Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Summer Learning

I know it's tempting to ignore ALLLLLL things school-related during the summer but for us "summer learning" is something that we all really enjoy and it makes the transition back-to-school so much smoother.  

We don't really have a set routine in the summer when it comes to learning activities.  Some days it's 10 minutes in the morning, other days we'll spend over an hour working on work books.  Other days it's an afternoon spent doing math practice on big paper.  I do try to be intentional about incorporating some sort of educational activity into our days and today I'm going to highlight a few of the tools that have worked well for us.

First up is workbooks!  They're a fantastic tool for practicing a wide range of skills and I like that it keeps them in the "routine" of doing schoolwork type activities.  

We're big fans of "The Big 'Grade Level' Workbooks" - Mason likes to flip through and pick things that he thinks are "fun" :)

I feel like the books do a good job of introducing concepts and giving examples.  When we use these books with Mason and Griffin I usually bookmark 3 or 4 various pages with sticky notes so they can do a variety of subject areas. 

When Griffin was a little bit younger we used these  Play Smart books by Gakken.  They had lots of activities to promote focus, problem-solving, pre-reading and motor skills (like cutting and tracing).  There were accompanying stickers that she could pick from to put on completed pages and they were a great value (they're around $7 each).

Hands-down the BEST purchase I've made this summer has been this series of "summer quest" books.  They're specifically designed for summer time and each book comes with a map that leads them from one grade to another.  

They work through the books in order and the book tells them which stickers to put on their map.  

Certain pages have bonus questions that take their thinking/effort just a little bit deeper and rewards them with larger bonus stickers that they can stick on the map as they go along.  

There are also "outside quests" scattered throughout that are activities that get them up and outside to play games, take a walk and make observations, conduct experiments, etc. 

I KID YOU NOT the sticker maps have lit an absolute fire in my kids and they have spent at least two hours a day working on these books.  I actually uttered the words, "hey guys, can we put the workbooks away and go play a game???"

I have been so impressed with the content of the books, scope of academics and overall design of the books, maps and stickers. 

Mason typically is not a fan of the writing assignments and he has been writing in full, complete and THOROUGH sentences.  It's been awesome.

You can shop the grade level books below, I really can't recommend them enough!!!

Luke loves a workbook A WHOLE LOT and so I also have a couple of additional ones that he really enjoys.   This Brain Quest book is one he keeps in the car (yes.... yes, he does) and then I grabbed him  this math practice book and he has already dove right in.  I love that it gives the solutions so he can check his work and it is HUGE so it should keep him occupied for a long time.  It covers a huuuuge range of topics and is really thorough and well done.

I know I said we don't have a set routine, but more often than not we end up working on these in the mornings during/after breakfast.  It tends to be when everyone is the most fresh and they all enjoy it during this time.  I do sit at the table with the kids while they're working - to answer questions, help Griffin read directions, etc. 

We LOVE playing OSMO because so many of their apps are educational.   The Genius Kit (currently 30% off!)  includes everything you need to get started including tangrams, their number game and the letter game.  Other great ones are Pizza Company (teaches some great skills about money) as well as the coding games. 

Y'all know we love games and while we do love a good round of Exploding Kittens there are some we love with a little more educational value :) 

Okay... here's a list of a BUNCH of different ideas that we like to do to incorporate intentional learning opportunities during the summer (ps - these are obviously geared to a variety of different ages/abilities... so pick and choose what fits your child's needs).  Some of these ideas came from my kids teachers....

- Draw a picture and orally tell a story about your picture

- Bake cookies, measure out the ingredients yourself

- Google your favorite animal and write down 3 facts you didn't know 

- Count the lightbulbs in your house

- Draw one thing on a piece of paper.  Pass it to a sibling or parent and let them add to the picture.  Keep passing it around until your picture is complete.  NO TALKING ALLOWED!   Write a story to accompany your picture when it's complete.

- Pick out all of the rhyming words in a book

- Find your city and state on a map

- Do a sudoku puzzle

- Visit an art gallery/museum

- Write 10 words that rhyme with cat

- Cut a picture out from a magazine and write three words to describe the picture

- Write and illustrate a story

- Think of 5 words beginning with "sh"

- Play categories in the pool

- Write 5 subtraction problems with an answer of 3

- Conduct an experiment

- Count the number of chairs in your house.  How many legs in all?

- Cut out pictures from a magazine and use them to illustrate a story you write

- Write an invitation to a friend inviting them over to play.  Address the envelope and put it in the mailbox yourself.

- As you say the alphabet say one word that starts with each letter

- Estimate how long it will take you do do 100 jumping jacks. Did it take more or less than 5 minutes?

- Write your own poem

- Take a bag of M&Ms and sort them by color.  Record your results in a table.

- Write a mad lib for your parent or sibling to fill in

- Find 10 geometric cubes in your house

- 100 is the answer, what could the question possibly be?  

