Fun Summer Learning Activities

This photo showcases some color by code summer learning activities. Using a key, students will color summer themed pictures like the dolphin and shark shown.

As the school year winds down, students are ready to say goodbye to the classroom and hello to summer! However, teachers hope that students will not forget all they have learned while on break. After all, there’s nothing worse than the summer slide! If you’re looking for fun and engaging ways to encourage summer learning, you’re in the right place! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite activities to use over the summer to keep minds sharp and ready for school in the fall.

Benefits of Incorporating Summer Learning 

During summer break, most students do not have the support of a teacher. And even if students are attending a summer program, or have the benefit of a homeschooling parent available, the focus is usually less on school work and more on summer fun. This can set students up to forget much of what they have learned over the school year, also known as the summer slide!

This photo highlights some fun summer learning activities that can be used to practice phonics skills like cvc words.

But don’t worry friends, with a bit of intentionality, you can ensure that students don’t lose everything they’ve learned. Summer learning doesn’t have to be a production either. In fact, summer learning is all about reviewing essential skills in a fun way. This means they should be simple and easy to weave into your routine. When we make learning fun and easy to incorporate, you won’t have to stress about how to “fit it in”. Instead, you’ll find a natural summer learning rhythm that works for everyone!

Not to mention, summer learning activities help beat boredom as well! We all know how it goes… Summer break starts off with a bang and everyone is excited! But after a couple of weeks, boredom sets in and kiddos are looking for activities to keep them entertained in new ways. Fun summer learning activities are a great way to fill that void and practice some important skills and concepts as well!

Setting Students Up for Success with Summer Learning

If you’re a teacher, you might be wondering how you can set students up for success with summer learning activities. My best advice for this one is to keep independence top of mind. Students who are home for the summer will likely have minimal support, meaning we need to find fun learning activities that they can complete on their own. A simple way to think about this is by comparing it to what you’d normally assign for homework. Choosing activities that you know your students can do on their own with brief instructions are best for summer learning. Here are a few examples that you can’t go wrong with.

Color by Code Pages for Simple Summer Learning

Color by code activities are my favorite for so many reasons! They’re versatile, easy to differentiate, fun for students, and super easy to prep! They’re a go-to option for summer learning as well since they’re simple and easy to use independently.

The color by code activities in this photo are perfect to use for summer learning!

If you’re looking for an easy way to help facilitate skills practice over the summer, consider making each of your students a practice packet filled with some fun color by code pages. I use them most often for letter and number identification, number sense, and sight words. This Summer Color By Code Bundle is perfect for ensuring variety! Inside you’ll find tons of fun themes including:

  • camping
  • summer fun
  • 4th of July
  • ocean animals and more!

These quick and engaging pages make practicing important skills fun and exciting for students. And since I know every classroom has different needs, each page is editable! Teachers can choose the skills or words students need to work on or use the completed pages that are included. Students will be so proud of their design when finished and you’ll be relieved to know your students are working hard on important skills all summer long. Grab this freebie for an idea of what to expect from the bundle!

Choose Engaging Activities to Encourage Summer Learning 

Make summer learning fun by incorporating legos with sight word practice like the child in this photo is doing.

Another option to encourage summer learning is to use activities that are super appealing to students. For example, choosing activities that use tactile materials such as building bricks or play dough is always a winning idea! These Editable Building Brick Task Cards for Sight Words make it simple and fun to encourage sight word practice over the summer. Not to mention, kiddos will get some fine motor practice as well. They’ll be having so much fun building words they won’t even realize they’re learning.

To use, students will choose a card with a letter or sight word and say it aloud. Then, they will build it using small bricks. Since the cards are editable, teachers can choose which words or letters to focus on. Additionally, a writing template allows students to record their sight words as they build. In addition to the editable options, six color-coded sets are included, such as Pre-Primer words and Fry’s First 100 words. Students will have a blast while practicing words with this activity!

Make Reading Fun This Summer

This image showcases a summer reading challenge which will help to make summer learning more exciting for students!

We can’t forget reading, right?! As teachers, we all know that reading is one of the best activities to keep the learning rolling in the summer months. But how do we make this more fun for students? So glad you asked! I created Monthly Reading Challenges that aim to get students excited to read.

The idea behind these is that students will select a prompt on the page such as “read a book about camping” or “read a book outdoors”. These summer themes make it fun for students as they work their way through all the prompts! They color a space on their log with the goal of finishing it before the month is through. These challenges are editable too, so you can choose the types of prompts you want to include! These are even book review writing pages included as well so that students can write some details about their favorite books.

