The learning resources you need to help your kids!

Summer learning resources for learning all year long

I have talked before specifically about ways to get kids reading. What about additional skills they need to do well in school and in life?

If your kids are anything like mine, summer vacation comes and they think it’s a 3 month break from anything learning related. Each year they are disappointed that I have a very different idea for putting our time to good use during the summer!

If anything, honestly, I might go slightly overboard during the summer. We continue reading as normal (30 minutes a day for my 2nd grader, 40 minutes a day for my 3rd grader, and 45-60 minutes a day for my 5th grader).

We also add in math practice as well as writing practice that we might not normally do during the school year. And don’t forget puzzles and life skills!

You see, I take a “big picture” approach to learning during the summer. A mix of book learning with experiential learning…all designed to challenge my kids, make them think in different ways, and help them grow in multiple areas.

Here’s how I do it:

summer learning resources ideas for learning all summer

Reading for life

Reading is one of those skills that “practice makes perfect”. There’s just no other way around it! However, when kids are first learning to read, it can be frustratingly hard for them. Hard = don’t want to do it!

Keep in mind:

  • From beginning reading until about 3rd grade, kids are learning to read.
  • Starting in about the 3rd grade, kids begin reading to learn.

It’s a huge distinction to make! Believe me, the kids notice the difference when they get to that age.

Summer is an incredible opportunity to take a break from school reading material to find material that your children love to read!

Do they enjoy nonfiction books? Mysteries? Adventures? Fantasies? Fairy Tales? Something else?

Grab our fiction book recommendation lists by age:

Now with all the resources available online, finding materials is even easier!

Reading ideas to try:

  1. Get your child a library card and use it a lot. Ask a librarian for ideas – we’ve always gotten great ideas from our librarians!
  2. Let your child choose what to read – even if it’s magazines or comic books. They count!
  3. “Read” audio books
  4. Start a parent-child book club. Let your child pick the book – everyone reads it then gets together and talks about it. This was recommended by one of my son’s teachers and is great for comprehension skills!!
  5. Join a free reading program through your local library – there are prizes built into these programs as incentives
  6. Use bookstore money as a reward.

Resources to check out:

  • Audiobook apps – Oodles (free), Audibles, Tales2Go, and more
  • Online Reading – there are so many options! I love RazKids because they have leveled reading books so my kids are reading at just the right level.

Writing

Another part to reading is writing. I try to incorporate that in fun ways – writing shopping lists, letters to pen pals or family, stories, library book wish lists, and so on. My favorite part, as a parent, is the read the stories they create. Amazing!

Summer learning resources to help kids learn all year long

Math skills building

Repetition, repetition, repetition. That’s the name of the game with math. Some kids will need more practice and repetition than others will. We love getting what we call in our house “summer learning books” and doing just a page or two a day to keep those math skills fresh and moving forward.


I have also created a few documents that are meant to improve accuracy and speed in basic math facts. The idea: practice these facts and time how long it takes to complete a column.

The goal is to get to the point where your child can complete a column (or more!) in a minute with 100% accuracy. It takes time and repetition, but not nearly as long as you might think 🙂

Grab our sheets to improve in addition, subtraction,  multiplication and division!

Puzzles

Puzzles are so good for kids’ brains (and adults too!!). They make us think in different ways, creating new pathways within the brain that help us with problem-solving skills as well as in day to day life.

Ever since my kids were little, we’ve always done classic puzzles in various forms (floor puzzles as young children to traditional puzzles – increasing in difficulty – as they get older).

In the last couple of years, I have also added in different puzzles. I personally love doing Sudoku puzzles and was thrilled to find kids versions of this wonderful challenge!

You can now find them in 4×4 and 6×6 squares (they are traditionally 9×9 squares). My kids have a blast trying to figure them out! We add a little competition to it as well to keep it fun and motivating going.


Other puzzles to try: word searches, word scrambles, and even crossword puzzles.

Logic puzzles are another favorite of mine! They make us think in new and creative ways to solve the problem, which I just love.

I have been able to find very simple kid-friendly puzzles online in limited quantity. Once my kids mastered those, we moved on to harder ones and just do them together. That way it works my brain as well as theirs and keeps their frustration level low as they take a bigger jump in difficulty.


Chess – while chess is not a puzzle, per se, I noticed a huge change in my kids’ ability to solve problems once they started playing chess. Our school also hosts a chess club that the kids love to participate in!

My kids are *slightly* competitive and enjoy taking turns (because I have 3) playing each other to find out who is the ultimate champion!

Summer STEM camp

Our school district offers a summer STEM camp with many different topic options.

