Summer is supposed to be filled with fun, but it’s also a good idea to keep kids learning and growing during those off-school months. Here are my tips for keeping kids productive this summer, and how we manage to fit in summer productivity while still leaving the bulk of the time for fun and play.
In the first Perfectly Imperfect Summer series post, I talked about prepping for summer. Today we’re going to move on to the “planning for summer” stage.
My family does so much better with plans and structure. It’s always good to have some flexibility to be spontaneous, but having a plan in place helps make sure the summer doesn’t get away from us. Plus, it lessens tantrums, fights, and laziness, and makes transitioning back into school MUCH smoother.
When summer hits, my kids suddenly decide they should have zero responsibilities, deserve as much tech time as they want, and should be able to play with friends all day. What the what?! While I’m ALL about them having a fun summer, I also want them to have a productive summer.
Today I’m sharing some things I encourage my kids to do every day to keep them from becoming couch potatoes, and how I use that structure to prioritize summer fun.
I encourage my kids to read every day, no matter what time of year. For my son, it’s now 30 minutes per day. And since my daughter isn’t reading on her own yet, she spends 10 minutes looking through picture books or listening to audiobooks each day. I also still read aloud to my kids daily. Reading isn’t forced, but it’s part of their chart for earning their allowance and they can’t have any screen time unless they’ve read that day.
Reading is so so important, but it’s also important to teach them to LOVE reading. So make it fun! For more ideas on how to make reading fun this summer, check out this post.
If my son doesn’t do anything learning related all summer, he loses so much of what he learned the past year in school. His reading level goes down, he suddenly forgets all the math skills he learned, his handwriting decreases, everything. So I encourage him to keep up with these skills.
I buy a workbook of some sort for the grade level he just finished, and have him complete a page or two each day (these are our favorite summer workbooks). Doing this keeps his brain active–and it only takes about 10 minutes. He actually LOVES workbooks and usually does more than a couple pages.
If your kid doesn’t enjoy workbooks, I don’t recommend them. We don’t want our kids to HATE learning. Find something that works for them. Maybe they like flashcards or an educational app, like Starfall or ABC Mouse. You could try some science experiments or helping them write stories. Pick an activity your kid really enjoys!
And if your kid gives pushback on this, don’t force it! Make it fun and try to find ways to make them want to learn, but if they don’t want to, let it go. We want to teach our kids that learning is fun, not a chore!
3. Sports & Activities
We do swim lessons (for my daughter) and swim team (for my son) over the summer. My son is also starting piano lessons this summer, so he’ll have practice for that for about 10-15 minutes each day.
Obviously chores don’t go out the window during the summer, so we keep those up. I’ll also take the extra time we have together during the summer to teach the kids new chores so I can switch up some of their tasks when the school year hits.
Along with this, I’ll also take some extra time to teach them new life skills–things like kitchen skills, tying shoes, strapping themselves in the car seat themselves, learning phone numbers, etc.
Keeping Kids Productive this Summer
All of the above has to be done before they are allowed any tech time or time with friends. It sounds like a lot, but it can all easily be done in less than an hour. And then they have the rest of the day to play and have fun!
I want my kids to have loads of time for fun, but I also want to teach them that life isn’t all fun and games–we have to work and learn and grow and push ourselves too. This set-up helps us both win and feel good about the summer.
What are your best tips for keeping kids productive this summer?
If you liked this, check out the other posts in the Perfectly Imperfect Summer Series: