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Seven Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Over the Summer

By Huntington Learning Center

Summer is around the corner, and we’re all dreaming of sun-filled days and time with family. Summer break is also a great time to set your kids up for academic success in the fall! Many children who take a two-month hiatus from learning lose the equivalent of one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer. Plus, children of all ages lost skills, confidence, and motivation from another COVID-interrupted year, making summer learning more important than ever. In this post, we’ll show you how to bring the joy back to learning for your children this summer.

How to Keep Kids Learning All Summer

Whether your kid is in kindergarten, elementary, or middle school, there are several activities you can do together to encourage learning over the summer. Most importantly, keeping your kids’ brains active this summer can be enjoyable for all of you!

Here are seven fun ways you can help your kids learn over the summer:

  1. Get Cooking and Baking – A cooking or baking session can have tons of learning opportunities. Plus, kids love the process of making something from scratch that the whole family can enjoy. While you’re chopping and whisking, here is what your kid will learn:
    • Math: Counting, measuring, sequences, fractions, and shapes are all part of meal prep.
    • Reading and Vocabulary: Reading recipes will help reinforce reading skills and expose kids to new words.
    • History: If you have recipes that have been passed down for generations, this is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about family history.
    • Motor Skills: Whisking, pouring, measuring, chopping, and rolling can all help develop fine motor skills, which is great for younger ones.
    • Social Skills: Let’s not forget the value of doing an activity that teaches kids how to work together, be responsible, and share.
  2. Volunteer for a Local Organization – Children who are involved with community service gain new skills, and build confidence and self-esteem at the same time. Volunteering at a young age can also teach children a sense of responsibility. After the challenging school year that children just experienced, these lessons can be especially valuable. There are plenty of opportunities for kids of all ages to safely volunteer in their local communities. Here are some examples:
    • Lend a hand at an animal shelter.
    • Help out at the library.
    • Participate in a fundraising walk or run.
    • Get involved in a community cleanup.
  3. Plan Day Trips – We all love the opportunity to see and do new things in the summer! Day trips are a great way to enrich your child’s understanding of topics they are learning about in school, as well as new subjects you want to explore. No matter where you live, there are tons of places you can visit for fun-filled learning experiences. Farms, museums, zoos, aquariums, libraries, greenhouses, and state parks make great day trips for families. Local parenting magazines and websites, such as Mommy Poppins, are great places to find trip ideas in your area. Do some research about your destination in advance so you can be prepared to teach your kids some interesting facts!
  4. Travel to Distant Places Through Reading – Encouraging kids to read throughout the summer is one of the most important and productive things you can do to set them up for success when it’s time to go back to school. Reading over the summer helps children retain the reading and vocabulary skills they gained the previous school year, and it helps them to get a jump start on the coming year. After a difficult academic year that resulted in an increased risk of learning loss, keeping kids reading over the summer is critical. Plus, reading is an amazing way to spark a child’s imagination.

    If you’re looking for a fun way to encourage your child to read over the summer, Huntington’s annual Reading Adventure program runs through August. Students who participate receive a passport of fun activities they can complete as they travel to outer space, around the world, and to different time periods through books specific to their age groups. To learn more about Reading Adventure and register your child, click here.
  5. Conduct Science Experiments – Show Bill Nye the Science Guy what you’re capable of in your own home! Hands-on science experiments are a great way to teach kids about the world around them, and they can be tons of fun. To support distance learning during the pandemic, 3M launched a program called Science at Home, which provides parents of children ages 6-12 with simple experiments that can be done with household items. Check out their great resources for experiment ideas here.
  6. Play Outdoors – A survey of more than 3,000 parents found that screen time for their kids had increased by 500% during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the summer upon us, it’s time to encourage kids to spend less time on their devices and more time outside. Outdoor activities are critical for a child’s development and learning. In addition to the physical and social benefits, playing outside can teach kids a lot about science and nature. Here are some outdoor learning activities you can try with your children this summer:
    • Plant a garden.
    • Take a nature hike.
    • Go birdwatching.
    • Explore a beach or lake.
    • Plan a scavenger hunt.
  7. Turn Math into a Game – Math doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. By turning math into a game, you can reinforce the skills your child is learning while having fun! Children also generally try hard at games because they want to win, so it’s a little easier to encourage participation and practice for something competitive than a traditional math worksheet. Let’s look at four math game ideas you can try this summer:
    • Math Bingo – Depending on what math skill your child is working on in school, make a bingo board containing sums, differences, quotients, fractions, etc. Then, call out math problems and have your children cover the right answer. First to fill a row says math bingo!
    • Twister Math – Use stick notes to label a Twister mat with numbers. Give each child a math problem, and have them put a hand or foot on the answer. First one to get tangled up and fall off the mat loses!
    • Frog Jumps – You’ll need some tape and a tape measurer. Have your kids hop like frogs as far as they can go. Mark where they land with tape, then have them measure the distance they jumped using a tape measure.
    • Math War – Get a set of playing cards. Just like war, each child flips two cards from the deck and either adds, subtracts, or multiplies them (depending on age). The person with the highest total keeps both cards. If you have a tie-breaker, just flip another card.

Huntington Learning Center is here to help you make this summer count! Our proven method begins with a full Academic Evaluation to develop a learning plan that build skills, confidence, and motivation. To learn more about our summer learning programs for kids in K-12th grade, click here.