Summer is in full swing here. But if you're like me, you're trying to find ways to keep your kids learning and using their minds during the long break before heading back to school. Summer slide? It's a real thing! And I don't just mean that fun slide they go down at the playground.
Ever heard the phrase "use it or lose it"?
If kids don't use those great skills they learned during the school year, they will struggle more when school starts up again. I've seen it myself. In my own children and in the fifth graders I teach.
So, what is a parent (or teacher) to do?
I've spent a while scouring the internet for FREE resources to help keep kids practicing important skills all summer long while still having fun!
I think we can all agree that it is important for kids to read daily, but sometimes it can be difficult to motivate them. Especially when swimming pools, vacations, neighborhood friends, and holiday celebrations are "calling their names". Here are a few ideas to get your kids motivated to read every day during the summer.
(credit: My Sister's Suitcase)
I love the idea of having kids read in different places - inside and outdoors - just to spice up the routine. And the printable BINGO card is a great way to motivate kids. Maybe provide a treat or activity for each BINGO they earn.
(credit: Inner Child Fun)
I admit it. I often binge watch Netflix. And my kids SEE ME DOING IT. So what better way to encourage your kids to read over the summer than to pair reading with a movie. Let your kids choose a movie that is based on a book. Once they've read the book, watch the movie together. This is great for those REALLY hot days when being outside isn't possible. Follow up with a discussion about the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.
I know. Math in the summer?!? What a mean mom/teacher, right?
But it can be fun. I promise.
Check out these ideas.
(credit: What We Do All Day)
I love that this blog post includes 6 weeks of simple and inexpensive ideas that incorporate math learning. Each idea has lesson plans and activities for various ages. She even has a Summer Science Camp too!
(credit: Coffee Cups and Crayons)
Capitalize on the nicer weather and take your kids outside for some fun math games. Each activity uses minimal supplies that can be found around the house. My favorites include water, because let's face it. Summer is HOT!
Writing is also important. I have my kids keep summer journals and usually just set aside ten minutes a day for writing/drawing in their journals. Quick, simple, cheap. But here are a few other ideas you might like.
For your little ones just learning the letters of the alphabet, check out these free printables. Turn snack time into a fun learning activity by letting your kiddo (gasp) play with their food!
(credit: Far From Normal)
This blog post is AWESOME because it not only offers free printable writing prompts, but shares tips for how to implement the activity. Things like setting standards, offering choice, and multiple uses. I'm thinking of changing my journaling activity to include some of these writing jar prompts.
Since I'm a STEM teacher, I can't really skip over some great resources for science and engineering activities. Honestly, some of these I even use throughout the year with my students.
(credit: My Life and Kids)
It's exactly what it sounds like. Links to 25 easy engineering activities for the younger kiddos at your house. I've done #7, 12 and 19 in my class! So fun for kids.
(credit: Little Bins for Little Hands)
I love that each of these challenges requires minimal planning and utilizes items found around the house. Plus, there is something intriguing about a brown paper bag labeled "challenge" for kids. I think it would be fun to display the brown bag early in the week and have kids WAIT until Friday to complete it. Talk about suspense!
(credit: Growing a Jeweled Rose)
This is a great collection of 30 simple science experiments you can do with your kids. Each idea links to a post with detailed instructions and ideas. It's been so hot here lately, I think we might try the egg frying experiment. Breakfast anyone?
This is something I did with my fifth graders, but I can't believe how much fun I had. Combine a bit of physical activity, predictions, a challenge, and your smart phone's slow motion video function. This totally blew my students' minds! And they ALL wanted to try it until they had figured out how to make that ball go into the bucket.