8 Fun and Easy Ideas for Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer

We all know that it can be difficult to keep kids working through the summer. On the one hand we want kids to have fun and enjoy the summer and on the other hand we don't want everything they have learned through the year to simply rent space in their brains soon to leave once the school year is over...we want those skills and strategies to make a home in their brains & stay as long as they can. So here are 8 Easy & Fun Ideas for Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer. I bet you all know #8!...
We all know that it can be difficult to keep kids working through the summer . One the one hand, we want our children to have fun and enjoy the summer and on the other hand, we don't want everything they have learned to simply rent space in their brains soon to take a hike once the school year is over...we want those skills and strategies to make permanent home in their brains and stay as long as they can!

We also know how we wish our students would work during the summer to keep all the skills and strategies that they have learned all year long sharp without gaps and ready to go when school begins the next school year. You always have some students who never stop working over the summer and others who never work at all over the summer. There are so many ways to keep the kiddos that leave your classroom ready to "jump" back into learning come fall and bridge the gap between summer and fall.
Here are a few tried and true ideas to share with parents and colleagues:  Fun and Easy Ideas for Keeping Skills Sharp During the Summer Months:

1.  Have each student make a "Summer Journal" to jot down daily activities that they did over the summer. This is a great way to keep students writing over the summer and they can add pictures and captions somewhat like a scrapbook filled with summer memories. This can be a great way for children to document memories. How much fun will they have looking back on this as a young adult? These journals can be brought form home and decorated, run off on paper or even purchased at a dollar store. Here is one I made especially for this purpose. It is a print, assemble and go product and can be found on my shop Sunshine and Lollipops  Oh and did I tell you that it is only $1.50?

2.  Use a blank calendar and brainstorm ideas with your class that they can do over the summer to keep skills sharp. Ideas such as counting how many shoes your mom has in the closet to how many steps it is around the neighborhood to measuring the perimeter or area of a room in their house. Your students can then jot these ideas down on different dates on their calendar and complete them through the summer.

3.  You can copy ideas from the class and type them into a calendar frame for each student to take home through the summer to work with when they are faced with a rainy summer day at the shore or traveling to a vacation destination...remember if a car travels 60 miles per hour and it takes 2 1/2 hours to get to Orlando, how many miles have we traveled? Oh how many of you remember those questions?? Oh, before I forget, if you teach first grade...I have one already made up for all you "fun"tastic first grade BFF's...Oops! I am just assuming that I AM your BEST FRIEND right about now...Am I right? I did all the work for YOU!!! Yep here it is Summer Calendar for First Grade

4.  Make up a packet of review math skills that were taught throughout the school year for children to bring home over the summer. Sorry guys...don't have this one pre-made...but I bet someone else does...get over to that TpT search engine and start typing!!!

5.  Summer educational field trips are another easy way to keep kids thinking over the summer. Depending where you live, scope out some ideas, jot these ideas in a newsletter and send it home with children. Around where I live, we have a zoo, arboretums, the Crayola Crayon Factory, Please Touch Museum, lots of history and much more! I KNOW parents will love to have the ideas right at their fingertips!!!

6.  Make up a Summer Reading List of Books that are geared toward your student's grade level and interests and send it home with students. You might want to include some generic frames or book craft ideas for students to use to respond to their reading.

7.  Many times while students are sitting on the beach, they can,at times become...you know that infamous word that begins with a B and we dislike it when a child says it, but in today's world, I hear it ALL the time...even from my 3 year old granddaughter...how can you possibly be B-O-R-E-D at 3...so actually they might have this B-word happen on the beach. Now, I know I will definitely be your BBF "Bestie Blogger Friend"when you see this...Check this out...yep pages to work on while your sitting at the beach or pool. Are you lovin' it?

8.  Here are some fun ideas to add a little math and ELA fun to your summer. You are sitting at the pool or beach or driving in the car and...OH NO the B-word again...so what do you do? Jot these down and you will be covered. How many steps do you think it will take you to get to the snack bar? Estimate and check...where you right? How many more or less steps did it take you? See how many steps it takes your friend, sister anyone sitting near you. In the car...do you remember the alphabet game? Give each child a piece of paper and you if you are so inclined to play and see how many items you can find that begin with each letter of the alphabet or look for signs and just jot down words you see that begin with each letter of the alphabet. You can do this for shapes (3-D shapes as well)...remember finding license plates from various states...list those as well and see who can find the most...then put them in alphabetical order! On the beach, find some seashells and categorize them according to color, shape, texture etc. Oh and did I mention recording how many times you can jump, hop, blink your eyes, do jumping jacks, jump rope in a minute...they can guess or estimate and see if they are right...I think you get the idea...put those little brains in action and tire them out!! What am I kidding...you will never tire a child. They have more energy than you and I put together! Maybe jot down these ideas in an End of School Year Summer Fun Idea Newsletter...who knows I might just create it as a freebie before the school year ends.

I know what you are thinking: " Okay, this all sounds great on paper, but where is the accountability and are the students really going to do this over the summer?" Here is what I did with my first and second graders: I created a packet for my students to use so they could keep their skills sharp and move right on into second or third grade without missing a beat. Then I would have the children visit me in the fall during the first couple weeks of school and show me the work they completed. I then gave them a Summer Award and a special “second grade” or "third grade" school supply. I usually got a pencil that said,” Second Graders are Great”, "Third grade is Terrific" or something like that!! My school also gave summer assignments, but I still sent ideas, packets or Summer Calendars home because it was a super way to support our summer program and gave more specific ideas of activities to complete. I would staple a Summer Calendar into one packet and then a journal with response pages into another packet and send this home for summer work in a Beach pail. It worked with about 90-95% of the students I taught.

 PS- It might be fun to keep a Summer Journal or scrapbook to share with your incoming students next year! I hope this brings a little sunshine your way! Have fun you deserve it! Soak up a little sun for me while you are at it!!

Oh...and here is another fun summer idea...so...I guess I really have 9 ideas...Oh Well...Summer Charades Game

Enjoy the rest of your school year!!


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7 comments

  1. Love these ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  2. Great ideas. We've started to random math problems at breakfast just for fun, like how many seconds are in a year or what is 1% of 1,000,000. It's bee a lot of fun.

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    1. Amy-
      Great ideas...got to get that learning in anyway you can!!1

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  3. Great idea Amy...get learning in any way you can!

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