Summer is time for playing with friends and relaxing with family, but it can also be time to learn. Avoid the summer backslide and keep your kids entertained with educational activities that are fun too. From digging in the sand to taking a virtual trip around the world, your kids can be learning every day of the summer.
Kids love to dig in the sand — whether at the beach or in the sandbox in your own backyard. This summer, wherever they are playing in the sand, make it a learning experience. Supply your kids with containers in different sizes and shapes, as well as measuring cups to encourage early math skills. Also check out the Sift & Find Number Shells (Lakeshore Learning, $25) for your little ones to build number skills as they play in the sand. We also love the Around the World Sand Mold Set (Lakeshore Learning, $15) for teaching kids about some of the amazing structures around the globe.
Moms hate all those pesky bugs in the summertime, but for kids, they can be a whole lot of fun. Let your children go on a backyard bug hunt and supply them with some tools to catch their critters. You can start with a good old fashioned bug jar, or get a little more high tech with things like the Lazer Light Bug Vacuum (Amazon Prime, $15) and other gear from Backyard Safari Outfitters. Your kids will love all these cool tools, from the Mantis Mansion to the Land & Water Habitat. Catching bugs in your own backyard (or while hiking and camping) is more fun than any science class!
Take a trip
Even if you don’t have the money to take a big family vacation this summer, your kids can still take a memorable trip. Visit your local landmarks and sightsee like a tourist, or head to the library to learn more about your city or state’s history. Your children can also take a virtual trip across the country (or around the world) with Little Passports (LittlePassports.com, $11.95+ a month) — an educational subscription box service. Each monthly package is filled with plenty of fun goodies — as well as access to online games and hands-on activities — to teach your child about culture, geography, history and language in an enjoyable way.
Learn a language
Your kids don’t have to wait until junior high or high school to learn a foreign language these days. In fact, children pick up languages much more quickly when they are younger — so experts recommend you start early. Many parents are considering educational options like Spanish-immersion preschool and language academies for their young kids. If you are thinking about introducing your children to a new language this summer, check out Early Lingo. These DVD sets (Amazon, $84+) are offered in six different languages and are geared toward kids ages 6 months to 6 years old.