Top 4 Ways to Keep Special Education Students Engaged Over Summer Break

Kids running to leave on the last day of school before the summer break.

I remember all too well the feeling of dread that came over me as I watched my son’s bus pull away for his last day of school. In a few short weeks, he would be sitting in front of the TV during summer break with nothing to fill his time but video games and mindless TV shows.

The days were long, and boredom was abundant here at home. There were no friends to play with or sports practices to go to. And so we found ourselves desperately searching for ways to keep him engaged through the summer months – something that could help him maintain some level of learning while still having fun!

Luckily, there are some great resources out there today that will help you with that!


Top 4 Ways to Keep Special Education Students Engaged Over Summer Break


Most children love summer because in summer there is no school. Although kids need a little break from academics, they still require socialization, academic support, and a consistent schedule. 

Most children thrive with consistency. After all, consistency is critical in achieving many goals. For example, most of your child’s IEP goals are documented and practiced each quarter consistently to ensure to you as a parent that they are practicing on those goals. 

As a parent, you can help your child stay actively engaged during the summer with these top 4 ways.


Want One-On-One Expert Help?!



Find A Tutor TODAY!

#1 ESY or Extended School Year Services

During summer, some children show regression in the area of academics. Therefore, extended School Year Services or ESY services are frequently added to a child’s IEP or Individualized Education Plan to prevent summer regression. 

Summer regression is one of the most common topics in regards to special education students. As a parent, you can advocate for your child during the summer. ESY services is an IEP or Individualized Education Plan service that the team can add if the group collectively feels your child would benefit from ESY. 

Parents, teachers, or school systems may recommend ESY services for students that: 

  • Have made a great deal of progress and are close to grasping specific objectives or goals
  • Are behind or may potentially fall behind and need extra help 

#2 Camp Over Summer Break

Summer camp is one of the best ways to keep your kids engaged and entertained over summer break. In addition, it’s an excellent way for them to make friends, gain new skills, and explore different interests! 


Organizations that Offer Summer Camp

Many different places offer summer camps, and they come in all shapes and sizes to suit whatever adventure suits you best!

So whether you’re looking for a science camp or something more adventurous, there is an option out there just right for your child’s needs.


Examples of Organizations Offering Summer Camps

  • Churches
  • Libraries
  • Community colleges
  • School systems 
  • Nonprofit groups
  • Museums

Public school systems often offer skills camps that are usually a few weeks long. Students will sharpen their academic skills in specific subject areas. These camps can also be great for those who need some social skills.

The best camps are the ones that allow students to try something they’ve never done before. For example, I went to a camp program one summer where we learned about rockets and built our own in the process!


How to Find Summer Camps? 

Here are two places to start your search for summer camp programs: 


#3 YMCA or Local Fitness Clubs

At school, children need to get a certain amount of time physical education per week. As a teacher, I have seen the benefits of physical education and recess during the school day. During those times of the day, children can release a lot of their energy. 

However, during the summer, kids have the most availability in their schedules. Most YMCA’s or local fitness clubs have many great programs for the kids during the summer.  

Almost every YMCA has a summer program where children can come for the day and do different activities. 

H-3 Activities Include: 

  • Art time
  • Fitness hour
  • Nutrition class
  • Outdoor activities

These centers also often offer classes for parents and children to participate in together.


#4 Community Organizations Provide Activities for Kids Over Summer Break

During the summer, many churches or organizations offer different childcare options for parents who are working. In addition, they often have opportunities for children to participate in engaging activities.  

For example, a Martial Arts Karate School teaches children in the summer martial arts in my town. They also offer skills, camps, and before and after school programs for children. There are also several churches in the area that offer these opportunities.

Your city or nonprofit organizations may offer activities for students over summer break. 

Examples of Nonprofit and Community Organizations With Activities

  • Girl Scouts
  • Boy Scouts
  • Churches
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America

What Can You Do at Home Over Summer Break?  

Even if you do find activities for your child to do over summer break outside the home, you can do a few things at home. 

Create a Schedule- 

Make a plan with your child and outline what they will do each week or day. A plan is beneficial for the whole family, especially for special needs children who need consistency and routine.


Encourage them to exercise every day by doing things like: 

  • Going outside for walks
  • Playing sports
  • Playing games and having dance-offs with siblings or friends 
  • Swimming 
  • Riding a bike

Provide Learning Activities at Home- 

There are a lot of ways that you can provide learning activities for your child at home. 

  • Read books about topics they’re interested in
  • Take online classes through Coursera or other sites like Khan Academy
  • Explore special interests they typically don’t have time for during the school year
  • Having a family game night with games that teach history, geography, etc. 
  • Try out one-on-one special education tutoring with us!


Additional Resources to Keep Special Education Students Engaged Over Summer Break

Providing an engaging environment over long breaks like summer can seem difficult when children have plenty of free time on their hands, and you don’t. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to fit in engaging activities.

What activities have you found that help your child? Drop them in the comments below. 


Here are additional ideas of fun learning activities to do over summer break: 


Do you have a child that needs one on one assistance?  

We offer one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere the student is! Why? Because our special education experts conduct their sessions online!

Get started with a free consultation today!



Kids running to leave on the last day of school before the summer break.
With summer break upon us, it’s time to start thinking about activities that will keep your special education students engaged all summer.

Taylor Fulcher

Taylor Fulcher

Taylor Fulcher

Taylor Fulcher

Leave a Reply