Summer Learning ideas That Are Fun, Too!

Kids outside with plastic bug jarsWhen the weather turns warmer, kids are ready to get outside the classroom and play. So go to a park, hang out in your backyard or take a hike and enjoy nature — you can use these opportunities to teach kids about the world around them!

Kids love getting dirty, so why not talk about dirt while you’re making mud pies? Ask kids to describe what they find in the dirt. What types of animals live underground? What kind of rocks can you find if you dig? Grab a shovel and pail and see what you can find. Let the kids start a rock collection, or set aside space in your flowerbeds to display their finds in their own rock garden.

If your kids like the creepy crawly things they find, a bug jar is a must. Let them collect ants, beetles, a caterpillar, a ladybug or two and a grasshopper. Pull out a magnifying glass and let them get a closer look. Ask kids to explain the features of each insect. What makes bugs similar and what makes them different? How do they move? Do they communicate? Go online or visit your library for additional resources so kids can learn more about their favorites.

If you live near water, explore your local lakeshore or beach for an abundance of natural wonders. Shells, driftwood, seaweed, tadpoles, fish and birds provide great learning opportunities for eager young minds. Talk about which animals live in the water, on the shore, on land and in trees. Discuss their food chains and how their ecosystems interact. How do humans affect their habitats? If you find that your kids are really interested in preserving the environment, speak to your local Parks and Recreation department about volunteer cleanup efforts.

Color Your Own Camp JournalTaking a vacation this summer? National parks can be an affordable and educational journey for the entire family. Explore your options then ask your kids what they would like to see. Waterfalls, geysers, natural gorges, underground tunnels and caves, wide rivers and tall mountains are just a few of America’s wonders. When you pack for your trip, include journals and scrapbooks for the kids to record what they see. Take photos to add later, collect samples (where allowed) or have kids draw pictures of what they experience. A good way to help them explain their adventures is through the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. You’ll be delighted at what they describe!

Discover arts & crafts, recipes, songs and more fun activities to complement your summer adventures. Read our Bugs Lesson Plan for a teacher’s top tips.

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