STEM camps are fabulous resources for kids because they offer a chance to be around other kids while still being in a structured setting. These camps also give kids the ability to gain experience in activities and areas that you may not feel comfortable doing or have the ability to do at home.

Just a few topics that our school district’s STEM camp offers are: kitchen chemistry, sculpture design, robotics & engineering, intro to archeology, and invention convention.

Do a Google search for your county and “summer STEM camp” to see what might be offered in your area.

learning resources to help make learning fun for kids

Learn a Life Skill

Whether it’s swimming, doing laundry, growing a garden, vacuuming, cooking, or anything else, take advantage of the summertime change of routine to build life skills.

These skills will help you as they start to be able to contribute to the household more and more. These skills will help your kids to reach adulthood as competent, self-sufficient adults.

Because, really, who wants their child to grow up and leave “the nest” on to call home in their first week away because they don’t have a clue how to do their laundry or use the microwave?

Learning resources for kids

By taking advantage of some time off from normal routines and the hustle and bustle of the school year to learn additional skills you will be helping your kids to grow immensely in many important areas of life!

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123 Comments

  1. Given our wet climate most of the year, boredom & feeling cooped up can become a big issue. The summer months here are glorious & mean a LOT of time outside exploring & doing hands-on activities – the best kind of learning, IMO! πŸ˜€

    1. YES!! Lindsay, I completely agree about hands-on activities being the best kind of learning! I know that my kids and I all learn best that way! Enjoy your summer!!

  2. My biggest struggle is helping my granddaughter with math. It’s taught so different than when my kids were in school. We spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer.

    1. Hi Linda! I completely understand! Math is now taught completely differently than how I was taught too! And also, it seems like kids learn 5-6 different ways to do the same thing, which seems really confusing! Enjoy that time outside and thanks for stopping by!

  3. My kids aren’t school age yet but I plan on homeschooling year round. No reason to spend two months goofing off and not learning a thing/ forgetting what you learned. I also plan on doing fun trips/ adventures throughout the year (not just in the summer) that are educational and super entertaining for the kids. Like visiting Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, etc.

    1. Hey Angelica! Oh my goodness, Yellowstone is my happy place! I love it there so much! My kids loved it there last year when we all went and still talk about that trip. Mt. Rushmore is next on my list and only about 6 hours from where we live (a lot closer than Yellowstone!). It’s amazing how learning can be so easily worked into everyday activities and trips for kids! This year we are going to St. Louis and Lincoln, Illinois where we will learn more about President Lincoln – I can’t wait!!

  4. When my son was in school, my biggest struggle when it came to helping him learn was setting aside time that fit my summer schedule and all his activities.

  5. My biggest struggle is getting them to focus, I normally find games and such that help, songs help as well. Over the Summer we do a lot of learning which I find is pretty different from other families.

    1. Hey Kayla! Do you find it amazing that kids learn songs (and the lyrics/information in them) so quickly?! I do! My mom always used to say that if she could put information in a song, then I would learn it in a fraction of the time. I agree that it seems most families don’t do the amount of learning that I have my kids do each summer. I’m ok with being the “odd man out” on this issue, though!

    1. I agree that it can be so hard! The kids just want to play in the summer, and school work feels like too much. However, I have found that making it part of our routine really helps!

  6. My biggest struggle helping my kids learn is getting them to stay on task and finish it.
    As a family during the Summer I introduce them to several activities and participate in them so that they don’t get bored.

    1. Hey Stella! Yep, I’m not a natural homeschool mom myself, so making sure I’m providing variety as well as the lessons they need can be challenging. In the end, I think no matter what you do, it’s better than letting them have a brain break for 2-3 months!

  7. My biggest struggle with helping them learn is the new way of doing math. If they do not do it how the teachers want them to now then it is wrong even though the old methods which make more sense get the same answer. During the summer we do spend more direct reading time.

    1. Hey Elizabeth! YES! I completely understand and have been through the same struggle. Hang in there. It lasted one year for us and then after that he was allowed to use any method that worked for him (much more simple!).

  8. My biggest struggle when helping my child learn is that he is taught different techniques than I was. It is a struggle because it can lead to a lot of confusion.

    1. Hey Melissa! YES! My poor son last year would come home each week having learned some new method for doing the same exact thing that we used to do in a straightforward way. It was frustrating and confusing for him, and it was frustrating for me as a parent because I could see how he was getting so tripped up on “how” to do that math problem that he couldn’t just “do” the math problem.

  9. My daughter is just not a fan of homework. So we struggle after school to get that done before we can o on with our afternoon. In the summer I have little workbooks/sheets for her to do so she still has that homework aspect.

