Even though summer has only just begun, the last few months of e-learning have made it feel a lot longer, and the usual challenge of keeping kids engaged and learning over the school-free months that much harder. Fortunately, our extended time at home has also served to highlight the many great resources available to help our kids learn and explore outside of a traditional school setting. Below are five of our favorite summer learning activities to keep kids engaged and having fun over the coming months – all with a travel twist to keep exposing those young minds to a spirit of adventure from an early age!
Summer is the time to play outside, and fortunately, the natural world offers plenty of scope for exploration and learning. Kids can collect or take pictures of leaves, plants, or bugs around the yard or neighborhood, then come home and do a little research to see what they’ve discovered. Create a neighborhood bingo or scavenger hunt to make this outdoor discovery even more exciting, and encourage your kids to find particular plants or animals often found in your area – an oak leaf, a cicada shell, a dandelion, or a red robin, for example. A fun travel-related extension could be to research whether these neighborhood inhabitants are native to other parts of the world as well.
Practice Typing Skills
No doubt about it, kids today need to know how to type. Computers are such a big part of our day-to-day lives that it is important to help our kids develop this crucial skill, which they will use over and over again at school, in future jobs, and for keeping in touch with family and friends. Of course, if you want to sell your kids on summertime typing practice, it helps to make it fun…enter, typing games! There are a wide variety of free typing games for kids online, so whether your kids prefer racing cars, shooting hoops or ninja-slicing fruit, they are sure to find one they’ll enjoy. Many of these games offer real-time competitions against friends, too, and are available worldwide, making them a fun way to hang out virtually with friends and family in other countries.
Easy Science Experiments
Keep kids curious and asking questions all summer long by trying any number of easy science experiments using stuff you already have around the house. The classic baking soda volcano experiment can easily double as a world geography lesson, too, if you ask the kids to recreate (and perhaps give you a quick report about?) a particular volcano using any materials they choose. Dirt and rocks from outside, legos, playdough, paper mache – get creative researching and building the volcano, and enjoy the explosive demonstration of chemistry in action once it’s done!
Activity books are a classic summer bridge activity for a reason. Good kids’ activity books will keep children busy and learning at their own pace, and you can find one to fit most any age and interest, whether you’ve got a math kid or an art whiz, a Minecraft fan or Star Wars. Travel enthusiasts might especially enjoy books such as the Go! My Adventure Travel Journal, which uses prompts to help kids observe and record special moments in their travels – even if it’s just a local family nature hike. Kid’s subscription boxes offer similar benefits, along with corresponding hands-on activities to drive the lessons home. For example, the Little Passports subscription box is available for kids ages 3-12 and offers activity booklets and souvenirs to help young explorers discover different countries around the world.
Read, Read, Read
Read inside, read outside! Read in a box, read with a fox! Well, maybe not with a fox, but definitely take advantage of the warm summer days to read outside! Lay out a blanket, prepare some refreshing lemonade or watermelon slices, and let the kids enjoy a relaxing afternoon outdoors with a good book.
Turn reading into a family affair, too, by completing a family reading challenge and seeing how many books everyone can read over the summer. Or, consider starting a family book club, where everyone takes turns picking a book for the whole family to read, which you then discuss over a fun family activity. Pick your favorites from a list of the best children’s books by age, or check out our selection of books to inspire exploration and spark imagination! Either way, reading together is a wonderful way to encourage lifelong readers, and help our children along the path to greater reading fluency and comprehension.
If you enjoyed these summer learning activities, check out these other great options from the Bébé Voyage blog as well!