8 Hands-On Summer Learning Activities that Will Keep Your Kids Busy


Summer is a great time to close the homeschool books and enjoy free time. However, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your kids need to stop learning. With these hands-on summer learning activities, your kids will happily continue learning through the summer.

8 Hands-On Summer Learning Activities that Will Keep Your Kids Busy

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Outdoor Summer Learning Activities

1. Nature Walks and Hikes

Getting outside to observe nature is a wonderful way for kids to learn about the world around them. Nature walks or hikes are beneficial anytime, but during the summer your kids will get to see many insects and plants that aren’t always around the rest of the year.

One of the best things about nature walks is that they can happen anywhere. Kids can walk around their backyard or neighborhood, observing insects, birds, or flowers. A short hike at a local park will allow more time to observe, and kids may see different creatures or plants than they can at home. If time and circumstances permit, a trip to a state or national park can teach kids even more about the natural world.

2. Field Trips

Field trips can be very educational and memorable for kids, and summer is the perfect time for busy homeschooling families to fit them in. Fun field trip ideas include zoos, museums, botanical conservatories, state and national parks, oceans or lakes, and factory tours. Many places now offer virtual tours, which is perfect if they are too far away to visit or they aren’t currently open for visitors. Field trips are great summer learning activities because you can reinforce topics you learned during the school year or introduce topics for the upcoming year.

3. Gardening Fun

Children can learn so many different skills by simply tending to a garden. They’ll learn responsibility and respect for nature while working on motor skills. Patience is needed while waiting months for vegetables or flowers to appear. Gardening with kids is a great family activity that will keep kids busy and active all summer.

Allow kids to choose a vegetable or flower to plant and tend to during the summer. You’ll find seedlings at home improvement stores and grocery stores with outdoor garden centers. Choose plants that are easy to grow and let your kids plant them in a garden or container. Give your kids the responsibility of watering and weeding the plant. They’ll be so proud of themselves!

Summer Homeschool Enrichment Learning Activities

4. Enjoying Good Books

Just because the homeschool year is over doesn’t mean kids have to stop reading. Stop by your local library to load up on books your kids want to read over the summer. Many libraries also set up summer reading challenges that kids can join. You can also set up your own challenge at home, with fun rewards like bookmarks and a new book.

Make summer reading special by creating fun areas in which to read. Your kids will love reading in a blanket fort or sitting on a blanket outside under a tree. Make reading a family event and choose a time when everyone can gather to read their own books.

Another idea is to have a family book club through the summer. If your kids can read by themselves, then have everyone read the same book, including you. Once a week, gather with a few snacks to discuss the book. If your kids aren’t reading yet, you could read aloud to them through the week, or they could listen to the audiobook instead. After the book is finished, have a celebration. Make fun food for dinner or snacks that are themed to the book, like Caribbean food after reading Treasure Island or a tea party following Mary Poppins.

5. Science Experiments or STEM Activities

Science experiments are great summer learning activities that kids enjoy. Take the experiments outside for even more fun and less mess in your house. Summer gives you time to do all those science experiments you weren’t able to fit into the school year. Grab a book on science experiments for kids and highlight your favorites and do one each week during the summer.

You can set up a STEM center with activity boxes for kids to do on their own. Grab supplies like craft sticks, masking tape, paperclips, notecards, and string. Let kids use their imagination to build things on their own or write down activities on cards. It’s a great indoor activity to do on hot summer afternoons.

6. Art Activities

Art is a subject that unfortunately can get pushed aside during the school year. But it is also a great summer learning activity. You can create a summer art history course on an artist you’d like to study. Search your home or the library for books about the artist that your kids can read to learn more about the artist’s life. Then study some of the artist’s works. Finally, have your kids try to recreate an artist’s work or create their own artwork based on the style of the artist.

Summer is also a fun time to learn new art techniques. Practice a new art medium, like clay or watercolors. Your kids will also enjoy light-hearted lessons while learning chalk pastel techniques.  Put an art center in your home with items like watercolor paints and brushes, chalk pastels, colored pencils, clay, and a variety of paper so your kids can create art through the summer.

7. Cooking Classes

Even in the summer kids need to eat, and probably eat even more than during the school year, so make it educational by teaching your kids to cook. You can plan a whole cooking class for your kids, with weekly lessons on a variety of kitchen skills like cutting and measuring. Or you can simply have your kids join you in the kitchen when you prepare meals and snacks.

Kids of all ages can learn how to cook. Your toddlers and preschoolers can help you add premeasured ingredients and stir mixtures. Lower elementary-age kids can help measure ingredients and crack eggs.

Learning to cook is an important skill for kids to develop. If your family has a garden, then have your kids help prepare meals with foods they harvest. This also encourages healthy eating, as kids tend to eat foods they helped make. Additionally, your kids can also help you prep freezer meals and snacks before the school year begins.

8. Educational Games

Kids love to play games, so add in some summer learning with educational games. Grab a blanket and your favorite board or card game, then head outside to play in the sun. If it’s too hot or rainy to be outside, games make good indoor activities too. Your kids will have so much fun playing that they won’t even realize they are practicing their math, reading, and critical thinking skills on their summer break.

Having some time off in the summer to relax is important for kids after working so hard during the school year. However, kids can continue learning through the summer. Nature walks or field trips, cooking or gardening, and reading books or playing games together are educational activities that will also create wonderful memories of family togetherness. Including hands-on summer learning activities will keep your kids busy learning all summer while also having fun.

Christy Jacob

About the author

Christy Jacob is a homeschool mom of four who enjoys laughing and learning with her kids. She believes a homeschool day can be manageable and enjoyable. Christy shares tips, ideas, and activities to simplify the homeschool day so homeschool parents can feel confident and enjoy teaching their kids.

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