KimsKorner: More Summer learning fun

By Kimberly Jenkins - [email protected]

It is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall.

It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of summer already. And I have been trying to make sure you have some summer learning ideas, I wanted to include these outdoor family activities that I found on There is a lot of learning contained in these activities, as we know not all learning comes in a textbook. I hope you enjoy some of these with your kiddos. I also added the paragraphs that they started these ideas with, because I felt they contained some great information.

“Playing outside with your children isn’t just about encouraging more physical activity. A 2019 study found that kids who spent the least amount of time in green spaces were 55% more likely to develop psychiatric issues, such as anxiety and mood disorders, as adolescents or adults.

And while wrangling kids of varying ages to participate in a single activity can seem difficult, we’ve rounded up 50 mostly free things to do outside as a family to help you find the perfect fit. Next time the weather looks inviting, try these creative ways to play outside.”

Go for a walk. Set a timer to see how far you can walk in five minutes, 10, 20, or 30. Note whether you’re going to make a loop or take an out-and-back route so you can plan accordingly.

Ride bikes.

Fly kites.

Blow bubbles using a DIY mix.

Play classic outdoor games such as Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, or Steal the Bacon.

Host a nature scavenger hunt. Look for pine cones, acorns, and other common outdoor items and tally who found the most pieces.

Hula hoop.

Roller skate.

Play Follow the Leader through your yard or neighborhood.

Draw a hopscotch board with chalk.

Make homemade playdough and bring it outside. It’s less messy than playing on the floor or carpet.

Drive to a neighboring town and check out their playgrounds. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite.

Set up a canvas and let your little ones paint. Again, less mess to clean up.

Find a shady tree and read.

Have a picnic at a local park, beach, or your own backyard.

Do things you’d normally do inside, like play board games or have a pillow fight.

Make s’mores.

Plant a small container garden.

Film a home movie.

Eat homemade popsicles.

Have a water balloon fight.

Wash the car.

Go for a group jog.

Play wiffleball or kickball.

Take turns playing photographer with your phone or camera.

Make mud pies. Who can make the fanciest creation?

Sing as loud as you can.

Is it getting dark outside? Play hide and seek with flashlights (and partners if you have little ones).

Water the plants. Give your preschooler some basic experiments to consider: Does the hose make water come out faster than the watering can? Which is easier to control?

Build paper airplanes. Who can make theirs fly the farthest?

Search for bugs.

Run through the sprinkler.

Make homemade bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed.

Gather up a wagon, stuffed animals, and some pots and pans and have an instant parade.

Look for things like pine cones, sticks, shells, and rocks to make a mobile.

Play on the swing set in the dark.

Pick flowers (from your own yard).

Find shapes in the clouds.

Take a nap in a hammock or just on a blanket you lay on the grass.

Go “fishing.” Set up a wading pool with objects and let your little one try to catch them.

Pitch a tent.

Paint rocks.

Have a water gunfight.

Learn to do cartwheels.

Build a fort using lawn furniture.

Walk barefoot in the grass. Then try the cement (make sure it isn’t too hot first). Ask your preschooler to compare what they feel like. What other surfaces can you make your feet touch?

I didn’t want to leave out some more of the ideas I started sharing last week from Scholastic, that has many different learning ideas for the summer. I hope you enjoy all the ideas I have shared for this week.


Summer Reading Activities

These ideas will keep kids engaged in reading, writing, and thinking creatively even on the hottest days.

Water writer: Using a pail of water and a brush, have kids write words on the blacktop or sidewalk.

Sell summer: Tell kids: Try a new product or activity and write about it. How would you describe it? Would you recommend it? Create an advertisement to sell it to others.

Plan a trip: Have kids use the Internet, travel guidebooks, brochures, and maps to plan a dream day, weekend, week, or month-long trip.

Summer sleuth: Have kids follow a story in a newspaper during the summer, or investigate a local story (e.g., an upcoming fair). Tell kids: Write about the event as it unfolds so that you have it documented from start to finish.

Play it: Take an adventure book with a clear plot (The Phantom Tollbooth, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.) and invent a board game based on it.

Comic strip: Write a comic strip about a fictional character or yourself. See how long you can keep the strip going. Read classic comics for inspiration.

Keeping Kids Motivated

Parent involvement during the summer months is crucial to student success. According to the National Education Association, “Parents who are actively involved in their children’s learning at home help their children become more successful learners in and out of school.” Encourage parents with a final newsletter full of activities that will stave off forgetfulness and even build skills over the summer.

Set aside time each day to read. Track the books your child reads and reward him or her with a special activity or treat when he or she reaches certain milestones (for example, every 10th book). Do art projects based on favorite titles, such as drawing a favorite scene, or making paper bag puppets.

Visit your local library. Many libraries have wonderful summer reading programs that reward children for the number of books they read.

Make every day educational. Children learn problem-solving, math, science, and vocabulary as they help with groceries, laundry, and cooking.

Create a summer scrapbook. Save postcards and movie tickets, record family stories or interesting events from each day, whether you’re going on vacation or just going to your neighborhood park.

Roadworthy Car Games

For kids on the bus or families on vacation, put those long rides to good use with activities that keep the kids busy and build reading and math skills.

For grades K–3:

Car bingo: Create a car bingo card with words, shapes, colors, and items that children will likely see during a trip (stop signs, billboards, railroad signs, etc.) to reinforce reading skills, math, and sight words.

The number game: Look out the window and call out when you see one, two, three, or four of something, and so on.

The alphabet game: One person chooses the right side of the road, and the other chooses the left. Call out objects that you see in alphabetical order (you can use a sign only for one letter). The first person to get to the letter “z” wins.

For grades 4–8:

Capital game: Take note of each license plate you see, not by state, but by state capital. The first to correctly identify 10 state capitals wins.

Cow game: One person takes the right side of the road, the other takes the left. Keep count of all the cows you see. You earn one point for each cow. When you see a cemetery out of your side of the car, you lose all your points.

Animals galore: Decide on a number of points for each animal that you see (cow = 1 point, horse = 1 point, pig = 2 points, etc.). As you drive, add up the points. Play until one person gets 10 points, or for a set time.

Math with license plates: Use the numbers on license plates to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and number patterns and see just how creative kids can get!

During the summer, it is my goal to possibly have things that will keep your kids from losing what they have learned through this year, whether it be virtual, in person, or a combination. With this school year being as unusual as it was, it was it will be important to keep your children’s brain thinking some of the time. Seriously, think about it, you’ve all become good teachers by now and I’ll just add some needed skills for different levels, so you don’t have to look up things, just have them do them some different times this summer. God Bless you all and have a good week.

Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at [email protected]

Remember to be kind and love each other and continue to set a good example for our children. See you next week with new ideas and ways to help your children or ideas that may help you as you raise your children in some way.

It is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall. is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall.

By Kimberly Jenkins

[email protected]

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights