5 Ways to Make Learning Fun This Summer

Sam Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

beaver creek resersve butterfly house
beaver creek resersve butterfly house

Summertime is a great time to help your child(ren) learn. Here are some great activities that you can do together to keep learning going throughout the entire summer.

1. Plant Something 

Gardening is an interactive and educational summer activity and lasts all summer! You can go as big as a garden or as small as a windowsill planter. Incorporate the science behind why plants grow or use it as an introduction to healthy eating. Seeds and starter plants for fruits and vegetables are readily available. For more activities and materials lists, check out kidsgardening.org or visit one of the many gardening centers/greenhouses in the Chippewa Valley.

2. Join or Follow a Sports Team 

Summer athletics are great for kids to learn about teamwork and the rules of the game. There are a wide variety of activities, leagues, and camps available. Following a local or professional team is also fun. You can research the history of the team, incorporate simple concepts such as counting and basic addition, or even more advanced concepts such as statistics and physics.

3. Find Some Critters

Time spent outside in the summer offers a great opportunity to identify things in nature. From bugs and birds to reptiles, amphibians, or fish, there are always critters to find. As a child, this was one of my personal favorites! Not into critters? No problem! Take the opportunity to learn about different plants you encounter  Apps make it easy to photograph, identify, research and share what you find with others. Eekwi.org has some great ideas on how to incorporate learning and the outdoors, and Beaver Creek Reserve is great local resource or place to start looking!

4. Read, Read,  and Read Some More

Reading is a great learning activity and can be especially important during the summer. Michelle Beauvais, a literacy coach at Longfellow Elementary,  recommends reading throughout the summer to stay on track for the following school year. She says parents should “keep it simple and enjoyable” and recommends allowing children to choose the material. Taking a long trip this summer? Car rides can be the perfect time for children to enjoy reading. Michelle suggests having a box of books available for kids to take along. “Have older children read out loud, while really young children can look at the pictures and make up the story to match,” she says. “Afterwards, everyone can enjoy talking about the story.”

5. Sign up for  a Summer Program

Area school districts offer a wide variety of summer programs, classes and partnership programs/camps. Program offerings, guides and descriptions are easy to find on each district website, making choosing the right the program a snap.  Classes range from elementary to high school grade levels, in areas of academics, music, athletics, technology and more!