As summer begins to wind down and the new school year approaches, many parents are anxious to get their kids back into a mindset conducive to learning. Unfortunately, a struggle students often face is that they forget much of what they learned throughout the previous year because they spent all summer letting those cultivated skills fall aside. But, what if there was a way to stay academically engaged while enjoying your summer? Well, here are 5 summer learning games to keep students engaged all summer long and make the transition back to the classroom a little bit easier.
Giant Dice Toss
The giant dice toss game can be used in several different ways and is great for improving matching, quick math, and cooperation skills. Plus, it only requires a few household items you probably already have. Start by taking a square tissue box (so it will roll like a normal dice), wrap it in paper, and then draw dots, letters, or shapes on each side. Next, jot down each of the items you included on the die on a separate piece of paper. Now, you can have your child roll the die, find the corresponding item on the list, and cross it out. Depending on your child’s age, you could also add numbers to the die and turn it into a math game by asking them to add, subtract, or multiply the number they roll.
Chalk games are arguably one of the most versatile things for students to play with because there are endless possibilities for games and learning experiences. For example, with chalk you can play hopscotch for math, word jumbles and crosswords for reading and language arts, or mazes and obstacle courses for motor skills and coordination. Plus, a simple piece of chalk will get your kids outside, moving around, and using their imagination and creativity in full force. Chalk games can be as complex or simple as you want. If your child isn’t interested in the more structured games, you can always let them harness their inner artist and draw some murals or images with chalk as an impromptu art lesson.
Sometimes you have to take learning on the road and use it as a way to entertain your kids on a long road trip or car ride. That’s where coming prepared and bringing some car bingo can not only keep your kids entertained but academically engaged. Basically, with car bingo, you create a bingo card with different colours, words, or shapes that you know you will encounter on your adventure. Then you ask your children to cross off the squares as they find them, meaning they’ll have to hone their reading, math, and observation skills to complete this game. As an added incentive, you could always have a prize for whoever finds the most items or completes a row first (as with normal bingo).
If you have a child that loves words or one that could stand to upgrade their vocabulary, using a word jar might be a great option to keep learning fun throughout the summer. Fill a jar with little slips of paper each containing a new word for your child to learn. These words could be completely random, or they could be centred around a theme of your choice (for example, dinosaurs or photosynthesis). Either way, let your child draw a piece of paper from the jar each day and ask them to define the word they chose. Then, challenge them to use that word throughout the day in their conversations and watch how easily their vocabulary expands day after day.
The scavenger hunt is a classic favourite that helps students make connections in their learning, stay active, and improve their observational skills. Plus, like with the chalk games, there are an endless variety of ways to use a scavenger hunt to achieve academic outcomes. For example, to support early literacy, you could try a basic alphabet scavenger hunt where the students are asked to find items that begin with each letter from A to Z. If you’d like to work on other areas such as counting and math, you could always send them out to find an exact quantity of items (ten small rocks or a flower with five petals) or even colours and patterns (three red flowers or a perfectly symmetrical leaf). Whatever you choose, your child is sure to stay engaged while also brushing up on skills they’ll need going into the new school year.
Summer learning games such as the ones we’ve explored here are excellent ways to help keep your children not only busy but also academically engaged all summer long. And this is by no means an exhaustive list – so why not let your kids create their own learning games, and you may be surprised with how advanced and nuanced the games they make up are! Remember that play is meant to spur on creativity and curiosity, so if you find your kids trying to change up one of the games, why not let them explore that path – it might lead to a new household favourite!
And remember, if your children love to use games to learn new academic concepts, then Knowledge Bump could be the ideal tutoring solution for you! Our experts create customized learning plans for each student that can include certain games to reach specific educational outcomes tailored to the student’s needs. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today, and let’s put the ‘fun’ back into functional learning.