Help Your Kids Avoid “Summer Slide” with Fun Learning Activities
Summer is a time to relax and recharge. But many parents also worry about the dreaded “summer slide”—the learning loss that takes place over the long break. Whether you’re trying to keep your child on track for the upcoming school year or you’re just tired of hearing “I’m bored,” you’re sure to appreciate this list of fun and interesting summer-themed activities to keep those brain cells busy.
Sand and Surf
Elementary school: Kids can collect seashells down by the seashore for this neat crystal-growing experiment. (No plans to be at a beach this summer? Just pick up some inexpensive shells at your local craft store!) This experiment involves Borax, which can be irritating, so be sure to supervise younger kids.
Middle school: Try a fun hands-on experiment designed to show middle schoolers how ions in salt water act like wires to connect energy.
High school: In this activity, students explore how sailors use charts to navigate on water. They’ll learn how to read a nautical chart, then draw their own using their new knowledge.
Growing Things for Growing Kids
Elementary school: Kids can create life with this propagation technique that turns one plant into many. They’ll also learn about a plant’s growth cycle and what might impact root development.
Elementary and middle school: Most kids know that apples turn brown shortly after they’re sliced, but why does that happen? Now they can find out with this fun activity that studies oxidation.
Middle school: With this hands-on gardening plan, students not only will learn about how plants grow and spread but also will be helping our buzzing, pollinating friends in the process.
High school: As cities heat up in our changing climate, students may be interested to learn about rooftop gardens and how they might be able to reduce temperatures.
Sunshine and Blue Skies
Elementary school: Putting sunscreen on unwilling children during the summer is the bane of many parents’ existence. But this sunscreen experiment will show kids why it’s important (and they won’t get burned in the process).
Middle school: A collection of solar energy videos will help middle schoolers (and maybe their parents!) understand how sun is converted into electricity, how solar panels work, and more.
High school: Students gain a deep understanding of renewable energy and efficiency by building a working solar water heater. Perfect for the budding engineer.
Bikes and Skateboards: Kid-Powered Transportation
Elementary school: Kids who love to bike should know that it’s the gears that make the whole contraption so magical. But gears are also key to cars, pumps, and wind turbines. This lesson will explain how gears work and why they’re critical to so many of our machines.
Middle school: Most of us want to avoid friction, but when it comes to biking, you’ll be glad to have friction when you squeeze the hand brake to stop or slow down. In this engineering experiment, students will study how surface size affects friction and how it can be applied in many situations.
High school: This online laboratory puts students in a virtual skate park setting to experiment with energy and gravity. The simulated experiments boost their comprehension of conservation of energy between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.
Insects, Bugs, and Creepy Crawlers
Elementary: The book Insects: Find Adventure! Go Outside! Have Fun! Be a Backyard Insect Inspector! is a fun photo-filled guide to insects that will have kids looking for all kinds of these crawling and flying creatures right in their own backyards. With tons of info and interactive prompts, it’s the perfect companion for backyard biology, field trip forays, or camping campaigns. Not sure about your child’s tolerance of bugs? Try your local public library to borrow books to help you find and identify critters!
Middle school: Check out the Insect Safari lesson, which guides students to investigate the secret lives of the creatures living in their own backyard gardens and helps them learn whether the critters are helping or hurting the plants.
High school: Nature will come alive for students who discover Smithsonian Magazine’s fascinating article about killer insects. “A hidden group of assassins has been lurking undetected around the midwestern and eastern U.S. for years. The formidable killers ambush their victims by stabbing them with hollow, blade-like instruments and sucking out the liquids inside—not unlike the horrific brain bug from Starship Troopers.”
With a Connections Academy®-supported online school, parents have the opportunity to be more involved in their children’s education and to ensure their individual needs are met. For more fun, hands-on learning activities for families, visit our resources page.