The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.

84 Inspired and Clever Ways to Boost Summer Learning

Step 1: Ditch the Desk

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Kids learn best when they follow their interests. Want to boost learning this summer? Find inspiration here.
Inspire Learning this Summer
Give your child a chance to create some excitement when school’s not in session. Let her decide what to read, where to read, what to listen to, and what else she wants to learn. Toss around these ideas, and see what flies.
Weird and awesome places to read and think—in public or not
  • In the tub, without water
  • In a fort with a friend
  • In a fort indoors, siblings optional
  • At the breakfast table
  • On a swing gently swinging
  • In a kiddie pool filled with water
  • On a seesaw (on the ground)
  • In a rocking chair or glider
  • In a sand chair at the beach
  • In a tree house or wagon
  • On a blanket at a lake
  • In a closet with a flashlight
  • On a rowboat on a pond
  • In the bleachers at a game
  • At a campsite by a fire
  • In line at a theme park
  • At a snack bar at a pool
  • In a chair at the dentist
  • On a sofa before dinner
  • On a carpet while wearing headphones
  • In bed before lights out
Odd and oddly normal things kids can and should read over time
  • Holidays and celebrations on a calendar
  • Stickies and notes around the house
  • Words on a license
  • A heads-up for the sitter
  • A list of chores for the family
  • A list of summer plans
  • A bus’s destination
  • A picture book unassisted
  • A chapter book with help
  • A chapter book alone
  • A graphic novel
  • An e-book or e-zine
  • A schedule for a train
  • Airline arrivals and departures
  • A paragraph on a newspaper page
  • A sentence from Shakespeare
  • A poem by Shakespeare
  • A movie review
  • A caption for a picture
  • An email from Grandma
  • TV listings for tonight
  • A list of just-released movies
  • A poem to a sibling
  • A joke from a joke book
  • A scene in a play
  • A riddle you don’t know
  • A DIY instruction
  • The news to a pet
  • Your daily to-do list
  • A book review on Sunday
  • Instructions for a game
  • A how-to anything
  • A shopping list for dinner
  • A recipe in a cookbook
  • A cereal-box label
  • Signs in stores at the mall
  • Towns on a map
  • Food on a menu
  • Directions to a driver
Smart and silly things kids can calculate or try
  • Count everything and anything, including birds, bees, flowers, trees, windows, doors, and parked cars on your street.
  • Play mini golf. Keep score.
  • Go bowling. Keep track of spares and strikes.
  • Bake brownies from a recipe.
  • Double the recipe and make twice as many next week.
  • Count your red shirts and your blue shirts. Multiply the two.
  • Tally all the towels. Divide them in half, and half again.
  • Count buttons in a button box. Check your work.
  • Sort coins into pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
  • Play pretend store with the food in your pantry. Buy what you like and pay with dollar bills and change.
  • Mail a letter. Use dollar bills to pay for stamps. Count the change.
  • Estimate the cost of groceries in your market basket by rounding up or down.
  • Check the time on a watch, first analog, then digital.
  • Make slime . . . or flubber.
  • Dig for earthworms.
  • Listen to the sounds of nature at daybreak.
  • Check them out again at dusk.
  • Identify a tree by its bark, a bird by its tweet, a flower by its petal, a butterfly by its wing.
  • Visit a touch museum, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and a working farm.
  • Plant an herb.
  • Plant a bulb.
  • Plant sweet potatoes.
  • Plant cucumbers.
  • Eat what you grow.