12 Fun Summer Learning Activities for Kids
Summer is the perfect time for unstructured learning. Without homework and testing, kids get a chance to follow their passion or explore different activities (possibly finding their passion along the way.) Here are twelve ideas to get the learning started.
Visit the NASA website.
The NASA Kids’ Club is filled with coloring sheets, games, and ideas for space-related fun. Don’t stop at the kids’ pages though. The site has enough material to fill an entire summer: images from the Hubble telescope, free teaching materials to download, and even social media and apps.
Go to a farmer’s market.
Make a trip to the market more fun by giving children a scavenger hunt list. Who can find the most unusual fruit or vegetable? Ask a farmer for his or her autograph. Find a food that is blue. Kids love to do useful things, so give them a shopping list for supper and let them work while you just supervise.
Learn to knit.
Knitting is a practical skill as well as a creative outlet. Kids who learn to knit will be more content on rainy days as they have something to do with their hands. One of the best books for learning this skill is Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick. For younger children, get some knitting spools or small knitting looms at a craft store.
Volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue.
Many shelters will allow kids to volunteer along with a parent. Call your local shelter to ask about age requirements and volunteer training. Volunteers are always needed to walk dogs and socialize cats. Children too young to volunteer can still help. Take them to shop for pet food or other items from a rescue organization’s wish list, then let then help deliver it.
Check out local church activities.
Many churches offer week-long Vacation Bible School, summer camps for children, or recreational sports programs. Call a local house of worship or visit their website to see what is available for children. Most churches also post a statement of faith so you can decide if the environment is right for your own family.
Visit a local college.
You don’t have to be in college to enjoy some of the amenities. If you live near a college, find out about summer sports camps for kids. Many campuses also have art collections open to the public—a great free indoor activity.
Join a summer reading program.
Most local libraries have summer reading programs with incentives to encourage kids. Some also offer weekly activities or story times to reinforce the book club theme for the summer. Book stores sometimes offer programs as well.
Take on a home project.
Kids like to do adult things like help with painting and simple repairs around the house. Spend some time teaching kids to hang a framed picture so it is straight or to sand and paint a small piece of furniture.
Cook from scratch.
In a world full of processed foods, cooking is becoming a lost skill. Bake some brownies without a mix or peel and cook fresh carrots and potatoes. Teach basic kitchen safety along the way.
Grow a plant.
Even if you have no space for a garden, kids can plant herbs or flowers in pots and care for them as they grow. A trip to a garden center or nursery is educational and fun, too.
Get a pet.
This is a big commitment, so make kids do research first. They need to understand feeding and care and commit to training and cleaning up. If your family is ready for a new member, the learning will be ongoing!
Visit the lonely.
Children benefit from interactions with people both older and younger than their peers. Take them to visit elderly neighbors or homebound children. Go with a mission, e.g. ask Mrs. Smith what it was like growing up on a farm.