Summer Learning & Fun on a Budget!

School's Out!

School is out for summer!!!  The anticipated excitement for upcoming plans and fun opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities is on or will be on the daily agenda!!  I know teachers and parents are just as excited as kids for summer vacation ~ NO homework, running around, “routine”. . . just some good ‘ol down time with rest, relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation.

Although my children are grown, we still have fun getting around Alaska and enjoying the backyard playground!

But wait . . .

Oftentimes, children return to school and there has been a learning loss – aka the “summer slump”.   This is evident in the first few weeks of school as teachers plan lessons to review material from the previous school year to “jog the memory”. 

Every year, parents ask me this question . . .

“What can my child do over the summer

to continue learning, and is not overly expensive?”   

I decided I would share my ideas with all the parents, grandparents, camp counselors, and nannies out there, so you can provide fun learning opportunities for your child that do not break the budget.  Then . . . you will not hear “I’m bored” from your summer vacation learner and your savings will not be depleted!  Your welcome!!

This post may contain affiliate links, and I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Learn, Fun, & Save ~ OH MY!

One thing we know is that summer can be an opportunity for learning!!  Summer is the perfect time for children to engage in learning about other topics of personal interest and opportunities to spend more time together, yes . . . learning.  Whether families enjoy a vacation somewhere else or a staycation, learning opportunities are all around. 

Catch some new adventures on this post!

Not sure where to get started with finding those learning opportunities that don’t cost a dime?  Look no further! 

I am detailing the main learning areas with ideas to help your learner and family have fun this summer!

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Literacy

Literacy lessons are everywhere!!!  Whether your child takes time to read a book or magazine, visit a library, read road signs and travel brochures, read a recipe, write a journal, write a letter to someone, keep a family journal, write to do lists and packing lists, create a scrapbook each week with pictures and notes . . . learning is taking place!! 

Help your child find some interesting books that focus on a specific topic, destination, or new passion.  Heading to a new place in your community?  Traveling to another community?  These are great ways to incorporate your child’s interests into learning!!  It’s like hiding those veggies in the food dish!! 

There are many opportunities for children to participate in summer camps through local community organizations, scouts, 4-H, church, and school sponsored events. 

Math

Where do you not see opportunities to learn math?  It’s absolutely everywhere!  Take time to read a recipe and measure the ingredients, go shopping for supplies, figure out the best way to save money, count out payment for materials at the store, plan a get together and calculate the amount of food needed, work on telling time and elasped time, and turn those math calculations into word problems so your child can engage in problem solving for some extra learning. 

Whether you are seeing numbers, operations, measurements, fractions, time, logic, patterns, or geometry, there are opportunities all around us with a mathematical focus!!

Check out these fun, summer outdoor games!

Social Studies

Anytime you go anywhere is an opportunity to learn about the environment, history, and geography.  Visit your local community Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce for some great learning, family focused opportunities. While your family is having fun, help your child plan the event or trip, read a map, calculate mileage (math) and fuel costs, take pictures of sights and create a summer family journal (writing), learn about the destination (reading), and plan an agenda for the trip. 

There are so many different ways social studies topics can be tied into reading, writing, and math . . . this really is the perfect way for your child to learn!

BONUS: Take advantage of the National Park Service near you!  This is a great learning opportunity for every family AND if you have a 4th grader, your child and the family can obtain FREE access to the National Parks in the United States!!  Check out the links above and below to learn more!!

Science

Like social studies, science is the perfect way to incorporate reading, writing, and math.  What question does your child want to investigate?  Once there is a question, turn this into a science experiment. Growing plants?  Temperature differences?  Weather – rain, clouds, drought?  Space – stars, sun, moon?  The list is endless.  Simply change the variable, run the experiment a few times, and share the results.  Perhaps other families and friends want to participate in this fun “Summer Science Fair”!

Again, focus on your child’s interest and run with it!!  Not only is your child learning something new, but he/she will be using this opportunity to become a topic expert and solidify developing literacy and math skills. Who knows . . . these experiences could turn in to a bigger passion leading to a future career pathway ~ AND just like that ~ you’ve earned the “Parent of the Year Award”!!!

Take a moment to enjoy listening to this book about bubbles with your child!!!  Then download a fun gameboard with additional ideas to have fun with a focus on bubbles!  This is an example of the many ways to incorporate literacy and math into some fun, summer, science learning!

Health

Getting exercise and eating healthy are areas that we all engage in daily.  The exciting news to these activities is the opportunity to incorporate literacy and math. 

Allow your child to help plan meals, go shopping together, read labels, figure cost analysis, try new summer sports, go hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, boating, swimming . . . again the list is endless!  Do you see the opportunities to keep journals, learn about safety, read about summer sports, track progress?  Yes, this is another way to strengthen those literacy and math skills in a fun, summery way! 

What is important to remember?

Enjoy an active lifestyle with friends and family . . .

and do not forget the sunscreen!!

Related Reading

Take time to engage in some research with your child in your local area for new topics to learn and places to visit.  Check out the posts below for additional ideas to support your family’s summer fun with learning!

An Alaskan Adventure  

How to Teach Picture Writing

Fun on July 4th

School is Out for Summer!

NOTE:  Remember to come back and share your fun, summer learning experiences!!  By sharing your experiences, others have more ideas to engage their child in learning and develop family memories!!  Thank you for sharing!!

Final Thoughts

Remember, there are thousands of opportunities to learn throughout the day.  These learning experiences allow your child to connect learning with real life experiences. 

So go ahead, unplug from technology for the day and plan an agenda full of learning. Develop those summer memories with family and friends that are carried with us forever. 

Isn’t this is a great way to spend summer vacation and have fun?? 

You’ll be glad you did!!!

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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for 29 years working in the PK-6 elementary classroom, English learner instructional specialist, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

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