3 Ideas to Make Summer Learning Fun

Helping students retain what they've learned during the school year is important, but try to get your child to do some schoolwork during the summer months and you won't just be ignored -- you could face a full-scale mutiny.

Summertime is just around the corner, and that means schools all over the nation are opening their doors and setting their students free. Helping students retain what they’ve learned during the school year is important, but try to get your child to do some schoolwork during the summer months and you won’t just be ignored — you could face a full-scale mutiny. Luckily, we’ve come up with some sneaky ways to make summer learning fun this year. They’re so sneaky in fact, that your children might not even notice they’re learning — which is a good thing for you. After all, if they don’t catch on, they can’t boycott your efforts. So if you’re looking to keep your child’s school skills sharp during the off-season, try one of these 3 fun summer learning activities.

1. Plan a family field trip. Field trips help make learning fun during the school year. Who says they have to stop as soon as the school year’s over? Plan a day trip, or even a weekend, to a place that’s both fun and educational. Give the event even more learning power by downloading related educational apps or printing out relevant worksheets for the children to play with on the ride there. Which kinds of trips fit the bill? Try one of these┬ádestinations:

If you’re stuck for ideas, think back to the field trips you and your partner remember most as children. Then recreate those trips and make some new memories with your family this summer.

2. Create a summer club. Kids love clubs. Put the word “club” after just about anything, and they’ll be five times as likely to jump on board. This may not work with things like the “early bedtime” club or the “more chores” club, but if your child has showed some interest in a certain area of study, creating a club is an easy way to help grow that interest while making summer learning fun at the same time. The trick here is not to create a simple “math” or “science” club, but to choose something a bit more specific. Help your child start a star-gazing club, a robotics club, a painting club or a theatre club. Then invite friends and host weekly meetings at your house. Your kids will explore their interests and fellow parents will applaud your sneaky summer learning skills.

3. Turn game night into maker night. Whoever thought up family game night had their heart in the right place, but they couldn’t have predicted how boring a weekly date with the Monopoly board can become. If you’re not sure what to do with kids who look at your weekly game night like a cruel and twisted form of family punishment, here’s your solution — swap game night for maker night. Research your own DIY projects or visit a maker center like Pittsburgh’s Assemble to get some help from experts. Your children will be so engaged in their hands-on projects, they won’t even realize they’re immersed in something educational. Experts agree that the more engaged students are, the more they’re likely to retain what they’ve learned. That means your little makers will be even more prepared for school when summer’s over.

The key to turning your children into lifelong learners? ┬áTeaching them how to enjoy learning outside of the classroom. Introduce your child to some out-of-the-box activities this year and you won’t only make summer learning fun, you could just change the way your children look at learning period. And here’s the best part — while you’re working hard to keep your children learning through the summer months, you’ll end up learning some new things yourself. Trust us — whether you’re 8 or 48, the planetarium never stops being cool.

Published May 10, 2012