Whether you homeschool or not, as parents, it’s helpful to have some extra summer activities up our sleeve. Even though our kids are technically “out of school,” we want to keep their brains firing during the off season! As a way to help you reach that goal, I created this list of 20 educational summer activities for kids of all ages.
Obviously, there are a lot of outdoor activities on this list, but I wanted to include some indoor ones as well. On super hot or rainy days, it’s nice to have some fun and engaging things to do inside.
Collaborators experienced in education and homeschool
In making this list of educational summer activities for kids, I wanted to get the input of some other blogging friends. Each one of these collaborators are well-versed in education and homeschooling. They all have valuable information and ideas to share, so I encourage you to check them out if you are looking for even more information on how to live a lifestyle of learning!
Now, let’s get to it!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
20 Educational Summer Activities for Kids
1. Start a small backyard garden
If you don’t already have a raised bed or garden space, take a day and create a small one. Choose some easy-to-grow plants and maybe watch a few YouTube videos together on how to find success. This is a great way to learn about the life cycle of plants, chemical elements found in soil, and is a simple way to get your kids involved in a little physical labor. Check out this post by Happy Homeschool Adventures on implementing a farm to table gardening program with your kids!
2. Learn to play chess
My 8 year old recently learned to play chess and has been actually been giving me a refresher course. It’s so much fun! Chess is a great game for slightly older kids to really get the logic side of the brain working, and it’s a great competition.
3. Create a habitat
Okay, this is not my first choice, but it definitely is for my little boys. There is something magical about giving kids a cardboard box or jar with a lid and telling them to go collect bugs, grass, and leaves. You could also do frogs or lizards. Kids love the satisfaction of having a new “pet” and observing what it does. Try keeping the bug or frog for a day or two and then let it go free again.
4. Download and print some free educational coloring pages
I am loving these frog coloring pages over at Nature Inspired Learning. They provide the opportunity to do even more in-depth learning about frogs! Or, if your child is more of a unicorn lover, these coloring pages at Silo & Sage are absolutely adorable. They also come with some writing prompts to give practice in that area.
5. Write on sticky notes and go word hunting
This is a great little game for new readers. Grab a sticky note pad and hide them in clever places throughout the house (or outside!). Have the kids shout out the words as they find the notes. You can also make this a themed game by only writing down animals, four-letter words, food, etc.
6. Take a mindful nature walk
It’s a wonderful thing to send kids outside. However, choosing to explore the outdoors in a mindful and intentional way is a little bit different. Simply Candice has an excellent post here that gives some tangible ways to be mindful as you and your kids spend time outside.
7. Cover the dining room table with artist paper and paint
My kids love it when I pull out our big rolls of easel paper and tape it to our dining table. I don’t know what it is about paint, but it gets them so excited. This activity gives them creative freedom to draw and paint some amazing things!
8. Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt
Summer is a great time to go outside and study all the plants and wildlife that the season brings. Kids love checking off boxes, so be sure to download this free printable nature scavenger hunt from Silo & Sage! I love that there is a picture version only for kiddos who aren’t yet able to read.
9. Make a giant matching game
This is a fun and engaging activity for younger kiddos. I’ve found that by letting them help make the game, they get even more involved! Grab some paper plates and write letters, words, shapes, or numbers on the top of the plate. Then turn them all upside down and have some matching fun. The paper plates take up more space than your typical dining room table, so it’s best to play this either outside or in a room with a lot of floor space.
10. Read and write with sidewalk chalk
If you have a concrete walk or driveway, grab some sturdy sidewalk chalk and practice writing letters and numbers. Kids love writing their name in big, bright letters. You can also write words and have them practice reading them.
11. Learn to draw together
I am not skilled in drawing whatsoever, but it’s fun to try alongside my boys. This Intentional Home has a list of some wonderful resources and books to teach kids how to draw! Another resource I like to use is Art For Kids Hub on YouTube.
12. Make your own bug spray
Kids love making recipes, and this homemade bug spray from Kindling Wild is a great one! There’s even a printable label for when you’re done. Let them be little chemists and help get your family protected while on your outdoor adventures this summer!
13. Play dominoes
There are so many ways to play dominoes that is fun for both kids and adults! It’s an easy way to play together and encourage math and counting skills in your children. This Mexican Train set is one of our personal favorites.
14. Gather materials and make nature’s headdresses
Head on over to Happy Homeschool Adventures for all the instructions on how to collect beautiful items in nature to make these adorable headdresses. This is a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon with your kids and tie in some science and art lessons.
15. Create a summer reading bingo card
Make a list of age-appropriate books for your child. Draw up a bingo card (either by hand or on the computer) and put the different book titles in each square. Then place in a prominent spot! Have a reward ready for when they get bingo. This is a great thing to point kids toward if they say they’re bored or if you just want to help them wind down for the day.
16. Engage in some water play
Playing in water may not seem educational on the surface. However, especially in younger children, it helps to form neural pathways by practicing both fine and gross motor skills. Water tables are awesome, but so are mud puddles and cheap kiddie pools!
17. Make homemade playdough
You can never go wrong with playdough as a source of entertainment. Never. Silo & Sage has a wonderful, naturally dyed playdough recipe that would make a great indoor activity for a rainy or extra hot summer day! Teach some phonics or letter recognition skills by having the kids make letters with the dough.
18. Decode a seed packet and do some planting
One of my personal favorites on the list, this post by Nature Inspired Learning is jam-packed with information on how to practice both literacy and science by decoding a seed packet with multiple ages at once. Once you finish learning all the information on your packet, go out and plant the seed so your kids can observe different stages of plant growth.
19. Do a butterfly craft
20. Build a simple bench with hand tools
As a mom of boys, this is an activity I can really appreciate. But it’s just as valuable for girls! We are country homesteaders, so teaching tool and woodworking skills is right up there with reading and writing. Do a YouTube search to help you get started. If you aren’t handy yourself, ask your husband if he can get involved! This is a project that can either be done in a day or can be spread out in small increments over the course of a week or more.
Will you be trying any of these educational summer activities with your kids? Let me know in a comment!
Or, read more Kids & Homeschooling from Growing Dawn.