Learning & School Readiness

84 Inspired and Clever Ways to Boost Summer Learning

By: Highlights Editorial
These 84 clever ways to boost summer learning will keep your kids busy and engaged all summer long. Learn about the summer bridge activities you can do with your kids!
4 minutes to read
Ages 3+
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor Skills
Reading and Writing

Give your child a chance to boost summer learning and create some excitement when school’s not in session. Encourage your kids to be creative by choosing a weird or out-of-the-box place to read, like in a tub without water or on a seasaw on the ground (yes, really!). And, don’t forget: Reading isn’t just limited to books! From train schedules to jokes in a joke book while on a family road trip, kids can foster their reading skills all summer long. Keep your family math skills sharp by selecting a few of our silly things to calculate. 

These 84 clever ways to boost summer learning will keep your kids busy and engaged all summer long.

And, of course, if you make it through this list and still need activities and crafts to keep your kids learning this summer, banish boredom with hundreds of things to do with The Highlights Book of Things to Do!


Weird and Awesome Places to Read

In the tub, without water

In a fort with a friend

In a fort indoors, siblings optional

At the breakfast table

On a swing gently swinging

In a kiddie pool filled with water

On a seesaw (on the ground)

In a rocking chair or glider

In a sand chair at the beach

In a tree house or wagon

On a blanket at a lake

In a closet with a flashlight

On a rowboat on a pond

In the bleachers at a game

At a campsite by a fire

In line at a theme park

At a snack bar at a pool

In a chair at the dentist

On a sofa before dinner

On a carpet while wearing headphones

In bed before lights out


Odd and Oddly Normal Things Kids Can (and Should!) Read Over Time

Holidays and celebrations on a calendar

Stickies and notes around the house

Words on a license

A heads-up for the sitter

A list of chores for the family

A list of summer plans

A train’s destination

A picture book unassisted

A chapter book with help

A chapter book alone

A graphic novel

An e-book or e-zine

A schedule for a train

Airline arrivals and departures

A paragraph on a newspaper page

A sentence from Shakespeare

A poem by Shakespeare

A movie review

A caption for a picture

An email from Grandma

TV listings for tonight

A list of just-released movies

A poem to a sibling

A joke from a joke book

A scene in a play

A riddle you don’t know

A DIY instruction

The news to a pet

Your daily to-do list

A book review on Sunday

Instructions for a game

A how-to anything

A shopping list for dinner

A recipe in a cookbook

A cereal-box label

Signs in stores at the mall

Towns on a map

Food on a menu

Directions to a driver


Smart and Silly Things Kids Can Calculate or Explore

Count everything and anything, including birds, bees, flowers, trees, windows, doors, and parked cars on your street.

Play mini golf. Keep score.

Go bowling. Keep track of spares and strikes.

Bake brownies from a recipe. Double the recipe and make twice as many next week.

Count your red shirts and your blue shirts. Multiply the two.

Tally all the towels. Divide them in half, and half again.

Count buttons in a button box. Check your work.

Sort coins into pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Play pretend store with the food in your pantry. Buy what you like and pay with dollar bills and change.

Mail a letter. Use dollar bills to pay for stamps. Count the change.

Estimate the cost of groceries in your market basket by rounding up or down.

Check the time on a watch, first analog, then digital.

Make slime or flubber.

Dig for earthworms.

Listen to the sounds of nature at daybreak.

Check them out again at dusk.

Identify a tree by its bark, a bird by its tweet, a flower by its petal, a butterfly by its wing.

Visit a touch museum, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and a working farm.

Plant an herb.

Plant a bulb.

Plant sweet potatoes.

Plant cucumbers.

Eat what you grow.

Author Photo
By: Highlights Editorial