How to Stop the Brain Drain during the Summer

Teresa shares with us today her insights on how to keep kids learning during the summer months. Here are her tips to keep those little minds working!

Summer breezes are wafting in my windows these days and my children’s motivation toward their education is floating right out that same open window. Green grass and trees and shrubs are in full bloom. There is even a new robin’s nest with a couple of eggs sitting in a tree in our parkway. This entire activity outdoors is keeping my children from concentrating on schoolwork indoors. Instead of fighting for my children’s attention, I put the cheap textbooks aside and we headed outdoors.

I’m not sure if you are aware, but if you let your kids blow off some energy, they will actually focus better for you on their schoolwork. Hence, the let’s get outdoors, run around a bit, and have fun learning.

The best ways for me to incorporate fun learning into their schedules is simple. It just takes a bit of planning and preparing ahead of time.

Here are some ways I like to bring Geography, Math and English lessons outdoors with us.


I love that my children already love Geography. In the summer, they adore this subject because we participate in an activity known as Letterboxing. If you are not familiar with Letterboxing, it is a quest to search for a hidden box.

The hider leaves clues to the location of the hidden box and you search for it. I have my children take the provided clues and create a map. We then use the map and get familiar with symbols, landmarks and landscapes of the areas we are searching. My children learn how to create and read maps, use a compass, use landmarks to hidden locations and generally have a fabulous afternoon of ‘learning fun’.


I plan a picnic and let the children make grocery lists, create a budget, clip coupons and calculate the amount of money to spend per person. We have a grocery store field trip to purchase the food for the picnic.

I have math problems written in sharpie on plastic baggies for the children to fill with the different food items they have chosen. Since I have three children in three different grades, I have to tailor the math problems to each of their abilities. Where else would one get to practice addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and algebra but at a picnic in the park. My kids have so much fun, they don’t’ even realize they are doing homework.


While we are walking {or driving} to a park for our picnic, I have the children look for specific things in nature on the way. If they happen to spot a bird, I ask them to tell me a short story about this bird and be as descriptive as possible. This strengthens their use of verbs and adjectives.

Another task I might assign would be to play a rhyming game with them about the number of steps we are taking, how fast or how slow we are walking. This exercise gets my children paying attention to how they are pronouncing words. These exercises garner many giggles as my children love to create nonsense words.

Another favorite is to play Onomatopoeia.

“How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
“How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour ”
~ The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe

I’m always trying to think of creative methods of learning for my children. Homeschooling affords me the opportunity to be creative. So when boredom hits or I am afraid that they are not going to remember things we talked about during the year, we have fun outdoors with Geography, Math, and English.

What are some of your favorite methods for keeping your kids learning during the summer?


  1. Cindy B says

    These are great ideas! We visit historic sights, museums, etc. in our area all summer long. My grandson helps me with the grocery lists and shopping. Checking prices and figuring out which is the better buy is a great math exercise!

  2. emily says

    I don’t homeschool, but try to fill the summer with lots of visits to the library – trips to museums (lucky to live near DC where many are free), hikes, and games that are so fun they almost forget they’re learning.

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