When it comes time for summer break there is no reason for kids to stop learning. Even if they are not in school there are many great educational activities kids will love being involved with and that will keep them learning over the summer. When my children participate in these activities I often find myself learning also. Some educational activities are great to do as a family and allow you to experience new adventures together. Here are a few ideas for educational activities you and your children can get involved in this summer.
Summer Educational Activities Kids Will Love:
1. The Aquarium
Like the zoo the aquarium is a great place for kids to see some animals up close and personal. Turtles, sharks, rays, huge fish and other remarkable creatures can all be found at the aquarium. Talk to your kids about the ocean and how deep it is. Discuss how big fish can get and where they live. Talk about fresh water versus salt water and what fish live where. Boys especially love to see piranha and everyone loves to shudder over the octopus. You can even cover things like the differences between mammals and fish, by pointing out that a dolphin is actually a mammal. Some aquariums are hands on too. Kids can touch a ray, a sea urchin or a star fish. Even toddlers will enjoy a dry trip underwater and marvel at the huge wall of water being held back by clear glass.
2. The Zoo
Going to the zoo is one of my favorite summer educational activities kids love because I love it too! Most children have a fascination for animals and the zoo can provide a great teaching opportunity. Learn along with your children by reading the plaques stationed outside of the animal’s quarters. Observe how and what they eat and how they behave. Talk about differences and similarities between the animals. After you get home sit down with your kids and look up facts about the animals they saw. One of my children was scared of the dark but loved bats. By getting her to enter the dark bat habitat, where she was rewarded by seeing her favorite animal, she overcame a lot of her fear. Snakes, bugs, lions and other scary creatures can be confronted from the safety of a glass partition and can help children to overcome fear. But zoos are not just for learning about animals. You can help kids learn cultures and geography as well. Have them point out on a map where each animal comes from, talk about how the animals live with the people of that region and really give your children a grasp of the Earth and all its variations.
3. The Farm
Another of the great educational activities kids will enjoy is a trip to a farm. For city folks like us, a farm is a real experience. Kids can milk a cow, gather eggs, ride a pony, feed pigs and hundreds of other things. My kids loved to go to the farm to pick berries. Of course they ate more than they brought home but everyone had fun. Kids get to learn how the food they eat is grown, where milk and cheese comes from, and even see what it feels like to be a cowboy. By giving kids a glimpse of the hard work it takes to make food they often have a greater appreciation for it.
Once you get home from the farm you can bring the lesson home with you by teaching kids gardening skills. Visiting the farm garden can help kids to really understand how food grows and how much time and effort goes into it. They can start gardening by planting a bean plant or something equally fast growing. My kids love to grow strawberries and tomatoes. By the time the harvest rolls around they will be chomping at the bit to taste their fruits and veggies. That is one way to get them to eat more greens! Help kids to learn the differences between good plants and weeds, how to take care of the soil, how and when to water, and what bugs to watch out for. These educational summer activities kids will love can easily become year round with things like pumpkin for fall and happy spring flowers. You can also teach kids how to put away your abundant crops, for example, how to can tomatoes.
5. The Children’s Museum
Another great venue for younger children to learn and have fun is a children’s museum. It is full of educational activities kids will love with hands-on-learning at its best. Kids can learn about tornadoes, shop in their very own grocery store and learn about money and finances, build something, climb a rock wall, play with water, do science experiments and much more. Your local museum usually has great summer workshops and activities on top of that, so check it out! The museum near us even has one day a week where families can visit for free, which is a great savings.