    1. Hey Leah! I have a child like that too! My middle son hates homework, and really anything school related that takes effort. I have found with us that making it into a routine helps πŸ™‚

  10. My biggest struggle is getting them to start their work and stay focused. During the summer we take family trips to the beach.

    1. Hey Donna! I completely agree that it can be hard to get them to start their work and focus on getting it done. Hang in there. I have found that the first couple of weeks are the hardest for us, but once we get into a routine, it’s much easier. Enjoy those trips to the beach for me too! I miss the beach!

  11. My kids are bilingual and they are currently in the french stream at their school so everything they learn is in french. My biggest struggle is getting my son to read in french at home. He finds it much easier to read in english because its his first language and he is always fighting me even though he can do it really well.

    1. Wow, what an interesting struggle to have! We don’t have a bilingual school nearby, nor do I speak another language (I studied Latin, of all languages!), so we don’t share that struggle in particular. Do your kids dream in French? I’ve always heard that’s the point at which a new language feels more “comfortable”.

  12. My girls are in their early 20’s now. But our biggest struggle was math. I don’t like it and I still struggle a little myself. I’m very “intimidated” by it if that makes sense. πŸ˜‰

    1. That sounds super fun, Bridgett! Camping is such a great family activity. I still remember doing it with my family when I was little πŸ™‚

  13. My biggest struggle is keeping their focus and keeping learning fun. We are planning a museum visit already to do something fun, yet educational during the summer!

    1. Hey Jessica! A museum trip sounds super fun! Making learning fun can feel hard sometimes, but the awesome thing about kids is that they are learning EVERYTHING, so even a walk, a hike, a bike ride, a trip to the park or the library can be educational and fun without being too crazy for parents!

  14. My children are adults now with their own kids but I can say I never had problems with their learning in school and now they’re successful in their careers.

    1. Oh Bobbiejo, I understand! My 9 year old boy is highly emotional and very dramatic! We have had a tough year as well. Here’s to you, mama!! Hang in there!

  15. In the summer we try to unplug from the technological world more. We go swimming, boating, tubing, camping, hiking.. set up the inflatable pool in the yard, play card games.. just genuinely more bonding time without phones or computers.

  16. When I babysit my niece and nephew it’s a challenge to get them to focus on their homework.

  17. The most difficult thing for me is engaging my child to learn. I feel he would rather watch a video of the topic I want to teach him than actually read it in a book. As for the summer, where I come from it’s quite hot and humid, so we love to make barbecues and have a lovely family time.

  18. I struggle to help my kids learn math, it’s not a strength of mine and my daughter lately is not taking it well if we try to help her and she thinks we are doing to differently from her teacher’s at school.

  19. I have to encourage my son to stay focused on the task at hand and remind him of its’ importance–he would rather play video games or watch Netflix any day of the week…honestly!

  20. During the summer my family enjoys spending time outside. We love to go moral hunting, fishing, and just hang out in the sun. I try to hybernate in the winter!

  21. During the summer, we love going to Stratford, Ontario, to see all the shop, and the plays, and we love seeing the pond where all the ducks are.

    1. Jennifer, I have full confidence that isn’t true. While certain subjects may be harder for you than other subjects, that’s totally normal. Hang in there and keep working at it – it’ll happen. Thanks for visiting!!

  22. My biggest struggle is trying to get them to make less noise.
    As a family we usually go out to parks a lot more.

    1. Hi Virus! Parks are GREAT places to let them make some noise and get out their energy! Any activity is useful for that purpose. Have you tried water balloons? Huge hit!

  23. My biggest struggle is getting them to remain focused. If it’s not a subject they like they tend to wander away or day dream. During the summer we play outside more and do lots of more reading.

    1. Hi Marian! Yep, I totally understand how hard it can be to keep them focused. Using the warm weather to get their energy out before trying to sit down for short spans of time to learn helps. Thanks for visiting!

  24. My children are grown adults and have children of their own. Fortunately we were able to get our children tutors when we couldn’t help them with homework. We always took them to Disney World in the summer.

    1. Hi Becky! What fun to go to Disney World each summer! We live too far away to do that, but we have gone once and the kids LOVED it! Tutors can be a hugely valuable resource for kids that struggle either with the material or learning from Mom or Dad.

  25. My biggest struggle is keeping their attention sometimes. We spend a lot of time outside during the summer swimming, playing in the park and doing sports.

    1. Hi Susan! We do the same thing! Just like we get burned out, so do kids. Incorporating “learning” in short spans, in between fun activities, goes a long way toward success. Thanks for visiting!