- Write as many words as you can that rhyme with can

- Cut words out of a magazine and use them to form sentences

- Go to the library and check out books

- Name as many opposites as you can

- Create a survey question, ask as many people as you can, create a graph showing your results.

- Visit a museum

- Write 5 addition problems with a sum of 10

- Read a story/book and record it.  Listen to yourself.

- Write a letter to a relative.  Mail it!

- How many times can you hop on your right foot in a minute?  Your left foot?

- Get a handful of Goldfish and divide them equally among your family members

- Play a strategy game like checkers or Stratego

- Use a grocery store flyer to plan a meal.  List all the items you need and record the price of each item.  How much will the meal cost?

- Sort and count a handful of coins

- Keep track of the high temperatures every day for a week.  Make a bar graph.

- Find the names of the author and illustrator of 3 books you have read

- Look through a catalog or magazine, find 5 things that begin with s

- Fold a piece of paper into fourths - label each with a season and write your favorite things about each one in the boxes.

- Name the 12 months of the year.  Practice writing them.

- You have 1 minute, how many animals can you name?

- Write the names of as many colors as you can.

- Put on a jazz song and paint a picture of how it makes you feel.  Do the same with classical, pop, etc.

- Google your favorite dinosaur and write down 3 facts you didn't know 

- Tell a story of something you did in June, draw a picture to go along with it.

- How many ways can you make $1 using coins?

- Find 20 coins in your house.  What do they add up to?

- Make a puppet show of an original story or a favorite book.  If you don't have puppets you can make them out of paper and tape them onto popsicle sticks.

- Make a list of places you'd like to visit one day and why you'd like to visit them

- Cut out a picture from a magazine and glue it to a piece of paper.  Now write a math word problem to go along with it and solve the problem on a separate piece of paper.

- Add all the ages of the people who live in your house.  What is the sum?

- Use the digits 3, 5 and 7 to create different 3-digit numbers.  What is the greatest number?  What is the smallest?

For other fun boredom busters click  HERE to read the post highlighting some of our favorite toys, STEM products and summer activities.

I'm really hoping that today may have inspired some summer learning at your house - I promise it can be fun! :)  

HAPPY Wednesday, friends!!!

 PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. I absolutely LOVE this. When my kids were home, learning was a huge part of our Summer and each child got to pick out a 'fun' Summer school class like specializing in American Indians, or creative writing, or art. I supervised court ordered visits for several years and one of the things I worked hard at was encouraging parents to make learning about our world just a natural part of life.

  2. This is amazing. Thank you so much.

  3. My 9 year old loves the MindWare Perplexors. They are good reading and math skills!

  4. Thank you so much for this! As a mom of a discalculia child, I especially appreciate the math ideas. We do a workbook all summer, but I hadn't really thought much about some of the around the home things to practice with her. Thank you!

    1. As a mother of a dyslexic and dyscalculic kiddo, I highly recommend DynamoMaths, Meister Cody, and DreamBox Math as app-based supplements to other hands-on work. They have been super helpful and always a welcome treat to get on the ipad/laptop and play some games. They are thoughtful and developed to work with dyscalculia remediation.

  5. Great suggestions...Thank you! When purchasing the books to do buy books for the upcoming grade or the grade just completed? My daughter just finished 3rd grade so I was wondering if I should get books geared for 4th or refresher books for 3rd. Thanks so much!

  6. Love teacher moms! We have been doing Summer Bridge Activity workbooks for the first time and I do like them. I would never say my boys are excited about doing workbooks during the summer, but they get through them. These look good too!

  7. Order the brain quest book for my daughter that's going into 5th grade. Thanks for sharing!

  8. We love the Summer BrainQuest books too and the day after school let out for the summer, our kids were into their workbooks like crazy. We also had to ask if we can set the books aside to do something as a family. haha! Usually they need more motivation to complete the maps once August rolls around so we give them$20 when they've completed their books. :)

  9. I would say this is a great post! My 2 girls are both college graduates and I don't have grandkids (yet)....Summer learning is SO IMPORTANT! I bought workbooks for my girls when they were younger and they loved them. It made it so much easier when they went back to school. Vacations are fun time but I know teachers really don't like having to spend a lot of time in the beginning going back over lower grade things.

  10. Such great ideas and suggestions! I agree that those Brain Quest books are THE BEST!!!

  11. Thanks for all the great activity suggestions! As a teacher, these will be great as fast finisher and 5 minute time filler activities!

  12. Those BrainQuest books have been a big hit at our house this summer too! It's my first year trying that brand, and my kids are loving all the stickers!

  13. Ok, you've written a fabulous post and I'm going to lamely comment on the fact that I have that exact same mug, only it has a "c" on it. Sorry, I've not seen someone else have it before! lol

  14. Hi! Do you have more than one OSMO, or do they just share really well? ;)


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