Summer is an ideal time for students of all age groups to explore their personal interests, to take advantage of internship opportunities, and to take on innovative projects while continuing to keep their minds sharp for the new school year. We’ve included a variety of fun activities drawn from multiple disciplines including science, history, literature, and the arts, for your child to experience. While enjoying the warm days of summer, take advantage of all of the potential learning activities this season has to offer your child and your family.
- Building Project: Purchase a DIY kit for making bird feeders or model airplanes. These projects provide the opportunity for students to read non-fiction texts as they follow directions to create a finished product. Engaging in building projects encourages young children to ask questions, and to observe the assemblage process required to follow multi-step problems.
- Collect Change: On the first day of summer break, students can start collecting loose change in a jar. Throughout the summer, any change they find or any money they are given can be added to the jar. On the last day of summer break, with the guidance of an adult, estimate how much change they have earned over the course of the summer, count the change, and perhaps, plan for a special purchase to celebrate!
- Cooking: Using recipes to bake or cook with children teaches them the fundamental skills necessary in understanding step-by-step instructions, which are essential to understanding certain non-fiction texts. In addition, by involving your child in the cooking process, he/she will also learn mathematics skills such as measurements, proportions, as well as introduce them to the concepts behind fractions. This activity can also be informative and engaging for middle school students.
- Water Writing: Students can write words or letters on a sidewalk or blacktop in order to practice their fine motor and phonics skills. Simply fill a bucket or a pail with water along with a brush for the child to use. For older students, purchase a large blank canvas and allow your child to create a picture using their imagination.
- Mapping Meteorology: Students can use a journal to keep a running log of the local weather. In their daily weather logs, they can include the temperature, cloud patterns, and the amount of precipitation for each day. For older students, they can incorporate more complex meteorological features such as wind speed, levels of humidity, air pressure levels, and types of cloud formations.
Middle School Students
- Learning Social Responsibility: Provide your student with the opportunity to volunteer and to take advantage of community service opportunities. Students can volunteer at the local soup kitchen, or even help around the house by painting, setting the table, or taking care of a pet. These activities help them to learn about following directions, being punctual, and servicing the community.
- Museum Treasure Hunt: Transform a trip to the museum into a purposeful treasure hunt. This activity can be adapted for students of all age groups. First, get your child excited about an upcoming trip to the museum by visiting the museum’s website and taking a virtual tour through the highlighted pieces or exhibitions presented on the website. Once you are at the museum, do not try to tackle the entire gallery in the span of a single day – it is too intimidating. Rather, build purpose to the visit by starting in the gift shop. Encourage your child to choose a few postcards of art, various paintings, or objects on display in the shop. Using the purchased postcards as a guide, transform the museum visit into a treasure hunt by looking for the particular paintings or works of art. In addition, seek out interactive exhibits or specific historical periods that your child has studied in school.
- Learning about National Parks: Using the Internet, students can learn more about the many national parks in the United States and abroad. Many websites offer online activities that allow students to explore and to learn more about these parks: its history, ecology, forestation preservation, and wildlife conservation efforts.
- Take a Trip to Your Local Library: During the summer months, many libraries offer reading programs and incentives to reward students for the number of books or novels they have read.
High School Students
- Virtual Campus Tours: As high school students reflect more and more about prospective colleges, they should take advantage of college websites. If they are not able to schedule or plan a college tour, students can take a virtual tour of the potential schools they are interested in. Often, college websites offer maps, photos, tours of the campus, as well as information on athletics programs, academic departments and majors, and a glimpse into student dorm life, clubs, and other social activities offered to matriculated scholars. Students can also request additional information through the college’s website.
- Weekly Book Club: Students can start a book club with friends or family members. Simply choose a book that all members are interested in reading. Each week, members get together to discuss a specific chapter of the assigned reading.
- Graphic Novel/ Comic Strip: For students who are interested in the arts, they can write and create their own comic strip or graphic novel featuring themselves or a fictional protagonist. For inspiration, students can read classic comic strips or even transform a novel they have previously read into a graphic novel. Not only does this activity encourage students to pursue their artistic interests, but it also helps them to strengthen their reading comprehension skills.
- Set Aside Time to Read Each Day: As students read each day, track their progress and the number of books they complete. To incentivize reading, parents can also offer a reward, such as an engaging activity, or a delicious treat once students reach targeted goals in the number of books they have read (consider every 5th or 10th book). In addition, students can create art projects based on their favorite texts, or illustrate their favorite scenes from a novel. For our younger students, they can create paper bag puppets to reenact particular scenes or re-create dialogical exchanges between characters.
- Take a Trip to Your Local Library: During the summer months, many libraries offer reading programs and incentives to reward students for the number of books they have read and have your child share if their book recommendation during dinnertime.
- Summer Scrapbooking: Throughout the summer, encourage your child to save movie stubs, postcards, newspaper clippings, or other interesting mementos they encounter each day. Then, students can create a scrapbook of the summer experiences and adventures they experience, whether it is during a family vacation, spending time with friends, or picnicking at a local park.
With all of these enjoyable activities, we hope your child will discover all the joys of summer while engaging in educational opportunities that encourage them to be creative, inquisitive, and explorative. Don’t forget to check out Mill Creek Academy’s Summer Programs.