    1. Yes, Linda, it’s tough to keep their focus – especially for long periods of time. Just do the “learning” in short spurts in between fun activities. Thanks for stopping by!

  26. my son is slightly autistic and has a learning disability my husband , myself and the other children try to play games that are learning so that he can catch on to things

    1. Hi Nancy! That sounds like a wonderful tactic to expose him to various skills and knowledge, all while making it fun for him. I think you’ll be surprised at how much he’s taking in while you do that. Keep at it – you’re amazing!

  27. My little guy has Asperger’s and it is so difficult to keep him motivated and to get him to do things that he just doesn’t want to do. The school, my hubby and I are always working n solutions to help him with these issues.

    1. Hi Heidi! What a struggle that must be. You’re doing a great job. Keep at it, and you’ll find what helps to motivate him (at least a little). Thanks for visiting!

  28. My biggest struggle in helping my 8 year old daughter is remaining calm. She has such a negative attitude especially when it comes to math. I find it hard to explain things to her so she can understand.

    1. Hi Michelle! My son has big emotions, big reactions, and often a complete lack of motivation to apply effort toward something he finds difficult. I totally understand where you are coming from! For him, his struggle is reading, and math is a little easier. Thanks for visiting!

  29. Biggest struggle is me and my patience when teaching/learning with my little girl. (That’s where the wife excels and it becomes a family fun learning experience)

    1. Hi Greg! It does take an enormous amount of patience to teach children new skills – whether it’s tying shoes or reading. That’s wonderful that you can do it as a family and your wife can offer the patience that is difficult for you! Thanks for visiting!

  30. I dont have kids but I used to teach mathematics privately. I liked it very much. But children struggled with it very often πŸ™‚

  31. Biggest struggle: her short attention span! =)
    What we do during summer: get outside and keep busy! Way less tv and tablet than during the long, cold winter months.

  32. I love our having the free time to do more together in the summer— and I definitely DO NOT miss getting ready for school in the morning!

    1. Hi Johanna! I really appreciate the break during the summer too! It’s nice to have a change of routine and spend more time together!

  33. keeping their attention is a struggle sometimes. We spend a LOT of time outside during the summer

  34. We try to get out every time we can when the weather is cooperating outside. We go to parks, the beach, museums, fairs and the library.

  35. My biggest struggle is definitely helping my kids with math lessons. During summer, we often bird watch. πŸ˜€

  36. My biggest struggle is with my son and he is too busy thinking about going outdoors rather than applying himself.

  37. Our Summer will definitely include some weeks out in the countryside to enjoy nature.

  38. The biggest struggle with helping kids to learn is getting their attention. Once you have it, they learn quickly.

    We always go on some big family trip in the summer to somewhere different for a 2 week trip.

    Thanks for the chance to win

  39. I think the biggest struggle I have in helping my son learn is trying to get him motivated to sit still and concentrate on the work.

    1. Hi Lillian! I love nature hikes too!! It’s amazing what we can find on a short hike…and how much the exercise helps the entire family!

  40. My biggest struggle was helping them learn math. I am not good at math myself so it was difficult to teach. In the summer we are good about reading regularly, but not keeping up with math.

    1. Hi Natalie! Have you tried any math apps or websites? My kids love prodigy math, and I have been pleasantly surprised to see their math skills improve at school!

  41. My biggest struggle in helping my son learn is trying to figure out what he doesn’t already know! He just absorbs knowledge everywhere he goes and it’s hard to keep up! During the summer we make frequent trips to the library to check out books and spend more of his tablet time on educational sites.

    1. Hi Stephanie! That’s wonderful that he’s so inquisitive!! What a wonderful trait to have – although I am sure it can be hard to keep up with as a parent! You’re doing all the right stuff!!

  42. My biggest challenge when mine were young was keeping up with them—making sure they had the resources to learn about what they were interested in. Libraries are great resources, not just for books, but also for video, periodicals, newspapers. Summers were easier in a way—no school to get n the way of their pursuing their own interests.

    1. Hi Mary Beth! Yes, libraries are WONDERFUL resources!! I agree that summers are easier in a way while also being harder in a way. My kids totally want to slack all summer, but they get bored and antsy too! So I am always working to find that balance between continuing to learn while also getting a break in routine and busy-ness of the school year.

  43. Resources from the library help as they are cost free and abundant. We borrow books and that helps with budget

  44. For my son he has a hard time focussing. In the summer we do lots of camping as a family – probably nothing to different than many families. Being outdoors all summer long is important!

  45. My two and a half year old is a visual learner so we incorporate lots of objects when learning new subjects. During the summer we frequent the beach A LOT! If weather permits of course.

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