12 Ways to Keep Learning Over the Summer

Over the years we have compiled and provided dozens of ideas to “keep ’em learning” over the summer months (see additional resources at the bottom). While some DIY Homeschoolers will choose to homeschool year round making this a much easier task, others will choose to stay in sync with the population at large. So for those who are interested, here are 12 ways to help your children and students keep learning through the summer:

1. Travel kit with math wrap-ups.

Math Wrap-ups

There are two things I loved about math wrap-ups. First, they travel easy. Stick them anywhere and they fit. Easy to grab, throw in a book or travel bag, and no mess for car trips.

The second is that they are tactile. They keep little hands busy — rather important on long car rides.

And for the summer you can add that they keep minds busy! Don’t forget the facts!

These math wrap-ups come in all kinds of flavors. You can get the entire kit or just focus on the thing your child needs now.

2. Educational games.

Summer Fun Activity: Scavenger Hunt!
Summer Fun Activity: Scavenger Hunt!

Summer is a perfect time to focus on fun. And fun doesn’t have to imply a lack of learning!

Some of our favorite educational games include rainy-day board games, thinking software games and apps, and scavenger hunts of all types:

3. Puzzle books.

Sudoku Puzzles

Everything from Sudoku to puzzles to word games and more can be found in an easy-to-carry puzzle book.

Among our favorite types of puzzle books are those made by Klutz. Everything in one spiral-bound book that fit easily into a carry-around.

You might also be interested in Amusements in Mathematics, a public domain puzzle book.

4. Graded all-in-one workbooks.

Grade 1 Workbook

My mother would purchase one of these for my brother and I each year to work through over the summer during rainy days or as we traveled. They tend to be very colorful and not overly scholastic. But they are also surprisingly interesting all things considered.

Some of those who educate at home use them as a regular part of course work. In our own home we used these types of books to supplement an area that needed focus or just to mix things up for fun.

Either way, they make a great summer refresher!

5. Summer reading list.

10 Favorite "Robinson Crusoe" Books
10 Favorite Robinson Crusoe Books

You have one, right? If not, take a look at several of the reading lists out there and use them to create one for each child. You can peruse books about books, or reading lists here, or visit your favorite books store.

Our favorites include Robinson Crusoe books! Also check out our summer reading challenge if you are short on ideas.

6. Science experiments.

Summer Fun Activity: Watermelon Science

Conducting science experiments is just easier during the summer when you have the time to gather resources, get outside (where some of these things are simply safer), and have the time to dig in.

Another advantage of science experiments is that they are typically very multidisciplinary in nature. Your children will be learning more than just science.

We have gathered a wide variety of science experiments over the years — particularly those geared toward the summer months: Watermelon Science?

There are also several books around that make it easy to conduct science experiments:

7. Visit historical sites.

Tour the Postal Museum
Tour the Postal Museum

History is more real when you are there. The National Park Service is a great place to start when it comes to finding historical sites in your area worth visiting. Many of these can be reached in a few hours.

If a day trip is out of the question, you can always travel virtually!

8. Mini units.

Unit Studies

Unit studies offer an easy way for the family to learn together while each child works at his own level. They are also great for summer learning!

If you haven’t tried a unit study, summer is a great time to dive in. You will likely want to start with a mini unit (or shorter/less in-depth unit).

We offer over 200 free units — one of which will likely cover something you and your family are interested in. You will find other options in our Units section.

9. Nature walks.

27 Free Nature Study eBooks

It’s summer. Get outside! You may want to take this handy wildlife observation form with you on your walk. Other nature ideas and resources for summer:

10. Bug collection.

Insect Identification {Free Interactive}
Insect Identification {Free Interactive}

And speaking of getting outside, there are plenty of bugs to collect and/or investigate during the summer!

11. Pursue a passion.

6 Ways to Encourage Your Children to Pursue Their Interests

One of our favorite things to do during the summer was to really dig into each child’s particular passion. Practicing a learning lifestyle during the summer helped us carry that mindset on through the fall.

  • What is your child currently into?
  • What resources could he use to dig in deeper?
    • Books?
    • Kits?
    • Educational videos, games, or apps?
  • Provide notebooks and other resources to help him record what he learns.

For example, if your child loves following baseball, he might find Baseball Math: Grandslam Activities and Projects for Grades 4-8 a fun way to practice math skills! (We really enjoyed this one.)

KNex Simple Machines

If your child struggles to identify a particular interest, try a few new ideas, such as:

Other helps for encouraging your child to pursue his passion:

12. Consult a What-To-Do-This-Summer book.

If you still find yourself looking for fresh ideas, there are always those who have done the legwork for us.

Many of these types of books are in the public domain. (Don’t be put off that many of these older titles declare themselves geared toward “boys.” They work for girls, too!)

Additional Resources

7 Easy Summer Learning Strategies
More ideas!

8 Ways to Supplement Your Math Program
Lots of ways to keep learning this summer!

Summer Fun Activity: Make a Travel Kit
Learn on the road!

10 Ways to Learn During “Car Time”
More travel ideas.

22 Ways to Keep Your Children Learning This Summer
A few favorites.

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