Common Summer Excursions Made Educational
By: Diana Chase, M.S.
As summer is upon us, so are the fun activities and outings that many families do not have an opportunity to do during the school year…
As many educators and parents know, getting your child to sit down and do that four-letter word, “work,” during the summer is quite challenging. And, let’s be honest, summer is summer, and those fun excursions SHOULD be a focus.
But, if you’re strategic, you can easily slide in some opportunities to practice academic skills, perhaps without your child even realizing it!
Below are a few ways to make some frequent summer outings educational… without packing anything extra!! And, even if you do have a set plan for to ward off brain atrophy over the summer (yay!), it never hurts to create some extra learning opportunities!
How To Turn Common Summer Excursions Into An Educational Lesson;
Zoo Trip – Summer Learning
As you’re visiting different animals, ask your child to use multiplication to figure out how many “legs” are in the cages.
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Or, for a younger child, to practice counting, just simply have them count the legs in each cage. You can even make tally marks on the zoo map to show the number of legs in different areas of the zoo and count them all up when you’re done.
You could also count eyes, wings, noses, etc. based on the skill level of your child. Or, even switch it up to keep it fun.
You could even keep a count of the number of types of animals you see (animals with black fur, animals with wings, animals that live in water, animals in trees, etc.) and then ask your child subtraction and addition facts as you walk around.
For science, ask your child questions about which food each animal eats, identify the parts of trees/plants in the different habitats of each animal, and talk about the classification of each animal.
Beachtime Summer Learning
You can easily make beach time educational!
If you want to do a little work beforehand, or even while you’re at the beach, grab a dry erase marker and write some words (or math facts!) on the buckets, shovels, beach balls and other toys that you bring. Have your child read the words/facts as they are playing.
Need a less obvious activity?
Play “I Spy” with your child to develop vocabulary and thinking skills…
Take turns spying something and giving clues or asking questions to find out the object. You can even use clues like “it begins with (insert letter sound), it rhymes with (insert word).
Oh, and don’t forget to read the packages of the snacks you eat throughout the day!
Amusement Parks/Fairs Summer Learning
While you’re waiting in line for rides, have your child
- Read The Signs
- Find Rhyming Words That Match The Words In The Signs
- Find Words Within Words
See who can come up with the most or take turns finding words.
If your child is a little older, see if they can put the words on signs in ABC order without writing it down!
You can also practice skip counting by two’s and count people wearing a certain color/style of shoe. Practice elapsed time by having your child read a clock (maybe you have an analog watch or use your phone as an extra challenge) and set the alarm to go off randomly and have your child determine how much time has passed each time the alarm goes off.
This is also a GREAT place to practice map and problem-solving skills. Have your child determine which way you need to go to find the next ride.
Parks/Playground Summer Learning
– Playgrounds and parks are a great place to find shapes, lines, and many other geometry related skills.
Have your child identify basic shapes on the playground as they are moving between pieces of equipment.
If your child is a little older, spark their creativity and find;
- Oblique lines on the equipment
Hopefully these small, “packing free” ideas will help you squeeze in some skill and concept practice throughout the many trips you’ll take over the summer.
And, if you’re really lucky, maybe your child won’t even realize that they are actually WORKING on summer break!
Are you searching for more in-depth summer learning?
Special Education Tutoring in a fun, interactive, online learning environment could be precisely what your child needs to break the monotony of a typical classroom-bound school year!
~ Diana Chase
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 at and is filed under Summer Learning and tagged as Diana Chase, Summer Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.