6. The Art Museum
For older kids why not check out the art museum? Classic art is a great way to talk to your kids about different periods in history. Discuss how they viewed beauty and what they were focused on. Talk about art styles and painting techniques. You can even discuss the artists, where they came from, how old they were when they started, and how they lived their lives. Modern art is a fun way to interest kids in art. Many modern art museums offer interactive displays where kids can change the art itself. Colorful pieces, huge sculptures and funny images are all over a modern art museum. Talk to your kids about how color affects your mood, discuss why the artist may have chosen to create the art, or try to figure out what the piece represents. You may be surprised at the creative ideas your kids come up with. There are even outdoor art museums that give active kids a chance to run and play while learning and seeing new things. And some art museums have interactive areas specifically designed to let kids explore making art. Many have free admission for children.
7. The Science Museum
Another of my favorite Summer Educational Activities Kids Will Love is visiting the science museum. There is so much to see and do at the science museum that we visit several times every summer. They often have exciting traveling displays like King Tut’s tomb, wreckage from the Titanic and so much more. But our all-time favorites have to be the dinosaur exhibit and the rock displays. What can be more fun and educational for a dinosaur enthusiast than to see life sized fossils up close and personal. Discuss what dinos ate, where they lived, how big they were and more. See how the bones were found, look at a dino foot print and imagine what they sounded like. The rock displays are also a big hit. Glow in the dark rocks, jewels of all kinds, huge colorful displays and tiny intricate pebbles, even a meteorite! One of my children collects rocks and could spend all day just reading the little tags that describe the origins of each display. Moving on from that is the butterfly exhibit where thousands of live butterflies flutter, eat and land around you. Try to spot all the varieties and point out what kind of flowers they like to eat. The hall of extinct animals is also a hit with kids as they get to see strange creatures they never dreamed of. Try to explain conservation and discuss how they can help keep other animals from disappearing.
8. Nature and Parks
Still want more SummerEducational Activities Kids Will Love? Stick with the theme of animals and conservation and visit your local park. A nature preserve can be a great place to teach your children all kinds of things. Take a guided tour and learn about the different animals that call the area home. Keep a look out for tracks and identify them. Look for wildlife and birds, listen for birdcalls, and try to keep your eyes open for lizards and turtles. Many nature preserves and arboretums also have a small museum that is fun for kids to explore. Often more affordable or even free; these parks offer you and your children a great opportunity to learn about the nature in your area. Identify native trees and flowers and talk to your kids about ecology.
9. Summer Camp
If you want your kids to get a taste of independence or you just can’t afford to take a lot of time off from work a summer camp can be just the ticket. There are a wide variety of camps for kids of all ages. Science camp, math camp, sports camps, and just general camps all have learning in mind. Help your kids to strengthen their social skills and meet new people. Let them experience roughing it or learning to better apply their skills. There are Day Camps and Sleep Away Camps (use this summer camp checklist.) Summer camp is often one of the educational activities kids will remember for a lifetime and is not only educational but fun too!
Another one of the Summer Educational Activities Kids Will Love is volunteering. Helping your kids to become good citizens starts at home. Volunteering in your neighborhood is a great way to teach kids the value of what they have. Food banks and charities are always in need of good volunteers. Older kids can help build a house for the homeless or tutor underprivileged kids. They can even volunteer overseas and be immersed in a whole new culture as you help to dig a well and bring clean food and water to an area. Feed the hungry, teach others, encourage soldiers, or build something that will last. Volunteering is a great learning experience no matter what they choose to do.
11. Summer Crafts For Kids
Buy some cheap paint, pens, paper, glue and glitter supplies then challenge your kids to make something interesting! There are lots of easy crafts to do with kids. A time capsule is an idea that will excite and inspire youngsters. Explain the concept and let them leave individual letters, pictures and their own artwork to entertain future treasure hunters. Let them produce whatever they want but try to steer them gently towards something educational. Children naturally enjoy painting, drawing and making things, so crafts are an easy way to boost brain power. An important benefit of art is that the concentration it requires increases attention span. This is will be beneficial for them when they go back to school, and will help their teacher out no-end.
