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The ABCs of Summer Learning

It’s important to keep learning all summer long to avoid falling into the trap of summer brain drain, and to keep learning momentum going. Luckily, summer learning  opportunities are all around!  Here’s an alphabet-friendly guide to summer learning.


Studies show that exercise increases blood flow to the brain which feeds brain cells and helps to make neural connections strong. So get moving! Whether riding a bike, playing baseball, or a swimming at your favourite pool, staying active is a great way to keep neural connections strong and in learning mode all summer long!


Board Games

Not just for rainy summer afternoons inside, board games are actually great learning tools helping kids develop broader thinking abilities such as strategy, planning, and action-consequence relationships. Plus, they’re great for teaching patience.



Plan a fun summer-themed craft, such as building popsicle stick cabins, making paper fans and airplanes, or finger-painting. Crafts keep kids focused for long periods of time and are great for motor skill development as well as for learning about planning.



Put your descriptive powers to the test with a describing game! Go for a summer walk and take turns describing an object without using the words “very” or “really.” Take turns improving on each other’s descriptions and work in literary tools such as alliteration and similes.



Healthy eating and healthy brains go hand in hand.  Over the summer, remember to encourage kids to eat nutritious foods to foster healthy and active brain development. Summer and healthy eating go hand in hand thanks to the abundance of fresh (and local) fruits and vegetables.



Summer is an opportunity to learn a practical skill, perhaps one that school doesn’t teach such as changing a car tire, or rowing a canoe.  It’s also the first opportunity many students have to experience school lessons outside of the classroom, such as viewing constellations, or growing a plant from seed.



Going on a summer vacation? Have the kids use Google Maps to plan hiking or  to map out a walking trail, use Google search to find hotels, and use Google images to look up far away places.  Kids are great with technology, and being part of the planning helps them feel connected to the plans.



Keep up with school-time habits such as bedtimes, mealtimes, and wake-up times. Continue to use an agenda or wall calendar to keep track of activities.



Summer is the time to discover what inspires you. What is the one thing that drives you? Finding inspiration—be it animals, books, sports, etc.—is an important part of school and learning, because inspiration motivates students when interest in school subjects is lagging.



Start a journal this summer to write down daily thoughts, fun and exciting events, and your feelings. At the end of your summer you’ll be left with a great memento, and stronger writing skills!



Everybody has an area of weakness…(superheroes are no exception). Without any homework, test, or assignments to complete, summer is the perfect time to focus on weak academic areas, whether it’s reading, math, French, or saving the world.



Reading is the most important summer activity and libraries are a critical part of a healthy and engaged relationship with books. Not only do libraries offer summer reading programs for kids, they offer reading lists, they suggest authors, and they even run reading contests.  All this for the minimal cost of a library card!



You don’t have to live in an urban metropolis to learn a little more about the history or culture of your area—many small towns have cultural centres that can make for fun afternoon adventures. Make the experience meaningful by talking about the how/why/where of whatever you are learning about.



Take a nature hike, stopping along the path to look at plants and animals. This is a great place to practice description skills. Engage children to think actively about what they encounter by asking questions,
“why do you think that tree is dead?”
“What kind of animal might have left that footprint?”


Oxford Learning.

Oxford Learning camps and programs are an easy way to maintain learning momentum over the summer. Our programs help students catch up in trouble areas, keep up with their classmates, and get a head start on next year’s subjects…all while having fun and beating #summerbraindrain!



Like board games, puzzles are great downtime activities that keep the brain challenged. Whether playing Sudoku, Crosswords, search-a-words, or jigsaws, puzzles are a fun way to challenge your mind and learn skills such as persistence and problem solving.


Quiet time

Make a time every day to have some peace and quiet. Engage in some active thinking, a little daydreaming, or just spend some down time simply being together. It’s a great way to let the brain make important connections.



If there is one summer activity that is equal parts fun and education, it is reading. It doesn’t take science and research to know that reading keeps the mind active all summer long. It also helps develop vocabulary, and increases reading comprehension, which both pay off in the classroom.



Turn summer memories into a hobby that encourages children to engage their brain by writing and drawing about the day’s activities. Cut pictures from magazines and newspapers and gather items such as feathers or seashells to paste onto the pages for a colourful way to document summer fun. (This is different from “scrapbooking,” but that can be fun too!)



You don’t have to leave your city to experience the spirit of wanderlust. Visit your local tourist bureau and become a tourist in your own backyard. Head to the other side of town to visit a park that you’ve never been do. This is also a great opportunity for children to learn about the city they live in—major street names, directions, and local history.



For teens heading off to university in the fall, summer is the best time to prepare for what comes next. It’s also a time for summer jobs, and as the last summer of high school, it’s a major life milestone—it’s important to take advantage of this opportunity.



Vocabulary is linked to school success—the greater a child’s vocabulary, the greater the reading comprehension skills are. The best way to develop vocabulary? Reading. Write down new words and definitions in the summer scrapbook.



Despite the prevalence of keyboards, penmanship and handwriting are still very important! Personal handwriting style is always developing, so it’s critical to maintain skills. Journaling and writing in a scrapbook are a great ways to improve penmanship over the summer and keep vocabulary skills sharp!


X Marks the Spot

Organize a fun scavenger hunt or a pirate-theme day and have a little bit of silly fun. Make crafts and invite neighbourhood friends. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a birthday to celebrate the summer! It’s a great way to break up summer boredom.


Yard Sale

Summer is the perfect time to hold a yard sale. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids lessons about organization. Kids can help gather up clothing, books, and toys that they no longer use, and sort what they’ve gathered into categories. They can also help with money and counting.


Go to the Zoo

Zoos are a great opportunity to learn something new about the animals we share the planet with. Spend some time before hand researching a favourite animal either online or at the library.

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