Are you hitting the mid-summer slump with your kids? Are they spending all day inside doing nothing productive? Is your home filled with constant bickering and complaining? Maybe it’s time to get their brain working hard and learn something new to prepare for the next school year.
Not every learning program is for every kid, but we’ve found some great ways to motivate your kids to learn and be active during the summer. There’s programs for reading, math, exercising and other subjects, and also programs to encourage your kids to do chores and other tasks.
Keep Your Kids Reading
Reading is a great summer activity for kids. It keeps them entertained for long stretches of time, encourages brain growth, and they can practice their reading skills. Find some books they'll enjoy, either from your local library or online, and push them to read.
There are tons of summer reading programs if your kids need an extra push to crack open a book. City libraries are a great place to start looking for a program. For example, the Boise city libraries offer a reading program to everyone. Younger kids can get free books, stuffed animals, stickers, and more! They can also lead you to other local reading programs that local businesses might be offering.
A classic reading program is Pizza Hut’s Book It program. You can enroll online and get resources to encourage reading in kids. Plus, if your kid does the program and reaches their reading goal, they get a free pizza!
Day Camps, Summer Programs, and Online Schools
If you want a more structured program and are willing to pay for it, there is an endless amount of summer learning programs to keep your kids busy. These programs are great to keep your kids' minds fresh, learn new skills they might not get at school, and keep them active. Whether you want to teach STEM skills, get them camping outdoors, help them catch up and practice school skills, or something else, there’s a program for you!
The first step to finding a good program is to determine what is important for your child to learn. Want to improve their confidence? There’s day camps and programs for that. Want to encourage math and science skills? There’s STEM camps and programs, both in person and online.
These programs are great at keeping kids motivated and learning because it’s structured and there are other kids to spend time with. They won’t feel like they are learning because they’re playing with other kids and having fun. There’s no homework or tests, just having a good time.
Make a Game Out of Chores and Learning
Gamifying learning and helping out at home is a great motivator for kids of all ages. Whether it’s a simple homemade game made from an old “Monopoly” set or something more elaborate, games can help kids feel a sense of growth and progression.
One great game many kids (and adults) love is Habitica. It’s an online game that people can use to motivate themselves to accomplish tasks on a daily basis. You create a character and can battle enemies with your friends. You can set recurring tasks like chores on a daily or weekly schedule that earn the player rewards for accomplishing and punishments for failing. Do a task? Earn some experience and gold. Fail a task? Take damage and risk your character dying.
When making a game out of chores and tasks, make sure there is a reward for winning. For some, simply winning the game might be enough, but a good incentive can push kids to play the game harder. If you’re looking for a good reward, you could take them to Roaring Springs/Wahooz, Lagoon down in Utah, or do that trip to Disney they’ve been begging for. Plus, Pioneer members can earn discount tickets to all of these and other vacation packages.
Sports, Karate, Gymnastics and More!
Summer is a great time to let your kids try out a new sport or dedicate themselves to an activity they enjoy. With practices, games, meets, and whatever else the activity has, your kid will be staying busy and active.
Plus, physical activities are great ways to teach important life skills like teamwork, patience, dedication, communication, and the importance of practice. Not only can these skills translate to school, but also the rest of their lives too.
There are tons of physical activity programs all over, just take a look and find the right one for your kid and your schedule. When picking out a program, look at local reviews to see what other parents have to say. This can save you from a costly mistake or putting your kid through a poor experience.
Make Your Own Program
Not finding something that fits your kid? Make your own program. It will take a little extra work on your end, but then you are in control of what your kid is doing and learning. You could have a blend of chores, activities, learning assignments, and games your kid enjoys.
Be sure to get lots of resources to back you up on making your own program. A good place to start is buying a prep workbook designed to help your child get ready for their next grade. Use your local library to keep getting new books for your kids to read. Use programs other parents have made as a groundwork and guidance for your own program.
A great feature of making your own program is that you can teach skills that are often overlooked at school, like cooking, music, or financial education. If you need help with resources for financial education, we can help! Our Education page is filled with tools to help anybody learn how to handle their finances, and we have a recorded version of a short lesson taught directly to kids on how to save money!
Check Out the Education Page