It’s almost summer and people are beginning to celebrate. Pools are opening soon, grills are firing up, and theme parks have come back to life. Students can count the number of weeks left in the school year on one hand and teachers have started moving décor from the walls of their classrooms to the trunks of their cars.
Summer is a time we all look forward to. It’s seen by students and teachers alike as a chance to wind down and have fun in warmer weather on longer days. Warmer weather is also a great time for coming up with creative ways to learn new things, reinforce previously taught lessons, and prevent the “summer slide.”
Summer might seem like a time when learning opportunities are limited, but it’s actually quite the opposite! It’s a chance to take learning outside of the parameters of the classroom by making use of different environments, getting hands-on with new tools, and finding the teacher in everyone you meet.
Here are a few ways students, teachers and parents can get creative with summer learning! These activities can also be used to get you through the remainder of the year:
1. Sand, Seashells, and Sun for Letter Learning Fun
Nature is full of tools that can be used to teach important foundational concepts. Children can practice writing by using their fingers to make letters in the sand. To focus even more on letter formation skills, have children use Roll-A-Dough Letters®, which contain traceable letter and number cards inside of a tray designed to help students make appropriately-sized letters. It comes with dough, but sand can be used as a fun, summer substitute.
2. Sidewalk Chalk and Airplane Art
Whether families are on the go or spending more time outside around the neighborhood, children can create art to build fine motor skills. Drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk prepares young students for handwriting. En route to a vacation destination? Children traveling by way of plane, train, or car can do the same with crayons and coloring books, or pencils and paper. Using little tools like FLIP Crayons®, Little Chalk Bits and Pencils for Little Hands have the added benefit of helping students develop a proper pencil grip.
3. Count the Waves While You Catch the Waves
Math is everywhere. The next time you go outside, look around. There’s always something to count! Visiting the park? You can count trees, sticks, or flowers. Relaxing on the beach? Have children count waves. Near a lake or harbor? Count the boats that go by. While outside, you’ll also have space to spread out with math activities like Tag Bags®, which teach number sense and patterning or Mix and Make Shapes™, which lay the foundation for early geometry.
4. Connect Letters While Connected to Wi-Fi
So your children have somehow found yet another source of Wi-Fi? Don’t worry! Students can practice connecting letters while connected to Wi-Fi with digital apps such as the Wet-Dry-Try: Classroom Edition App, which provides multisensory letter and number formation practice on tablet devices and cell phones. Technology tools like the Integrated Print and Digital Solution make summer camp fun with instructional videos, music, animations, opportunities to write on an interactive whiteboard, and more. While they’re on their laptops, make sure they practice their computer skills in preparation for upcoming digital assignments and test-taking with programs like Keyboarding Without Tears.
5. Write it Down Before the Last Summer Sunset
There’s nothing like a sweet summer memory. Writing about summer adventures is a great way for students to practice their narrative, informational, and opinion/argument writing skills. Get your students a journal to take along with them on summer excursions or keep at home to write about their fun, summer days. Student editions like Building Writers provide more guided lessons with engaging, cross-curricular topics designed for independent writing.
We hope you’re inspired to make the most out of your summer and take advantage of the unique learning opportunities that the season provides. What’s your favorite summer learning activity? Let us know in the comments section!