Creative Ideas for Fun and Learning This Summer

(Excerpted from Summer Learning – Creative Ideas and Tools to Keep Your Child Learning all Summer Long)

Studies show that students lose up to two months of what they learned in school the previous year over the summer. If your child has any type of learning disability, they lose even more. How can you keep your child in learning mode while still allowing them the chance to enjoy their vacation?

Learning does not have to be boring!

Get Creative!
The more creative the project, the more your child is likely to retain what they are learning. And most times, they won’t even realize they are learning!

Book Club
Kids love to do things in packs. And I’ve yet to meet a kid who didn’t long to be part of a ‘club’. Find a book that your child and their friends might enjoy reading and set a weekly meet up time. Provide refreshments and be prepared to guide younger kids in topics about the chapter readings to discuss. Let older children and pre-teens run their own book club. Check out my blog for a summer reading list for all ages.

Order Free Books for Kindle, Nook, and Ipad
Just searching for free books is fun! Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer free books every day. The choices change daily and your kids will have fun checking out those websites to find free books to read on their reading devices.

Make up a Language
Most of us came up with a ‘secret’ language when we were kids. Fire your child’s imagination by having them create their own language. They can mix other languages together to form a new language. Or they can create their own alphabet and create a language from that. They can move the letters in the current alphabet around and come up with a new version of the language. Try removing all vowels and see what language you come up with – or remove a certain letter, say the letter ‘r’. Kids have great fun with this activity!

Make a Book
This is such a fun activity that the whole family can get involved with! Plan a children’s story or a book of family recipes. Help your child write out or type up pages for the book and then use a tool such as Story Jumper or Blurb to create an actual book.

Famous People Tea Party
Have a tea party with Emily Dickinson! Brainstorm with your child some famous people from around the world – Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry VIII, Cleopatra, Jesus or Moses, etc. Spend the week having your child study this person and then plan a theme party where the guests dress up from the time period. Your child can create art projects and costumes from the person’s life and time to include at the party. Come up with a creative invitation to send to guests and party favors that represent the famous person you chose.

Learn about blogging for kids
Get your child writing this summer. Good writing takes practice and keeping a journal is a great way to practice daily writing skills. Rather than spending hours on Facebook talking about their summer activities, have them keep a blog. They will learn about technology and practice their writing skills at the same time. They can share their blog with their friends.

Kids Learn To Blog; More information about helping kids under 13 create a blog. Information on how to write blog posts, add video, music and all kinds of all cool things.

Cook
Cooking is something everyone does at some point in their lives and it is the perfect place to learn about and exercise math skills. Children can learn about measurements (U.S. and Metric). They can learn about how heat affects ingredients, chemical changes, and physical changes to the food (for science). Plan a cooking session at least once a week and let your child measure out the ingredients. Bake something that requires your child to determine things like length (meatloaf or bread) and circumference (cookies, doughnuts, cakes).

Plant a Garden
Summer is a great time for flowers and vegetables of all kinds. Give your child some resources (see below) to plan a small vegetable garden. Allow them to plan what they will plant, what supplies they will need, and what is the best time to plant. Take them shopping for the supplies they need and encourage them to talk to a garden specialist at the store about what they are planning. After they have planted their garden, have them keep a notebook to collect data such as plant growth over time and how much their garden yields. They can use their notebooks next summer to remind them about what worked and what didn’t work. This is a fun activity for a group of children as well. Get all of the neighborhood kids involved!

Recycling
Many people recycle today, but there are many who have yet to learn the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. Research with your child how they can contribute to this cause by recycling. Plan a field trip to your local recycling center. Get the whole family in on the act. Find crafts that your children can do using recycled materials. Visit your local dump to show them just what happens when we don’t recycle. Take them around to thrift stores to find items that they can ‘recycle’ in art and craft projects.

Get more ideas for creative summer learning: Summer Learning – Creative Ideas and Tools to Keep Your Child Learning all Summer Long is only .99 cents!

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.
This entry was posted in Lesson Plans and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s