12. Read Books
Educational activities kids will love must include reading! Make a trip to the library a regular occurrence and let your kids choose appropriate books that they are interested in. Giving them the choice and encouraging them to read will give an added motivation. The library is free of distractions like the TV and an inexpensive alternative to buying brand new books. Let your child read to you on a regular basis to check their progress and reward them accordingly to keep them interested. What better way to get some peace and quiet whilst helping your child to practice their reading skills. Reading is something that we can do anywhere, anytime, and it has intelligence-boosting potential. Not only does it improve a child’s breadth of language, but it teaches them about the world, emotions and interpersonal relationships. You can make reading fun by assigning everybody a character, putting on accents, and acting the story out. Time Out has compiled a list of the 50 best books for kids. If your kids are not strong readers, try getting them into a story that they may already know so that that they can follow along more easily and enjoy the extra details.
13. Bake Off
If there’s one thing kids love it’s anything sweet such as chocolate and cakes. You name it they’ll eat it. So why not let them get creative in the kitchen to see if they can rustle up something yummy for you both to enjoy. Start with something simple like chocolate chip cookies before advancing. Try healthy snacks too such as fruit filled jelly pots or scrambled eggs. Measuring out the correct quantities and fractions will refresh the kids’ maths memories in a subtle way. Remember never to leave your children unsupervised in the kitchen. In the long run you never know you might have the next Great Baker on your hands and they will be building skills they can always use.
14. Sports Day
Getting your kids active is the perfect way to stop them from complaining that they’re bored. Invest in a swing ball or trampoline for the garden so you can keep an eye on them or take them to the local pool for a swim. If you’re feeling even more adventurous why not organize a sports day for the kids and all their friends with different races for different prizes. Break the day up with a picnic in the park. By the end of the day your kids will be too worn out to whinge of boredom! Later on get them to record their scores and make graphs or charts to practice their data collection skills.
15. Talk to Your Kids To Build Brainpower
This might sound simple, but it means more than just chit-chat. Our intelligence and understanding is often developed through our conversations with others. Get their brains working by asking them ‘why?’. Requesting that they explain their decisions and opinions will make them think about them more. Explain your plans and use some big words to help them expand their vocabulary.
16. Teach Kids To Make Healthy Snacks
Another of my favorite summer educational activities kids can do is learn to make themselves healthy snacks. During busy term-time, healthy eating routines can start to slip. The summer holidays are a chance to instil good habits in your kids. Teach them how to make healthy snacks, tasty dishes that are good for them, and try new things as a family. Certain foods such as oily fish are recommended for increasing brain power.
17. Get Kids Interested In A New Sport
Physical activity is important for your child’s health, and better health equals better brainpower. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves brain function and stimulates activity in important areas. Whilst children should always be doing the recommended level of exercise, the holidays are your chance to get them out and about as much as possible. You could even take the opportunity to get them interested and learning about a new sport.
18. Play Strategy Games
Games are brilliant for your child’s brain, requiring strategic thinking, puzzle solving, memory, and concentration. Scientists tell us that games such as cards and chess help the brain form new neural connections. This is a great incentive to spend lots of time playing together.
19. Encourage Problem Solving
Problem-solving is an indispensable skill. In the working world we are confronted by problems every day, and successful people are good at overcoming them. Ask young child to come up with solutions to minor problems they face, such as losing a toy. Give older children a challenge that will help around the house. Ask them to implement a recycling program for your house or come up with ways of conserving energy. Alternatively, encourage them to be creative and solutions to really big real problems. You never know just what they may come up with. Boosting their ability to solve issues themselves will help them in the future. You can role play with them how they might behave when meeting new people or facing a child who says something mean.
There are lots of ways to ensure that your children continue learning during breaks from school. These activities can fit in with your everyday life, and make learning entertaining. I hope you find these ideas for summer educational activities kids will love useful to you and that you and your family enjoy some great family time. From day trips to extended commitments there is always learning to be done. Learn and grow along with your children and make learning an activity for the whole family! Do you have any other ideas for summer educational activities kids enjoy?