Who’s happier to ditch online school for summer fun, you or your minis? We’ve curated a list of tactile learning activities to keep the kiddos off screens and out of the summer slide. Read on for 15 creative learning picks that’ll give those golden afternoons a little brain boost.

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Activities to Promote Literacy

Tell Tales

Story Cubes are a creative way to practice putting together stories, and your sidekicks won’t know that they’re learning. Roll the dice and use the results in a tall tale. These are a great way to pass the time on car trips. For the smallest fry, use three dice. For older scribes, use all nine and split the words up between the beginning, middle, and end of their stories. 

Write Letters

Penpals! The kids can practice their fine motor skills while sending a little sunshine to a friend or relative. Or you can take the love up a notch and write to seniors in care homes. Contact your local senior residence, or check out one of these programs. 

Bake Letters

What’s better than learning to read with cookies? Nothing. Use this alphabet cookie cutter set from Purple Cow to bake words in the ultimate tactile reading game. Spelling has never been more delicious.

Play with Words

How many words can your wordsmiths make with the sentence ‘Learning from home is fun?’ Take Anna Whiteley's idea a step further and create summer themed sentences such as ‘Hot days are perfect for popsicles,’ and ‘Our family loves the beach.’

Do a Scavenger Hunt

Get the crew reading and moving with this indoor/outdoor friendly scavenger hunt from Outside Media. Early readers can use the pictures to puzzle out the words and avoid the summer slide. Veteran readers can solidify their spelling skills.

Activities to Promote Numeracy

photo: Teresa Douglas

Count the Beans

Teaching math concepts is a snap when you use tactile learning aides like beans or grains of rice. Your minis will intuitively understand division if you swap the beans for candies and tell them to split the candies fairly. 

photo: Teresa Douglas

Make Patterns

Collect rocks, sticks, and other treasures from outside to make creative patterns. Your crew can learn to make patterns that repeat, grow, or spiral. The Artful Parent has beautiful photos for inspiration. 

Take a Walk

Take a math detective walk. Give your budding Sherlock a notepad and pencil and get outside. How many birds can your little spot? Pick different themes for each walk, or spend the week focused on just one.

Get Into the Kitchen

Keep those measurement skills burning all summer long with the cookbook How Many Ways Can You Cut a Pie? If your crew prefers cookies, this three-ingredient oatmeal cookie is quick, easy, and healthy enough for breakfast!

Play Cards

Turn an ordinary deck of cards into a creative learning experience. We Are Teachers serves up math-tastic ideas for reviewing addition, subtraction and fraction concepts in spades. 

Measure Up

Who’s bigger, your mini or a dolphin? Could you have a tiger over for tea? Would either fit in a chair? Whip out Wasecabiomes Animals of the world Measuring Tape and help your budding biologist find out! 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Explore Science

Make some bouncy balls with ingredients you can find at the grocery store. The fine folks at The STEM Laboratory walk you through the activity and even explain the science behind it. Hint: You’ll never look at spaghetti the same way again. 

photo: Teresa Douglas

Get Some Sun

Practice the first step of the scientific method by measuring the amount of sunlight in a garden. This activity is a great excuse to get the kids outside. Every hour the littles mark whether the plants are in the shade, partial sun, or full sun. Give your scientist a clipboard for added pizzazz. 

photo: Teresa Douglas

Engineer a Little Fun

Introduce your engineer-in-training to Snap circuits, a tactile way to learn about electricity and closed circuits. As a bonus, your engineer will also learn to follow plans and problem solve. 

Your little scientists will love learning about DNA through the magic of strawberries. Each strawberry cell has eight copies of DNA, which means you can see them without a microscope in this fun experiment. Slide over to Little Bins for Little Hands to see how it’s done.

—Teresa Douglas

 

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