Creative Ways to Keep Your Children’s Minds Active During the Summer Months


By: Amanda Sabarese

When school ends and summer vacation begins, it’s easy to forget to workout your brain. Without school there to teach kids about reading, math, and the like, relaxation may begin to trump learning for these few free months out of the year. A combination of summer fun and some sneaky lessons can get your kids’ brains moving as much as their bodies!


Books are an amazing way to keep your kids minds active and to polish up on their reading and comprehension skills during summer break. It may be difficult, however, to convince your kids to read when there is a pool or friends just around the corner. Here are some ways to get your kids to read during summer break:

  1. Bring books to the pool and on outings for downtime.
  2. Do an outing to the public library on a day that’s too hot or too rainy to be outside.
  3. Check out books about different outdoor activities, and then tell your child to read them. After they have read the short stories, they can pick their favorite activity to try in real life.
  4. Let your kids pick out chapter books and get them the set to read when they complain they’re bored.
  5. Make time for their summer reading list.
  6. Build a “little free library” and let your kids read the new books when they come in. Directions can be found here:
  7. Find books about topics that interest them. If your child likes science, there are many science books for kids. If your child prefers art, find a drawing book but ask them to help you read the directions.


Math skills transfer into all aspect of a child’s (and adult’s) life, so it is important that they keep these skills sharp. From basic math to more advanced math, there are a plethora of activities that can be incorporated into the summer fun.

  1. Check out these fun math pool game ideas, or look for or create your own!
  2. Practice counting and sorting skills with candy.
  3. Bake cookies or cakes with your kids, and let them use the measuring cups for different ingredients.
  4. Go on a “math hike” and put math on the menu, or use math on the beach! Get more info here:

New Experiences

The more experiences children have, the more their brains will grow. Physiological psychology research supports this, and parents should take advantage of the free time over summer break to come up with more physical and less structured learning activities and experiences. What better way is there to prepare your child for the real world than actually learning in the real world?

  1. Go to the zoo and learn about animals.
  2. Look for “treasure” on a hike and enjoy the nature around you.
  3. Go to a child’s museum on a day that is too rainy or too hot for outdoor play.
  4. Design a quest for your child. Here is an idea for a backyard quest. Quests are a good way to disguise learning if your child is resistant to learning! It can help to develop problem solving and abstract thinking skills.

NJ Specific Ideas

  1. Go to Howling Woods Farm to see rescued wolves:
  2. Your kids can let out their inner photographer at Grounds for Sculpture:
  3. Take a trip to Kids Village and let them run free:

Take the challenge! Can you incorporate learning into your children’s summer breaks?

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