Educational Activities for Summer

Fun and Easy Summer Activities to Keep Your Child Reading and Writing

Research shows that many children drop as much as half a grade in reading ability over the summer because they stop reading for three months. Writing skills can fall behind too. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Reading and writing over the summer doesn’t have to be boring.

From paper chains, to writing poems, from book clubs to crossword puzzles, you and your children are in for a summer of reading and writing fun. It’s a known fact that children, as well as adults, learn more when they are relaxed and happy! So, here’s to a summer of fun that builds school skills.

Let’s Read

Buy Music, Art, Cook or Joke Books: Do your children love to sing? Do they love to draw? Cook? Or tell jokes? From reading the words to their favorite songs to cooking up the family’s dinner to sharing knock knock jokes, reluctant readers will be reading.

Make Origami: Without realizing it, kids are reading as they follow directions to make an origami bird. You’ll find books on origami in local book stores, online, at your library. Be sure to help your child pick a book that has origami they can make. Some origami is complicated even if the directions are easy to read.

Make a Vocabulary Paper Chain: You don’t have to have a party to make a paper chain. All you need are scissors and piles of construction paper. Write a new vocabulary word and its definition on each strip of paper, keeping the writing on the outside of each link. Keep adding a new link for each new vocabulary word. Watch the chain grow as your child’s vocabulary grows.

Do Crossword Puzzles, Word Finds and Word Jumbles: Word games and puzzles are perfect for developing minds. They not only build vocabulary but help with following directions and focusing skills. Kids can make their own puzzles. If they want help designing the grid, you can find several puzzle-makers on line.

Play Board Games: Scrabble,Go to the Head of the Class, Charades, and Monopoly are just a few of the great board games that are fun and educational. Many board games come in different editions from easy or junior to adult.

Buy Mad Libs: Did you have Mad Libs as a child? It’s the perfect way to learn parts of speech. Without ever having to do pages of drill looking for nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, kids laugh their way through pages of silly outrageous stories while learning parts of speech.

Go Back in History with old Comic Books: Search your attic for those old Superman, Batman or Spiderman comics. Before you know it, your reluctant reader will be attached his favorite superhero. Or how about Little LuLu, Donald Duck, Archie and Veronica and Peanuts.

Start a Book Club: If your local library doesn’t offer a book club, start one yourself. Let your child decide with you on several titles. Invite her friends over and hold the first book club meeting. Several online sites have great suggestions for starting book clubs.

Let’s Write

Make a Word Collage: Cut words, phrases and sentences out of old magazines. Paste them together to write a story. Cut out or draw pictures to illustrate the story.

Write to a Pen Pal: A pen pal can be a relative or friend that lives in the next town, state or in another country. Children enjoy writing, addressing, and mailing letters to a friend, especially if it means getting a letter back in the mail.

Keep a Diary: Many kids love to write down what they’ve done every day. A fun routine is to write what you did everyday of your summer vacation. Since it may become too much every day, a special diary can be written just about camp or the family vacation.

Not all of these activities will appeal to every child. Let your kids pick what they want to do. Summer is certainly a time to relax and have fun. At the same time, you want your child to keep moving forward with reading and writing.

Dr. Linda Silbert and her husband Dr. Al Silbert are authors of the award-winning book Why Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids. They are directors of the Strong Learning Centers, a full service tutoring and test prep company in NY and other states. Contact them at www. or call 1-845-628-7910.


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  1. Jessica says:

    Great ideas, thank you. I find that the summer flies by, and all my good intentions regarding doing educational activities fly away too. I’ll print this page and discuss it with my children during breakfast tomorrow!

    Jessica, mom of 3 small souls in TX