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Summer Learning Tips

When school is out of session, it is good to keep children engaged with fun educational activities. This guide contains summer learning tips.
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August 7, 2009 Flag

These are my tips for continuing your child's education throughout the summer.

Play Math BINGO, I made mine from the plain (inside) cardboard on cereal boxes. I made squares and put numbers in each square. On small pieces of paper I wrote out all the multiplication facts through the 12's. The caller reads the problem, such as "6 x 6", and the kids look at their card. If they have a 36 on their card, they cover it (we use pennies as our covers). You could vary this game according to your child's math level for addition or subtraction.

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Keep a critter's notebook. Each week or every few days, add a new animal or insect. You can add coloring sheets, research the animal in books or on line and write a report about it. My kids are older so their book is divided into the various animal kingdoms, and each animal is put behind the proper tab. You can take this with you when you visit the zoo and take animal pictures to add to your pages or to create new pages.

Discuss various businesses and call ahead to arrange for field trips. My kids have visited the bank, post office, grocery store, feed store, vets office, doctors office. By asking for a tour, you get to see the "back rooms", have inventory and business practices explained to the kids on their level. Many businesses, such as banks and the post office also have free literature to give to kids.

Have the kids shop. This uses home-ec, finances, math skills. Give them each a list, money and have them look for coupons and the best deals.

Discuss nutrition and have the kids each plan a menu for a day or week or month (depending on their ages). Then, they can shop and cook or help cook what they picked. Menus must meet the food recommendations.

Build medical models. We have built several skeletons and various organs. Older kids can learn the names of the bones. Get a newspaper end roll from your local paper. Lay out a long piece. Have the kids lay down and you can trace their body. Then they can color it all in. Little ones put on their face and clothes. Older kids draw in their organs and bones. Can be hung on their bedroom doors when finished.

See if your local library has a summer reading program, or a kid's book club. Read out loud together as a family. Also read a book, then see if the library has a movie of that book. You can discuss how it was the same and different. Learn the books of the Bible

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Watch "Mr Smith goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart in it. It's an old clean movie that describes how the government works. Pick out several presidents and study them.

Find some educational place mats in the housewares area at Walmart. They have for 99 cents ones with the presidents, solar system, map of the world and more. Rotate them out every few days.

Get a free state map from your license bureau. Look up interesting areas in your state and then visit them in person or on line. Do you have a state park nearby? Visit the ranger station. It is free at most parks.

Have kids gather leaves. Take rubbings and then look up and find out what the leaves were from. Learn animal tracks, poisonous snakes and plants, then take what you learned with you and go camping.

Find the oldest cemetery around you and visit it. Read the tombstones. Who was the oldest? Who was the youngest? What is the oldest grave you can find? If you find a lot of people died the same year find out why? What illness or weather pattern killed them?

Work on family genealogy. Take the kids to visit older family members. Have them tell a story and have the kids tape record or video it to save for future generations.

Small kids can learn over the summer the months of the year, to tie their shoes.

Visit your local police and fire departments. Most will show kids the trucks, cars and give them information. Then come home and have kids create a safety drill for your home. Make maps and mark exits, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

Have kids learn to make butter, bake a loaf of bread or some cooking lessons.

Teach kids to sew. Start with a simple project such as a pillow.

Have kids take apart nonworking and unplugged items such as old clocks, radio, TV telephones and see what is inside.

Make a crystal radio.

Get a microscope and study bugs, pond water, hair, leaves, skin cells.

Visit your state capitol. Learn about your state and your state flag.

Contact your local conservation office and get posters of local wildlife, plants, trees, fish.

Study fish types and then go fishing.

Work puzzles. That uses the same brain cells that math problems use.

Watch such TV programs like "how is that made", and the history channel. If you watch Little House, notice and discuss how their life is different from ours today.

Source: We home school, and do many of these every day.

By mom-from-missouri from NW Missouri

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CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
August 8, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks for this great, detailed list! We're planning to homeschool our 3 year old daughter, and so I appreciate any ideas.

She loves learning about the world around her, so when she has a question of "What is that?" or "Why?" we try our best to tell her. And if we don't know, we find out together! It gladdens my heart when she finds a beetle or other insect and immediately wants to look in our insect guide to find out what it is called.

Thanks again for this informative posting!

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh1 found this helpful
June 7, 2012 Flag

It's great to keep kids focused on school during the summer, but don't pay to do it when there are great free resources out there. Over the course of ten weeks of summer vacation, children can forget math facts, phonics, and writing skills. Keep them on-task in both fun and traditional methods for free. Next year's teacher will appreciate it, and so will you when September rolls around again.

Journaling

The number one tip to keep writing and communication skills sharp is to journal. Some elementary schools may offer incentives to children who keep summer journals or complete summer work packets. Find a cheap spiralbound notebook and allow your child to decorate it any way he/she wants. Then, set Monday as a journaling day. Chronicle the events of the weekend and add pictures from magazines to illustrate the events or ideas or have the child illustrate the journal. Peek over his/her shoulder to make sure the writing is up to par, but don't "grade" it. Spelling errors and other weaknesses shouldn't become the focus or the task will become a weekly battle. Instead, gently remind the child about repeated spelling errors with something like, "I always had trouble spelling tomorrow too. Let's write it at the top of next week's page so you can remember it."

Games that reinforce reading and spelling are great summer activities as well. Give your children old magazines or newspapers and a word bank of spelling words that you remember from the previous school year or Big IQ Kids (

Then, have them do a scavenger hunt to find the words; whoever finds half the list first wins.

Visit www.puzzlemaker.com and provide your child with a list of words. Allow your child to choose and create the puzzle of his/her choice for the words.

Math Facts

Math facts such as multiplication tables and addition/subtraction facts seem to leave little brains faster than they go in. Keep them fresh on your child's mind by reviewing them throughout the summer. Flash cards are probably the least exciting way to remember the facts, so look for something flashier. Ipod/iPhone aps are free or under $1 and work wonders. Remember, you're not teaching the concepts, just reviewing them.

Printables

Office supply stores and parent/teacher stores sell grade level prep books for $10 on up. There's no need to purchase these when you can print out the same or better worksheets for free. Look at these websites for appropriate grade level practice:

Don't Overlook the Teacher

Before things get hectic at the end of the year next year, ask your child's teacher for a summer packet or online resources. If the teacher has a school web page, he/she probably already has online links for you to utilize during time off. If not, he/she certainly knows of a few. Libraries keep many posted as well. If you're looking for pen and paper work, the teacher can probably produce a packet with a little warning. Many teachers are hesitant to give out the packets to everyone, knowing that many will go into the trash. However, upon request they're more than willing to keep you child learning during the relaxing days of summer.

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Susan Sanders-Kinzel0 found this helpful
May 17, 2006 Flag

Here are 3 sites I found while surfing. Do you have any sites to recommend for summer learning?

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0 found this helpful
September 2, 2009 Flag

Here are a couple of things that you could do to keep your child's mind occupied during the summer months, as well as helping them have fun learning.

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0 found this helpful
May 29, 2008 Flag

Here is a fun activity for kids age 4-10. It is a Backyard Safari. Teach your kids all about the creatures in your backyard or local park. This web page has color pics, you can print out the page and take it with you.

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0 found this helpful
July 26, 2004 Flag

Students need to read every day. To encourage teenagers to read, try the following: As with the prepaid phone card teenagers can earn minutes of phone time. For example: Michael reads 15 minutes he earns 15 minutes of telephone time.

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