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Set Your Summer Fun Rays for Stun

by Jessica Parnell | May 19, 2017 | 4 min read

Summer vacation is a magical time to bring learning into play. When you inspire learning in this way, your children will be making memories, laughing and knee deep in fun at the same time! Here’s our list of summer activities to weave educational homeschool lessons into your family’s summer plans.

Extended Library Adventures

Once the kids jump into their summer schedules they get more time to get up close and personal with all the books and activities available right in your own local library. You’re never too young or old to visit a library! Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Increase interest by doing an adventurous topical scavenger hunt. Start by creating a ‘wish list’ of books you want.
  2. Tap into the incredible experience of your librarian–ask about what summer learning activities or books she would recommend for your child.
  3. Consider how you can align crafts and field trips aside the stories you choose. This way you bring to life the real excitement of reading.

These translate well into the coming school year where the books may not be there first choice when it comes to fun. Teaching a love of recreational reading by developing these ‘extended library adventures’ is an excellent way to schedule learning into your summer fun. Scan the shelves together and pick out a few. Check them out then walk to the closest park and sit down together under a shady tree to dive on in.

Get Your Grow On

Summer is the perfect time to teach children about gardening, the types of plants, the nutrition of soil and giving plants the right balance of nutrients, sunlight and fresh water. Build a small garden, venture out to pick out seeds or starter plants, put them in the ground with care and watch them grow. Start a ‘gardening journal’ to document growth each week and then at harvest time, pick out recipes to incorporate your homegrown produce into wonderful family meals you cook together. If you decide on planting flowers instead, make them into wreaths for the front door, bouquets for the house or flower crowns just for fun. Gardening is a rewarding activity for children of all ages, so get growing!

Start a Collection

A fun way to learn about nature is to take a nature adventure and start your own collection. No matter your child’s interests whether in land formations or rocks, insects or birds, trees or flowers, there is a whole world to explore and learn about. All of which can be a great way to teach them how to dig into their interests in a different way. If they love flowers, take them to a local greenhouse and document in their collections journal what flowers they find, what type of sunlight/nutrition they need, how big they get, what colors they grow in, etc. There are some incredible apps, books and museums to help connect the dots further. The possibilities are endless so get creative and let your kiddo’s interests take the lead!

Vacation Photo Vocation

Family vacations act as an ideal summer learning activity believe it or not. Before the visit, get a book from the library and teach them about what they are going to experience. Plan your trip to include historical landmarks and museums along the way. Historical sites are a great opportunity for them to get active while they learn about history, local culture geography, science, local artists/crafts, etc. Get them engage in some photography. When they get home work side-by-side to create a entertaining PowerPoint, scrapbook, video or slideshow to not only share with friends but also to keep those memories safe. 

Sidewalk Chalk + Water Balloons

For your little learners or just really overheated tweens, a fun, simple way to get outside and learn is with sidewalk chalk and water balloons. Both are fun and educational. Write some simple sight words (or more difficult vocabulary) on the sidewalk and tell your child to create a sentence or phrase out of them by hitting them with a water balloon. The splash is fun, and the opportunities for their creativity is endless! *Thanks to the Tickled Pink in Primary blog for the images. Check them out for more fun elementary level games/ideas.  

Turn Plastic Cups into Site Word Towers 

Re-use red plastic cups for more than just parties. You can make this game for sight words, math facts, letters, etc. Kids have fun just trying to stack up the cups, but add a squirt gun or again water balloons, and this game is a blast. Have your child read the sight word on top and try to knock it off by squirting it. They can then read all the way down to the bottom of the tower, trying to knock them all over. Then have them re-build the tower in sentences stacking the cups across. 

Don’t Miss the Zoo

Visiting the zoo or wild animal park with an educational plan in mind is an excellent way to learn fun facts and have a great day. Have your kids bring their notebooks and write down animal facts such as their habitat, their family groups, what they eat and then draw a picture or illustration. When you get home, you can have the kids go online to do more research about a few of their favorite animals and write a quick report or fictional story. Call your zoo before you head over to see if there are any special activities or installations. Even ask if your student could possibly interview a zookeeper while you are there.

Whatever fun and creative ways your family decides to learn and play this summer enjoy these quality moments! Before you know it, the chill will be back in the air and the daily school schedule will be back in full swing so snag a water balloon and a popsicle while you can.

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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