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Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

With the traditional school year calendar coming to a close, I’m sure there are a lot of parents wondering how to entertain their kids over the summer and avoid the summer slide.  My kids are on a year-round calendar, but every time they track out I try to plan a bunch of educational activities for them to do, especially to cover some of the areas I feel they don’t have a lot of time for while they’re tracked in. 

Here are some of my best ideas for things to schedule into those long summer days to keep the kids thinking and learning:

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Math

  • Create a personalized learning program online for free at Khan Academy.
  • Have kids help budget a family vacation.
  • Cook or bake together and talk about units of measurement.  Double or cut a recipe in half or thirds for an extra challenge. 
  • Have the kids use a ruler or measuring tape to measure items around the house, a protractor to measure angles, or have a shape scavenger hunt.
  • Sign up for a class on Outschool.  
  • Take family surveys and make pie charts and graphs with the data.
  • Put together puzzles or build items with tangrams.
  • Shop mindfully together as a family.  Go to the grocery store and bring a calculator along.  Compare prices and add up the total of what you put in the shopping cart.  Discuss the importance of budgeting.
  • Play a strategy or math-based game.  Monopoly and Life are great for learning about money. 
  • Learn about stocks and “invest” imaginary amounts in different stocks.  Chart how each stock does for a week or two. 
  • Set up a lemonade stand or a pretend store to learn about making change or using a calculator.

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Science

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Technology

  • Visit a virtual reality location like Augmentality Labs
  • Take a class at Code Ninjas.
  • Learn to code online at Code.org.
  • Buy Google Cardboard or a similar viewer to take trips around the world or under the sea using free virtual reality apps.

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation 

Art

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Music/Performing Arts

  • Take in a North Carolina Symphony concert like the free one at Koka Booth Amphitheatre on the fourth of July.
  • Visit a summer theater production at DPAC  (Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts) or a local company like Paperhand Puppet Intervention.
  • Check out a concert at Koka Booth, PNC Arena, or Red Hat Amphitheater or see who is performing at a food truck or arts festival.  Waverly Place in Cary hosts a Wind Down Wednesday free concert series starting June 5th.
  • Study film making techniques and try making a stop-motion film with legos or making and editing a movie in iMovie.
  • Put on a play or practice for a recital at your next family gathering.
  • Use an app like Garage Band to compose music or build instruments using recyclables, beans, or rubber bands.
  • Practice magic and card tricks learned on youtube and put on a neighborhood magic show.
  • Listen to a performance of Peter and the Wolf to learn the sounds of different instruments.  Try identifying those instruments in other classical music. 

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Social Studies

  • Visit one of the must-see historic sites in the Triangle mentioned in Preserving the Past for the Future-  National Historic Preservation Month
  • Have kids draw a map of their neighborhood, follow a “treasure map” of locations in downtown Raleigh, or follow a trail map on a hike through Umstead or another local park.
  • Read biographies of interest at a bookstore or library.  The “Who Was” series and Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer are fantastic.
  • Try a new ethnic cuisine at a local restaurant or food truck rodeo.
  • Have older kids plan a virtual vacation and plan a trip to a location of their choice.  Have them research the cost to travel there, historic sites to visit, and make photoshop themselves into pictures to write a scrapbook of their experience.
  • Download a language app, watch youtube videos, or borrow language CDs from the library to learn a new language as a family.
  • Visit a cultural festival like the NC Japan Summer Festival on August 3rd or the African American Cultural Festival during Labor Day weekend.

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation 

Literacy

  • Visit different libraries around town every two weeks so you return your books on time. (Did you know that Wake County Library books can be returned to any location?)  Be sure to check out their free library activities like story times or book clubs.
  • Sign up for a summer reading challenge.
  • Download the free Libby app on a kid-friendly device for independent reading or download audios to listen to as a family in the car.
  • Visit local book stores like Quail Ridge Books, Read With Me, or Mr. Mike’s Used Books.
  • Read books aloud together as a family.  Classics like Charlotte’s Web, Peter Pan, or Harry Potter can appeal to lots of ages.  Have older kids take turns reading.
  • Keep a journal of your family vacation.
  • Have kids write a story or comic book to share with the family.
  • Keep a word wall of new words young students learned to read or spell, or new vocabulary words older students found in their reading.
  • Make youtube videos of kids reading books to other kids or use an audio recording app to make your own books on CD.
  • Start a book club with some friends from school and plan to get together once a month for book discussions and play.
  • Try something new together inspired by a book you’re reading.  Paint a fence like Tom Sawyer, make homemade chocolate bars while reading Willy Wonka, or make homemade butter or cheese like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Enriching Ways to Spend Summer Vacation

Physical Education

 

Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas for providing fun and academically enriching activities for your kids this summer.  Share your ideas or let us know which of these ideas you tried in the comment section below. 

 

 

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