Consider printing these off for students and stapling them together with a construction paper cover. Ask students to work on the reading logs and book reviews over the summer and turn them in to you in the fall for a special prize! For younger students, ask parents to help facilitate this by reading aloud each evening. This is a very doable activity to work into the routine, even for the busiest families! Oh and if you need some summer book ideas, be sure to check out this post too!

Thematic Activities for Summer Learning

Summer is filled with fun opportunities to learn! If you’re a homeschooling family, or just looking for some summer learning that will connect to a vacation or activity, thematic activities are perfect. After all, summer is filled with fun themes like ocean animals, days at the beach, the rodeo, and more! Here are a few of my favorite thematic units to use in the summertime.

Beach & Ocean Animals Unit

Summer is often accompanied by at least one trip to the beach! This quintessential summer vacation is a classic for a reason, so why not plan some fun lessons with this theme? Inside my Summer Activities & Centers Resource, you’ll find everything you need to explore this topic in depth! This enormous resource includes over 1600 pages, so you’ll have plenty of variety in your summer learning lessons. Inside you’ll find:

This photo showcases resources found within my ocean unit! Use them for with students to practice literacy and math skills!
  • Vocabulary Tracing Pages
  • Directed Drawing & Writing Prompts
  • Labeling Activities
  • Writing Craftivities
  • Math Games
  • Literacy Centers
  • Life Cycle Posters & Worksheets
  • Non-Fiction Readers
  • EDITABLE Color by Code Activities and more!

This unit makes it simple and fun to learn about ocean animals all summer long. The best part though is that these activities are extremely versatile! Whether you use them in a summer camp or group program, or at home with your own kiddos, these will be a winning option for summer learning!

All About Sharks Unit

Who likes to celebrate Shark Week?! Shark Week is an annual event hosted by the Discovery Channel and it’s a perfect opportunity to dive into some learning about these incredible creatures. Inside my All About Sharks Unit, the lessons combine science and ELA to ensure well-rounded learning on this topic!

All about sharks activities like the one shown in this photo are sure to be a hit. Students can practice literacy and math skills in this unit!

This jam-packed unit includes mini readers, graphic organizers, writing prompts, a craftivity, math and literacy centers and so much more! If you’re in need of an in-depth unit to learn about sharks this summer, this will be your one-stop shop!

Students will learn all kinds of interesting facts about sharks such as their habitat, characteristics, and more. Additionally, the unit incorporates science standards, such as the life cycle of a shark and different types of sharks. Best of all, there are multiple levels of reading and writing activities for easy differentiation! This resource allows students to work in a variety of academic areas in engaging ways throughout the summer.

Rodeo Unit

Summertime is usually when the rodeo rolls into town, so why not learn a little more about it with your kiddos? Inside this Texas and Rodeo Thematic Teaching Unit, you’ll find tons of fun math and literacy activities your students will love. Some of the activities include:

In this photo, there are several resources from my rodeo unit which includes lessons on the state of Texas.
  • Would You Rather? Thematic Posters & Writing Prompts 
  • Rodeo & Texas-Themed Writing Prompts 
  • Read & Write the Room Centers 
  • Regions of Texas Maps 
  • All About Texas Non-Fiction Reader 
  • Cowboy Math Games
  • Texas Flag Craftivity 
  • Editable Color by Code 
  • Coloring Sheets with Fun Facts and more!

This in-depth unit is perfect for anyone wanting to incorporate a bit of Western flair into their lessons, or learn about the great state of Texas! As an added bonus, students will get plenty of practice with key math and literacy concepts while you explore these themes together.

Summer Learning Made Fun

Teachers know the impact summer learning loss has on students. Because of this, it is essential to encourage students to work on a bit of learning over the summer. Reviewing skills is critical whether they are in a summer program at school or at home! With the engaging activities above, students will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning! I’ll call that a win any day! Don’t forget, you can find all of these activities in my TPT Shop. And if you want to incorporate even more fun, read about my indoor recess activities here to help beat the summer heat.

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Make sure to pin this post on your classroom Pinterest board to keep track of these fun ideas to encourage summer learning!

Looking for some fun summer learning activities that will help your students retain the important math and literacy skills they have been working on all year? Check out this post for resource ideas you can use throughout the summer with themes like sharks, ocean animals and even the rodeo!