and church groups often offer free or low cost camps and classes to the children of the community. Sign up for those which are interesting to your kids and allow them a chance to learn and socialize through the summer months.
Enter contests: Check out your county or state fair websites to see if there are contests available for kids. Through our 4-H group, we enter woodworking, cooking, photography, origami, and more for judging. The kids usually walk away with loads of ribbons and even some small cash prizes!
Research your summer vacation location: If you’re traveling this summer, let the kids do some of the planning. Have them research historical attractions, estimate daily budgets, and plan your route with a map. There are lots of great life skills to learn through trip planning!
Visit factories and museums: Whether on vacation or just hanging near home, trips to museums and factories, especially those with a hands-on component, are great opportunities to learn more about the world around you, about history, and about how things work.
Write letters to school friends: Get the mailing addresses of a few friends and check in with a handwritten letter over the summer. Kids love getting mail, plus you can work on handwriting, grammar, spelling, and letter writing skills without breaking out the boring workbooks!
There are plenty of opportunities to learn all summer long! What are some of your favorite ways to teach your kids on the sly?