10 Creative Summer Learning Activities
This post is written for tweens/teens who’re looking for fun do-it-yourself activities this summer – share it with your child!
Yay! School’s out! You can relax, hang out with friends and family, do fun stuff and forget all about learning.
Wait, what? Forget all about learning? Well, maybe not all about learning. Let’s face it, you know how hard it is to get back into the groove when school starts again and your brain feels like ice cream left out in the sun too long.
But what if learning wasn’t just about summer school, textbooks, problem sets or reading assignments? What if you could build your learning skills without studying – and have fun doing it?
Here are some fun ideas that our team put together for creative summer learning activities that:
- * Can be done at little or no cost with readily available materials
- * Don’t take up too much time
- * Can be done pretty much anywhere in the world
- * Build your critical and creative thinking skills
- * Are totally controlled by you!
1. If you’re into games…
Does playing video, computer or board games help you relax? Take your favorite game and think about how you would do it differently, in detail. How would it work, what would be the rules? As we know, the rules are what make games challenging and interesting. Keep refining it. Who knows, someday you could actually create/code the game. This is a good one to do with friends, too!
2. If you like cooking…
Cooking is great – making a meal mixes chemistry, physics, and math. Plus you get something to eat for your efforts! But this is not just about taking a recipe and following it. Experiment. Change it up, but put some thought into it and start with a goal. What if I halved the recipe? How can I fit it into 3 little pans? Can I add jam instead of sugar? Failure is OK, and most likely still edible!
3. If you love movies…
What if you were the one behind the camera lens? Think (or learn about) about all the stuff that actually goes into making a movie and dream a little about a movie you’d make. How would you go about it? How can you show a car chase without causing accidents? Want to know about all the stuff real moviemakers have to think about? Prepare to be impressed by this awesome checklist!
4. If you like messing with paper and art…
In one word – origami! Sure, you can fold boats and hats and cranes, but how about figuring out your own creation? There’s geometry in those folds! (Check out origami here.) Oh yes, there’s another word, art. Art for art’s sake is universal, but how about art with a purpose? What if you chose to illustrate an idea (or a set of ideas)? Create your own infographic like ours? That takes planning and creativity!
5. If you’re crafty…
Are you into the ‘maker’ DIY thing? And/or do you like to knit, crotchet, sew, or glue stuff together? Then forget instructions and patterns. Think of something that you’d like to make where you choose the instructions, patterns, or how-to guides. Experiment, revise, repeat. Maybe you’ll end up with the best ever click-clack toy for your little brother or super-hero getup for your little sister. (Get inspired by checking out this site for techie maker ideas and this one for other craft ideas for teens.)
6. If sports are your thing…
Whatever sport you play, you know you can get better at it. There’s practice and watching/learning from the pros, of course. But what if you analyzed it for yourself? Angle the ball differently to make a basket. Put more power into your kick. Change the way you stand. Make your own training schedule. These are all solid learning skills to help you up your game, or just enjoy the process!
7. If you like writing…
You may not be able to finish penning the “Great American Novel” during your summer break. You don’t even have to start on one. Give yourself a fun goal, which might take some effort and unconventional thinking. Write a two-page mystery involving just one character. Dabble in a little poetry, if that’s your thing. Who knows? These may be the early works of an award-winning author.
8. If you enjoy making a point…
Do you enjoy taking a stand and arguing for (or against) something? Pick a viewpoint that you favor, even if popular opinion says otherwise. Do the research to figure out whether you’re in the right. See if there’s science (or popular opinion) behind your idea. For example, fourteen-year-olds should be able to drive if they can see over the dashboard. That should be fun!
9. If you’re passionate about nature…
There’s a world of fun learning activities outdoors. Literally. Watch a crow for 15 minutes and see, really see, what they do. (They’re amazingly smart, by the way.) Going on a vacation? Look around, take notes, draw conclusions from your observations. (Here are some tips to make a nature journal.) This might be the start of something you might be excited to work on in the future.
10. If you want to save the world…
In other words, you like volunteering and helping people. You’re probably already doing that, but how about solving a problem your way? Pick one social problem, preferably not too big, that you wish you could fix. For example, kids who don’t have access to computers in your school. Think about how you would go about fixing the problem. There are many steps and many dos and don’ts to make it a challenge, but this might become something you can actually get done someday.
Most of these can be done with friends or on your own. And while our list keeps it simple in terms of tools and props, you can do your own add-ons and take it as far as you’d like to go (make movies!).
We’d love to hear about it if you actually tried any of this! Let us know about your activity and how you liked it, and we promise to do a blog post featuring your experience. To share your activity, click here to contact us directly and we’ll get in touch with you for more details.
(Parents, teachers, if you’re reading this, feel free to share with students you know and rest assured, we take students’ privacy seriously and will be careful about what we share.)
Do you have your own go-to creative activities? We’d love to hear about them!