Summer Learning Fun!

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School may be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean that the learning ends!

Over the years I have experimented time and time again with summer learning. There has been everything from great success stories to complete failures. I have absolutely bored my kids to death and sparked new interests. We have put the focus too much on learning forgetting to make things fun and we have gone days on end with no learning at all.

5 years later, I feel like we are finally in a system that has balance. Today I want to show you a few ways that we plan to have fun with summer learning this year.

Before I share my list, I have two things to say about summer learning. 

#1 Know your schedule

If we are going to get anything accomplished, it has to be done in the morning. The afternoons usually mean we end up at the pool and once we get home the rest of our day is a blur. Making the most of our morning hours is always a good idea. 

#2 Keep things fun

Nothing wrecks the summer fun like pressure to perform and work that stresses a kid out. Trust me, I know this first hand 😳 . Keeping things fun and playful during the summer gives moms and students the break they so desperately need. 

Since my kids are “older”  πŸ˜₯ most of these activities are going to be best for kids ages 4 or 5-12.

Mad Libs

Remember these things?! Knowing how hard our oldest kids have been working to learn the parts of the speech, Anna and I decided Mad Libs Junior would be a GREAT way to keep those skills sharp over the summer.

Car Games

We spend more time in the car during the summer months than any other time of the year. Why not make use of that time?! From drilling multiplication tables to state capitals it is the perfect chance to squeeze in a little bit of extra work. 

Summer Classes

Several nature centers, science centers, art centers, and libraries offer free summer learning classes during the summer months. Be sure to see what is available in your area. 

Explode The Code

Keeping reading skills sharp during the summer months is really important for young readers. We have always been HUGE fans of Explode the Code phonics. They have both workbooks and an online program that are equally amazing. 

Sheppard Software

Sheppard is one of my favorite hidden gems. Thanks to their US Geography games Marissa knows where the states all go WAY better than I do. She creams me each time we try level four (give it a try, you know you want to). Sheppard has tons of absolutely free games and resources that you should definitely check out!

Summer Reading

Have I mentioned just how much I love summer reading?! I think I probably have πŸ˜‰ . Be sure to check your local library for summer reading clubs that usually run during the months of July and August. 

Nature Walks

One of my goals for the future is to brush up my nature skills. Being able to identify trees, plants, birds… maybe even snakes. Why not practice and learn with your kids?! Look for tracks, collect leaves or flowers, go on a nature scavenger hunt. Exploring is one of the best ways to learn.

Science Centers/ Art Museums

When you are trying to stay cool in the heat of the summer make sure you check out a science center or maybe even an art museum. You are bound to find something interesting to see or do.

Educational Shows

Turning TV time into educational time is one of the oldest mom tricks in the book. A few of my favorite programs are Liberty Kids, Wild Kratts, and I am super excited to introduce my girls to Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego soon.  

Journaling

Creative writing can be one of Marissa’s least favorite things to do so I have to be sneaky. One way I do this is with a Marissa and Mommy notebook. I write her a note, leave it by her bed and then she writes me one back and we repeat. It is a fun way to communicate and work on writing skills. I never correct her errors when we do this. I just smile and take it as practice. It has been such a sweet way to communicate over the past year. 

What is your favorite way to keep your kids learning during the summer?

Sharing my favorite ways to encourage #summer learning on the blog today! #schoolsout #TuesTalk Click To Tweet

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  • Love this list- mad gabs are a fave around here and we just started the journaling on this trip. I need to try the nature wall!

    • We found OOOOooooddles of deer tracks yesterday on our land. I was shocked at how many. Either that or the one had a dance party,lol. Emily kept seeing bigger ones and telling me it was a moose track. I told her we weren’t in Canada, lololol!

  • Lizzie Simantz

    Great ideas and I totally agree about the morning! I plan to do some practice work/reading/worksheets in the morning then have the rest of our day for fun! Brayden is in a few camps and one is at our nature center so that is going to be awesome for him!

    • That is SO great. I really wish we had more classes available around here. Morning are definitely best for being productive for sure!

  • Love these ideas! I totally need to get he library to sign my girls up for the summer reading program. I also have to remember to go back and get our papers checked off….

  • These are wonderful ideas, Beth! Never even heard of mad libs before. I have to get it!

    • Totally check them out. I bet y’all would LOVE them.

  • Have fun teaching even when you’re not officially teaching πŸ™‚ A mom’s job never ends!

    • No it doesn’t. At least in the summer I get to be a bit more laid back though, thank goodness!

  • What great ideas Beth! You know I am LOVING this post! I really try to be intentional with my kiddos and mornings work the best for us as well. I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

    • I knew you would like this post :). If it doesn’t happen in the morning it just doesn’t happen. I learned that the hard way. Thank you!

  • I LOVE that journal back and forth, so going to do this when my kids get to a better writing age!

    • Yes! I bet you will be there before you know it!

  • Great ideas! I really want to start a journal!

    • You totally should Becky. We attempted it around the second grade and it went pretty well!

  • The Marissa and Mommy notebook has to be the sweetest thing ever. I will have to try to do this with Jacob now that he is almost old enough!

    • Definitely. I bet some of the notes would be the cutest ever! We started ours around second grade, but Marissa had just turned 7!

  • Im getting all my summer learning resources together too! I just discovered the Early Reader section at our library and Im excited for Kinsey to utilize it! Ill be checking out the websites too.

    • Aaaahhhhh that is just the sweetest friend. It is so fun to have kids that can read. I bet she will be reading up a storm to her sister and brother soon!

      • She has been doing so good, it really gets me emotional lol. She IS reading to Brielana even if Bea doesnt care lol

  • Thank you for these ideas! I’m working on figuring out our summer schedule and would like to incorporate some of these. Simon loves computer games so I’m going to look at those! That level 4 is definitely hard – no borders shown! He also has wanted to write me letters back and forth so I think starting a journal with him will definitely be on the itinerary!

    • Isn’t level 4 so hard! She does such a good job with it. The journal sounds PERFECT for you guys! Just grab a notebook and let him decorate it or do it together. Glad I could give you some useful ideas. I was hoping they’d be helpful to at least one person, lol!

  • Great tips! We keep up our reading and writing over the Summer, but Mad Libs is a great idea!

    • I thought so too! I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before!

  • Jessica

    Yes yes yes! Great tips and ones I use myself. I hadn’t thought of Mad Libs. I loved those growing up. πŸ™‚

    • Weren’t they so much fun. I really can’t believe that I hadn’t thought of it before. I can’t wait to get ours and start the fun!

  • Heather Bramlett

    What great tips! I’m really hoping the summer reading club will help Ella! I struggle with things to do for Ian!

    • Oh I imagine that age would be SO hard. The summer reading club was such a great idea. I am so glad y’all put that together. Marissa has LOVED it and loved the idea that other girls her age were reading the same book.

  • These are wonderful tips! I am going to do some of these with Mason this summer. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing.

    • I bet Mason would love to share a journal with you! So glad you found some useful ideas!

  • Oh. these are good! I found a few new apps and software ideas. I am so excited for summer! We are going to be lazy sloths for a while, but then we will get our act together πŸ™‚

    • Lazy sloths, lololol! Sounds like an amazing plan if you ask me!