Yes, I know we’ve just taken the leap forward into spring (and “gained” another hour of evening daylight in the process) – but there’s no time like the present to start planning some fun (and educational) activities for the summer months that will be both fun and educational for your learners. Here are a few suggestions to help everyone get started:
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
No time like the present to start planning – it’s a great time to visit zoos and museums, go fishing, go hiking, visit parks, beaches, and other outdoor recreation sites. Looking for a park or recreation area near you? Check out the Map of Play, or click here for some nearby suggestions.
Friends (and/or) Family Picnic Time
Picnics are a great way to learn all about: Planning (activities and a menu) Preparation (as in foods and beverages) and Packing your basket(s)/bin(s) with everything you’ll need (tablecloth, napkins, utensils, plates, cups, and games to play) in order to have a great time.
Nature Walks and Hiking Tours
Take a nature walk through your local and state parks, nature preserve, or your backyard. Check and see which trails are age and access appropriate for you and your family. Make sure to bring along all the essentials (water, sunscreen, etc.) as well as a camera, binoculars, pencils and drawing pads. Bring along a field guide as well so you can try and identify any birds, animals, insects, flowers, plants, leaves, and trees you may come across. Find a National Park near you and see what sparks an interest!
Summer Skies at Night
Did you know that the night sky at summertime is full of different constellations compared to winter? Plan on spending several nights outside with your binoculars or telescope, and observe how the constellations’ position changes gradually as the summer nights go by. You can find books (such as Constellations of the Night Sky) in your local library for reference, or just search online for star charts and sky maps.
Encouraging Entrepreneurship the Old-Fashioned Way
Set up a lemonade stand and earn while you learn! The Lemonade Stand Game is a great way to put those basic math skills to work!
Always good to have a backup plan if Mother Nature won’t cooperate with your outdoorsy plans. These can include taking on some hands-on craft activities (beading, weaving, painting), playing indoor games (board games such as Catan, Rummikub, and Sequence are a couple of our favorites), or foraging through the pantry to see what kinds of fun and creative recipes your kids can prepare.
Capture your Memories
Your kids can set aside one or two mementos from each activity, and store them in a time capsule, or (for less clutter) you can put together a photo book that will help you all remember these great moments.
Sign up for a Summer Class (or two) with OTA
This year, we’ll be offering several different workshops and intensives covering areas such as STEM, Essay Writing Skills, and History/Social Studies. Click here to see a full list of courses.
What ideas have worked for you? Please feel free to share them with the OTA community on our Facebook page; we’ll review your suggestions, and update this post with contributions!
Jonathan Meola, co-founder and instructor at Open Tent Academy, attended the University of Miami, where he earned his B.A., and returned several years later to earn a graduate certification in Applied Quality Management, while helping to manage executive graduate degree programs for their business and engineering schools.
Professionally, Jonathan has worked as a technical consultant, managing enterprise software implementation projects for several international companies and government agencies. His project work has also taken him to Canada, Israel, and Mexico. Jonathan has also developed curricula for corporate training, and led sessions as a faculty instructor on many occasions.
Today, Jonathan resides with Eva in a small town outside of Jerusalem, and teaches courses for OTA in several areas, including history, social studies, software applications, and cinema/literature. Jonathan has three children, all of whom were homeschooled at one time or another. In his spare time, he loves traveling, reading, photography, analyzing politics, history, NCAA college football (Go Canes!), and cinema.
Other blog posts by Jonathan:
- Dunkirk and Darkest Hour – Cinema in the Service of History
- Getting Started with STEM
- Bridging the Gap – From Learning to Understanding
- Method to the Madness – Homeschooling Approaches
- Geography – More Than Just Maps
- Educational & Thinking Games
- Pareve Homeschooling
- Control and Choice
- Engagement + Experience = Enrichment