We know your time is limited — there are only DAYS (okay, maybe weeks) left until your kids are out of school for the summer. You’ve run down your summer checklist: swim gear, check. Board games for rainy days, check. Sunscreen, check. Camp enrollment, check. But how about education resources?
Research shows that you don’t need a rigorous routine over the summer. But arming your family with a few education resources can make all the difference as your child transitions back to school next fall.
So we asked Learnwell teachers what they recommend to keep children on track over the summer months.
They — like you — are moms too, so they understand that swimming, camps, extended family, and vacations are thrown into the summer mix. You need options that are:
- Not time-intensive.
- Doable for all ages.
- Motivational and (dare we say it) even fun when possible.
So join us on a journey through six resource areas where you can help your child thrive this summer.
As you may expect, many of our teachers know there is immense value in the simple pages of a book. It may seem obvious, but participating in summer reading programs through your local library and/or bookstores can really motivate your child.
Even older students want to get together over the summer — so why not encourage them to meet up at the teen section of your local library? Here are some other resources for reading that Learnwell teachers recommend.
- Get Epic (www.getepic.com): Get Epic features over 40,000 books, audiobooks, and learning videos. It’s the ultimate road trip treasure!
- Storyline Online (www.storylineonline.net): This site features celebrated actors reading children’s books “alongside creatively produced illustrations.”
- Brainpop Jr. (https://jr.brainpop.com/): For students in K-8, this website helps readers research authors and learn compound words, phonics, story elements, comprehension, and more.
- Brainpop (www.brainpop.com): For students in K-8 (and beyond), this website has resources for more than just reading. It also provides enrichment in subjects such as writing, math, science, social studies, arts and technology, and more.
- YouTube (www.youtube.com): While many children already know about kid YouTube stars, as parents, we can’t overlook the value of finding a read-aloud book that interests our children. In fact, many libraries, schools, and bookstores have their own dedicated YouTube channels where you can watch stories come to life through a read-aloud. Check your local library and/or children’s bookstore to see if they have their own channel on YouTube!
- Florida Center for Reading Research (https://fcrr.org/): Under the “Family” tab, you can find student center reading activities and a dedicated YouTube channel to enrich your child’s reading life.
- K5 Learning (https://www.k5learning.com/): The reading resources here boast leveled reading activities, comprehension practice, and story elements review for grades K-5. This site also features worksheets related to vocabulary, spelling, science, and cursive.
- Reading A-Z (https://www.readinga-z.com): Here you can find decodable books, reader’s theater scripts, word sorts, and leveled readers for summer review.
- Hubbard’s Cupboard (http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/): Story lessons, literacy kits, and family night ideas are just a small sample of what’s offered here. Other topics include Bible, holidays, math, science and social studies.
- Read Aloud Revival (https://readaloudrevival.com/): This award-winning site features a podcast for parents and tons of booklists for help with read-aloud family picks and options for all ages to enjoy. The main site and podcast are free, and premium service is offered for families who want to go deeper into books with activities, author interviews, online author and artist workshops, etc.
Whether it’s multiplication facts you’re after or more complex topics such as geometry and algebra II review, these sites have you covered all the way from K to college.
- Generation Genius (https://www.generationgenius.com/): This K-8 online resource allows you to choose five free videos to try out before you subscribe. Videos bring science and math concepts to life. (Many of our students can’t wait to see the next video when we show these as school supplements.)
- Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/): This 100% free (although online donations are accepted since it’s a nonprofit) resource helps students in grades K through college by offering practice exercises, instructional videos and “a personalized learning dashboard” to help students strengthen skills in math, science, computing, economics, art and art history at their own pace. Even high school and college students can get help preparing for exams such as the SAT, Praxis and LSAT.
- ABCya.com (https://www.abcya.com/): Categorized by grade level, these education resources are created by parents and educators who wanted learning to be fun. Many of the activities are game-based and cover topics such as multiplication, parts of speech, pattern recognition and more.
- Usborne Times Table Practice Pad: Need something extra for that road trip or mountain getaway? Let your 3rd to 5th grader practice his or her multiplication in this fun practice pad by Usborne.
3. Art/Foreign Language/Typing
Sometimes we as parents forget about the “extra” subjects. However, these are some of the best ways to keep the joy of learning alive. Not every child wants to sit down and play a math game, but a young artist might just practice some multiplication review games if a how-to-draw video is dangled as a reward.
- Duolingo (https://www.duolingo.com/): This is a free option for kids to learn a language through quick, fun exercises online. Lessons are gamified, too, which keeps the kids’ momentum going.
- Art for Kids Hub on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/ArtforKidsHub): This is one family’s art tutorial YouTube channel where they teach kids to draw.
- Typing.com (https://www.typing.com/): Typing.com isn’t JUST for typing (but it will help your learner practice these important skills for FREE). Your children can also learn coding fundamentals, digital literacy, and career prep.
4. Mental Health (and Road Trip Sanity)
Mental health is vital to the healthy development of young brains and bodies. We can embrace the whole child through practices such as wellness pursuits and journaling. Also, we all know that trips with kids can be challenging at times. So why not throw some fun resources into the mix? We’ve got those here for you too.
- Travel Activity Pad: Usborne is one of our favorite places to check for engaging our students’ brains. This resource contains 200-plus tear-out pages with picture puzzles, logic puzzles, etc.
- Mother-Daughter Journal: If you are a mom looking to build up the relationship between you and your daughter, this guided mother-daughter journal may be just the thing.
- Just Between Us Mother and Daughter Journal for Teens: The tween/teen season can be stressful for daughters, in particular, and learning how to communicate what they’re going through is vital. This journal includes writing and doodling prompts, mini quizzes, and more ways to enrich the mother-daughter relationship.
- No Worries by Kane Miller: For children who deal with some level of anxiety, this book has age-appropriate ways to work through stress and worry.
- Hello Happy: This Usborne activity book allows kids with big emotions to draw and write their way through how they feel, learning to embrace peace and positivity as tools in their mindfulness toolkits.
- Be Brave by Kane Miller: Also part of Usborne’s mindfulness series, this book uses activities to teach kids confidence and courage.
5. Bible, Parenting, and Faith-Related Resources
- Focus on the Family Journaling: Especially for busy, active families, keeping contributor journals are ways to stay connected to each other even as life is speeding by. This article shares practical activities, a podcast, and sample journal ideas to help you and your family connect through journaling.
- The YouVersion app: In one app, every member of your family can download the Bible, participate in reading plans, and connect to God in a season where rhythms and practices can sometimes be forgotten. This go-with-you resource can be helpful, especially in the summer.
- The Bible Project: These videos can be viewed via the app or online, and they give engaging context to the books of the Bible in just a few short minutes.
- Focus on the Family Resource Page: This page is chock full of recommendations — everything from books and Bibles to podcasts and broadcasts. There are some terrific resources for parents too.
- Habits of a Child’s Heart by Valerie E. Hess: This practical book gives parents ideas for helping young children, tweens, and teens integrate truth into their everyday life and it walks through ways to grow in their relationship with God. This is one of those books you might read for your kids and end up learning something for your own spiritual growth too.
- Raising Prayerful Kids by Stephanie Thurling and Sarah Holmstrom: This book looks at ways to teach our kids how to live a lifestyle of prayer in our modern-day, fast-paced way of life. With activities and plenty of parenting fails and wins, this book may be the book on prayer you finish this summer.