Summertime is coming to an end, or may have already ended for some, but that doesn’t mean the season is over. In this series, Summer Enrichment Activities, we want to make sure you’re enjoying the summer while also finding new ways to learn. So whether you’re still enjoying your summer break, or you’ve already begun the new school year, here are six summer learning activities to try with your kids to soak in the rest of the season.
1. Make a craft
If you had a chance to go to the beach this summer, chances are your kids collected a lot of seashells. If not, you can buy a bag of seashells at a discount store, and create a staycation craft! Turn shells into cute little tropical fish, crabs, turtles, or whatever sea creature you can think of! A little craft paint, some googly eyes, and hot glue is all it takes to make a seashell into a fun summer learning activity.
2. Eat (or drink!) something festive
Whether you make a meal from scratch, or take an everyday dish and add a few special touches, snack time is a great time to get creative. Take these Under the Sea Graham Crackers, for instance, they are decorated as a super cool edible ocean scene and they are incredibly easy to make. Try letting your kids adorn their own crackers for an extra special activity, too.
- Graham crackers
- Graham cracker sand (use a rolling pin to crush graham crackers in a plastic bag)
- Gold fish crackers
- Blue icing (You can also make your own icing by combining one stick of butter, two cups of powdered sugar, and blue food coloring.)
3. Play a game
Matching games can benefit students in so many ways. From improving concentration to increasing their attention to detail, it’s a great summer learning activity disguised as a game. Kick up the typical deck of cards a notch by making it into a giant outdoor recreational activity! All you have to do is print fun, summertime images in pairs, and, voila!—you have yourself a homemade, over-sized entertainment center. You can also have you kids paint or draw two of each image, but make sure to use thick card stock or cork tiles so they don’t show through the paper.
4. Get outside
Outdoor play can improve your child’s physical health, provide a multitude of benefits for your child’s mental and emotional health, and provide considerable educational value for your child. You can play typical games like tag, or you can watch their imagination soar with DIY Sidewalk Foam Paint. The best part? You probably have all of these ingredients around the house and can whip up a batch today.
- One 7.65 oz. bottle of washable school glue
- 1 cup white flour
- 4–5 cups plain white shaving foam
- A few drops of food color
- Large plastic zipper bag
- 4 sandwich-sized plastic zipper bags
- 4 squirt bottles (optional)
1. Add flour into a gallon-size plastic zipper bag.
2. Pour the bottle of school glue (the kind that is washable) on the flour.
3. Spray about 4–5 cups of shaving foam into the bag.
4. Close the bag and knead it for a few minutes until everything is mixed.
5. Cut a corner of the gallon-size bag and squirt into sandwich-sized bags to divide it up per color.
6. Add drops of food coloring to each bag (about 10 per color or mix-and-match to create new colors or shades).
7. Knead individual bags until color is mixed thoroughly throughout the bag.
8. Cut off a corner of each sandwich-sized bag and squirt it into plastic squirt bottles. Or you can skip this step and just paint with the plastic bags which is much easier for younger children. In this case, make sure to cut off a tiny corner so it doesn’t come out too heavy.
5. Plan for indoor activities
When I think of the beach, I immediately think of all of the fun I used to have playing in the sand as a child. As an adult, I’m not a big fan of sandboxes in the backyard because of all of the creepy crawlers that can create homes there. So how do I marry the two concepts? Tupperware sandboxes! Yes, you can get a bag of sand from your local garden center, and divvy up the sand to make miniature archaeology bins, kinetic sand, or trace sight words for extra practice. Although this is a great indoor activity, I’d suggest putting down a sheet or towel in case there’s any sand that escapes the sandbox. And, trust me, there will be.
Rather than putting a craft or silly snack together, sometimes it’s easier to just explore! Is there a topic that you’ve been discussing as a family? Something your kids are interested in? Or maybe there’s a subject that you’d like to help them grow in? Whatever category you fit in, make it into a FUN learning activity by creating a themed scavenger hunt. We’re working on colors, so I chose to create a color scavenger hunt. Truly, this option is so versatile and fun that you can use it just about anywhere. Make one for a trip to the park, for a beach vacation, or even save it for a rainy day by finding items around the house. Explore, play, and learn together!
How are you avoiding the summer slide this year? Share your ideas with us in the comments.