Fun Ways To Play & Learn In the Summer Time

We’ve been in summer mode for just over a month now. Summer, oh glorious, beautiful, summer. I am pretty sure I love summer 100 times more as a teacher than I ever did as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I love homeschooling, structure, and schedules but something about summer makes me want to toss all of that out and enjoy the freedom of not having an agenda.

The flip side is that as much as I would like to toss all things educational out the window during the summer months, I know I would have many regrets come August. Today I want to share with you ways that we continue learning through the summer months that keep things simple, practical, fun and the girls hardly even realize it’s actually school work. 

Fun ways to play & learn in the summer time. Simple ideas to encourage learning in kids of all ages.


* Summer reading programs //

Most libraries have a summer reading program for the months of June and July offering rewards for books read and activities completed. We’ve been doing this for years now and the girls love it.

* Nature Centers //

Nature centers are a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and learn. Just be sure to plan this as a morning activity to avoid the heat

* Computer Games //

I am not a huge fan of computer time or games but if the learning is educational, I don’t mind making and exception. This is one of my favorite ways to trick the girls into doing school work. We really like this website.

* Topical Studies //

The summer is one of the best times to study something that the girls are really interested in that we likely wouldn’t add into our normal school schedule. From books to YouTube videos we can learn all they want to know. 

* Science Centers //

Science centers are an amazing tool for hands on learning. Often my girls just want to run all over like crazy and see all the things but I always try to pick out a few exhibits along the way to look at a little deeper with them. 

* Book Report Rewards //

It started out as a great idea, or so I thought. Summer reading could mean summer book reports! But Marissa wasn’t really a fan… until I promised a reward. For every 5 book reports she turns in she gets some kind of reward. The rewards are TBD that girl is a book-worm so I am excited to see how this goes. 

* Zoo Trips

We don’t have a zoo around here and haven’t been to a zoo for about a year now, but I know that if we did weekly trips would be a must. I am hoping that we can squeeze in a zoo trip at some point over the summer since the girls are huge animal lovers. Maybe we could even squeeze in an educational scavenger hunt while we are there. 

* Science Experiments

Summer is the perfect time to work on all of the science projects I have pinned. There are so many that we have yet to get too. Adding in a science project a week is our goal. Plus the messier ones could easily be done outside. For science project ideas check out my science pin-board.

* Grow Something

It’s no fun studying trees and plants in the middle of winter. Summer time is the perfect time to study all things plant related from leaves and parts of plants to learning how to grow and take care of a garden. 

* Art Projects

Weekly art projects are a great way to encourage creativity. From learning to draw, paint, creating collages, and sculptures the opportunities are endless. Need some inspiration? Visit an art gallery, pick a painting, then go home and try to recreate it.

Talking about fun way to play and learn in the #summer on the blog. #TeachingTogether #SummerSchool. Click To Tweet

How do you encourage learning over the summer months in your home?

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Now it’s your turn to link-up what you have been learning about for this months Teaching Together!

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I want to give a big thanks to this months “Summer School” Guest host, Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me.

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33 thoughts on “Fun Ways To Play & Learn In the Summer Time

  1. Great learning ideas. There are numerous ones I can do with Cam and I love that. I’m excited to participate in our local libraries reading program this year. I feel like Cam is finally old enough to understand. 🙂 And I totally missed this for this month. I have some things almost ready, but I thought it was next week. Dangit.

    1. Our reading program is a little lame compared to some of the others I have heard of, but hey the kids don’t know any different at all :P. I think the link up is open for a week. It’s not too late to join the fun!

  2. Love these ideas! Summer is definitely the time to be more relaxed, but learning can be so much fun! I love the idea of doing more hands on learning in the summer. Might as well use the extra time to go on adventures and learn through experience 🙂

  3. Such s great list!
    We hit up science centers pretty frequently. I love that Marcus just thinks he’s playing when I know he’s actually learning.

  4. We have plans to go the children’s discovery museums in our area. There is on in Indy… we should meet there one Summer. How far is Indy from you?

    1. 8 hours! I have never been there either. How far is Louisville from you? We were joking around about going to a car show there and I noticed it looked “relatively close”.

  5. So the only thing about living in such a large city is that most of the aforementioned activities are way pricey or just isn’t worth the car ride when you have baby in tow that still needs a daily nap. We still have great little adventures in the ‘burbs though. 😉

    1. I think it really is one way or the other. St. Louis has TONS of free things to do including their science center and the zoo. It is amazing. Joplin on the other hand has no zoo, no science center and not a lot else to offer. We have to drive an hour away to get those things and they are pricey. Bleck. We just do the best we can and turn things like those into “special treats”.

  6. My plan is to do lots of reading, playing outside, and the occasional workbook so that she doesn’t forget how to add and subtract over the summer :p Otherwise we’ll just go wherever the wind blows us!

    1. That’s all I’ve ever done in the past too. Recently as Marissa has became more independent I’ve expanded her options. Things just aren’t fun when they equal lots of work (and clean-up) for mom.

  7. For my primatology class in college one of our projects was to go to the zoo and observe a primate species for an hour – we came up with a focus and observable behavior charts etc. If you do make it to the zoo maybe you can do a quicker version. Ask the girls what behaviors they think they will see and then watch for 10-15 minutes or so. I picked red ruffed lemurs and they are one of my favorites to this day. I don’t think Aria would at all be into this yet but maybe the girls are old enough to like it.

  8. I use to keep the learning up too when my girls were younger. Library reading programs were a given and I would create my own incentive for reading too at home. Rewards – always worked. Since you don’t have a zoo nearby have you ever thought of having them volunteer at an animal shelter in your area? One summer our girls did that, walked the dogs, helped stock the rooms, etc. and they not only learned the value of volunteering and working, but they were able to spend time with dogs and cats. Win win for me, since we didn’t have pets then. I know each shelter has their rules for ages, but it’s worth looking into.

    1. That is another great idea. I will definitely have to check into this when Emily is just a little bit older. We are also a no pet family so this would benefit us in that area as well.

  9. So many great ideas! We do many of the same things over the Summer. I planned a bunch of at-home activities over the Summer to keep my kids busy. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  10. I love your list! We don’t do any camps during the summer. It is just too expensive and so I have learned how to do some fun and cheap things here at home to keep the kids learning and having fun!

  11. I love this list! We definitely take advantage of local’s day at our kid’s and natural science museums! Hmm I’m intrigued about these book reports… fingers crossed they go well!

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