Summer is the perfect time for learning because it offers so many interactive lessons. Students learn best by manipulating the material that they need to learn, and if the activities are also fun you have a recipe for active learning. Using materials and information from ABCTEACH as a guide, let’s see what are some possible ways to engage students of all ages during the summer.
There is a wealth of clip art like the photo of this garden to use to talk to children about the variety of gardens that you can have. Children can plan what their garden will look like. Have them draw the garden they would like to have and guide them to make a list of what should be in the garden. Let it be their work. Use the journaling pages to chart progress. Here are some excellent examples of gardening journals.
As plants grow ask questions to stimulate curiosity and create a wonder about what nature does. Show them how cucumber and pea plants send out tendrils to grasp on to something to grow taller. Talk about the flowers of plants like squash and how they open during the day and close at night. Why do they do that? What do plants need to flourish? Why? Help them find the answers and they will ask even more questions. Plants are fascinating and can teach our children so many things from the science behind them and our need for them for our health.
Did you know? Adding baking soda and water to the soil changes the acidity, and can change the color of Hydrangea flowers.
Here is a great reading about gardening. A realistic, fiction story about a woman working in her hot summer garden. This reading comprehension features thoughtful short-answer questions.
Patricia’s Garden – Reading Comprehension
This explains why gardening is a good educational project and how to set up a successful project. This idea is great for homeschoolers! Illustrated pages for journal entries are available to abcteach members.
Here is a fun board game of categorizing 20 garden plants into types.
You can learn to make your own dirt!
Here is a puzzle, created from abcteach’s Soil-Food Web, that helps students understand the relationship of soil, soil nutrients, microbes and food.
There are many more activities on abcteach for gardening and they involve all subject areas. You can also talk about the importance of community with your children by discussing what you will do with the produce from your garden. Do you have a neighbor who might enjoy some zucchini bread made from your zucchinis or could someone you know use some extra vegetables? You can also discuss how some families save the vegetables in root cellars or canning in order to have the vegetables through the winter.
Drawing & Painting
Summer is the perfect time to allow your child to be like Monet and copy all the glorious colors around us. Children can color some of the pages from the art section or they can draw their own using nature as their model. You can also copy some of the flowers found in the clipart section of ABCTEACH.
Here is one example of 22,000+ possibilities from clipArt. If you want to see all of the flowers, trees and plants images click here.
Want to get creative and try some coloring pages? Here are a few flowers and summer-themed printables to print and color.
Have children learn about the famous French artist, Claude Monet with this informational reading comprehension.
If you have children, you know how much they love to SWIM! Swimming is so much fun during those hot, summer days; and teaching them to swim is an important priority. Children are drawn to water especially oceans, lakes and creeks because they are full of creatures that are fun to explore and the safer we can make the exploration, the better. We also know that a good education involves both the body and the mind and swimming is one of the most fun activities that summer has to offer. How can we use it as an educational tool?
We can talk to our children about the Olympics and learn about some famous Olympian swimmers and what it takes to become an Olympic swimmer. There are handouts for reading comprehension as well. All this and more can be found here.
Cooking is a great way to learn and bring the family together. There is something comforting about cooking and the anticipation will be there to sample the finished product. There is a lot to learn through cooking too. There are measurements, finding the right ingredients and the best recipes, shopping for the ingredients and the importance of following instructions and cleaning up afterwards. You can talk about how food and food preparation has changed in history, and what foods are different depending on countries. Here are some great recipes to try!
Check out this home-made sorbet recipe!
This activity combines recipes for Baked Spinach with Three Cheeses and Avgolemono Soup with a page of math problems. Includes answer key.
I saved the best for last because for most children this is the most fun thing to do at any time of the year. Go out in the yard and take pictures of several interesting insects such as ants, beetles, butterflies, and fireflies. One of my fondest memories from childhood is going out at night with my family and catching fireflies in mason jars, watching them light up and then letting them go. Research them using the handouts on ABCTEACH to find out some information and then observe them. Use one of the report forms on the site to chart the behavior of the insects. You could also build a bug habitat. Click here for more activities involving insects!
School may be out, but the active learning that summer offers is amazing. The best part is that the learning is interactive and fun! What you do with your children in the summer will stimulate their curiosity to want to learn more when they return back-to-school!
We hope you continue to enjoy your summer!
Written by, Jennifer Bonn