Mom Monday-Keep your kids learning over summer

17 Jun

School is out and over the summer break, we all know how kids can easily forget up to 2 months of learning if their brains stay dormant for those 9 -10 weeks. However, they work hard at school and deserve the break so the last thing you want is to load them with workbooks and educational videos that may take time away from play. Here’s some great ideas to keep your kids learning over summer.

Mom Monday-How to eep kids learning over summer

Even worse, with so many events all summer it is hard to stay consistent enough with summer learning to make any sort of learning structure at home a routine. So as a Mom to a 7 year old and daughter of a school teacher, I have learned and picked up some fun ways to keep the kids engaged in learning over the summer.


Most of these are meant for the elementary-aged student. With my son heading into second grade, he is already looking forward to getting started on some of these.



This is by far the most important habit to keep active on all school breaks. Never stop reading! If you do nothing else over summer or other school breaks, always make sure reading is a daily habit. It will benefit them the most in so many ways.


There are many summer reading programs that well-known retailers use to keep the kids engaged in reading. Many require monthly logs and because it is already into June you will want to get signed up ASAP and get these logs started.


Make a day of turning in reading hours at the end of each month. Put it on the calendar to see-‘turn in logs, celebrate with lunch’. Let them know it’s on the calendar and have it circled and available for them to see at all times. You watch-they won’t stop talking about that day they see marked! Monthly reading lunch date! If lunch is not in the budget, make it a park day!

  • Barnes and Nobles: For every 8 books read and marked on the printable journal, the kids pick out a free book from the approved list.



  • Book Adventures from Sylvan: Keep a reading log online and earn points. These points can be traded in for prizes like magazine subscriptions, books and candy.


  • Half Price Books Summer Reading Program: If your child logs 300 reading hours June-July, they get a $5 gift card. My son love buying his Magic Tree House books here and at $1.99 each, he could get 2!


  • H.E.B. Summer Buddy Reading Program (Tx only)After 10 books, your child will get a form to mail in for a free reading Tshirt.


  • Chuck E Cheese Monthly Reading Program: Turn in your monthly reading log for free tokens. Most of the time it is 5 free tokens, but get on their email list because I have had offers where they can earn even more with special coupons combined with their logs



Get on your local county library email list and check their events calendar. My June is already full of weekly events I will take my son to from a water rescue exhibit to a LEGO Engineering event all happening at our library. Most of these are talent and science related and usually in the mornings for an hour or so!


On those days the kids are so bored send them outside on a science field trip! You can tell them that “Todays letters of the day are B, D and L (example)” and have them hunt for anything that starts with those letters. They can even take a camera or crayons & paper to draw photos in case what they find is too large to carry inside. Their creativity will flow from bringing in Leaves to Blue garbage found in the street (they will come back with so much nonsense it is a blast)!



This is sporadic and requires some pre-planning, but is a simple way to get them thinking outside the box-in a bigger world sort of way. My son at 7 loves navigating online, as most kids do. As we aim to show them supervised technology, have them jump online with you as you research locations you will visit. Last year we went to Disneyland so at bedtime before reading every night leading up to the trip we would Google Disneyland facts and have fun reading about when and how it came to be, etc…


Rewards systems

Most likely your child’s teacher used a reward system in your child’s class this year. My son’s teacher has 2 systems. When they behave as a group or do special tasks they get a cotton in the jar and when the jar is full they earn an extra recess. They also have punch cards near the end of the year for the school Water Carnival. The more punches they earn, the extra time they get outside to enjoy Water Carnival above and beyond the allotted standard class time. They work and the kids at this age want to earn ‘stuff’.


You can create a Chore & More list. Circle a date every 2 weeks or month on the calendar as Shopping Day. It is on this day you can take them out to spend their earnings. This teaches them to hold onto money a bit and not spend every dollar earned a dollar at a time and gives you peaceful grocery shopping as they have their 2 days and at no other time are they to ask for something.


Points or ‘Quarters’ as we do in our house are earned for extra reading, workbook pages completed (you don’t have to force learning workbooks, but have them out for them to do if they want to earn credit and they DO use these workbooks to learn on their own when rewarded). They can also earn credit for certain chores or behavior. Create what fits best, but include some praise for learning and reading in the chart.


I hope this helps and you will certainly find many more retailers with summer perks for the kids, so research your area and keep a list. On shopping day, they will feel so proud handing in their logs to stores and claiming prizes. Before you know it summer will be over and they have been learning all along!

What fun summer learning techniques do you use that work well?


Erinn Sluka is the owner of Parenting Healthy and author of the book Love Should Not Hurt: Letting Go of the Pain to Live in Freedom.  She is a writer, wife and Mom to 3 boys. She writes Erinn Slukaabout products and tips to help us raise happy, healthy and active families. When she is not writing you will find her camping or in the sand dunes riding ATV’s with her boys. She is a PTA President and works in the local High School as well.

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