As students, we think we don’t want to do any schoolwork over the summer break. The much-needed escape from deadlines, homework, studying and stress is enough to keep students motivated throughout the academic year. But what if summer vacation could be more powerful than that? What if summer vacation could be harnessed to maximize your academic skills!? It can! All you have to do is get a little purposeful in how you’re entertaining yourself this summer. To help you guys make the most of this year’s summer vacation, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to engage in summertime learning.
Try to have one game night a week. It’s just one night that you’ll spend offline, off screens, and having fun while doing so! Whether it’s with roommates, inviting over friends or neighbors, or having a family night in, game night is appropriate and fun for ALL age and skill levels. Many traditional games such as Backgammon and Chess use strategic thinking skills. Cranium and Scrabble use spelling and verbal language skills. Games such as Swish and Jenga can help students strengthen their visual-spatial reasoning. No matter the game, playing games with other people builds on an individual’s focus and attention skills while practicing their social skills as well!
Another fun way to keep on your “A game” over the summer is to join a summer reading program. Local libraries and bookstores are great about having these for different age groups. One creative way to engage in reading is to ask your favorite teacher (past or present) to recommend 5 books for you, and to combine those onto a list with your required or recommended reading for school. Another idea is to create a Summer Bucket List of books that you would rather read over the summer than over the school year. Try to make the list ⅓ fun books, ⅓ challenging books for school, and ⅓ recommendations! If you have 15 books on your list, that means that you’ll have 5 in every category and you’ll have read 15 books over your summer break!
There are many online programs for learning languages such as Duolingo, Memrise, Rosetta Stone, IXL, and many more. These programs are usually available in app form for ipad/tablets, computers, and phones so look for your favorites in your app store. These programs make learning and practicing language fun. Challenge yourself to 15 minutes a day and really impress your language teachers in the fall!
Of course, you can always sign up to take some kind of enrichment camp in person! Community centers, public libraries, local museums, tutoring networks (like ours!), schools, and more have summertime enrichment camps. These are a great excuse to get out of the house, as well as to meet some new friends! Past favorites from my own childhood include a cooking class at Whole Foods (pro tip: don’t combine grape jelly with American cheese for an inventive sandwich!), theatre camp at my local community theatre, watercolor classes at the community center, and the Summer Arts Escape program offered by Austin Parks and Recreation. Planting Seeds Tutoring is even offering virtual and in-person enrichment camps in partnership with RRISD at https://communityeducation.roundrockisd.org/.
Students of all ages (young and young at heart) can participate in summertime team sports! Get creative with your outdoor play. Go for hikes! Join a team! Try something new, like Pickle Ball! And if you could use a little extra cash, spend the summer lifeguarding!
– promote outdoor play and participating in team and individual sports. These are all engaging ways to spend your summer offline and building skills you’ll use both in and out of the classroom.
If you’re bored at home and wondering what you could do, try starting a tech project, just to see if you can do it! Circuits Boards make a captivating way to pass the time while strengthening your brain and motor skills, instead of wasting brain cells on watching shows. Try a robotics kit! See if you can assemble a Legos kit. Are there any old electronics in your home that you could try to take apart and then rebuild!?
Even if you’re not a student, you can make a summer-long commitment to volunteer in your community. Check out resources like oneoc.org to connect with volunteering opportunities that suit your interests. Most animal shelters are willing to add on volunteers of diverse ages. Soup Kitchens can be a gratitude practice no matter your age. Once you find your chosen volunteer activity, log your hours at kindness1billion.org!
Okay, we all love watching movies and tv… and doing so over the summer is inevitable. If only there were some way to make watching tv and movies boost your grades in the fall and spring! There is! Look for documentaries on all your streaming services. From Disney+ to Netflix, Hulu to HBOMax, and even the free version of Youtube, you’ll find a lot of documentaries about all kinds of topics!!!
Let us know your favorite summertime enrichment strategies by connecting with us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Good luck!