5 Summer History Learning Activities for Kids
We’ve all heard the saying “history repeats itself,” and that statement still stands when it comes to summer learning loss. In this series, Summer Enrichment Activities, we’re attempting to stop the history of the summer brain drain by collecting some fun ways parents can encourage summer learning.
Here are five summer history learning activities to try with your kids to rewrite history so the summer slide is up, not down.
1. Read a History Book
Encourage reading and get a history lesson by taking a trip to your public library. You’ll find books on any topic from Greek Mythology to Ancient Egypt, in print or digitally. You can even borrow a DVD on the same topic, and watch it as a family. This will create a connection to what your kids are learning, and give you plenty of discussion topics for the dinner table!
2. Marshmallow Constellations
The summer is a perfect time to enjoy the clear night sky, and to learn about astronomy. You can review topics like the moon, star constellations, and more! Try making a replica of a star constellation by printing an outline of a constellation, and connecting marshmallows with toothpicks. Try not to eat them afterwards though, or you might end up with a splinter! You can also create a star finder, and learn your way around the night sky. Discuss the history of star constellations with your student, and how the constellations were used by navigators to travel at night, both over land and at sea.
3. Take a Field Trip
All students learn differently, and some prefer to learn physically, visually, orally, or verbally. Explore all types of learning with your students by getting out and about for an opportunity to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste something new. We found a local park with a splash pad, train rides, a carousel, and a snack bar. There were so many fun things to explore and discover through all of our senses! Finding historical sites to visit even in your own hometown can also help bring history alive to kids, who will get the chance to see where the events they’ve learned actually took place!
4. Enjoy a Summer Treat
Make your summertime snack into a history lesson by trying a new dish from around the world! You may be surprised to find that your favorite treat is actually an Indian dessert, or you could find a new favorite by trying a Brazilian flavor combination. You can try a sweet from one of the places you’re reading about to bring it all together, and add a math lesson by teaching your kids valuable skills in the kitchen. Not into sweets, try making one of these healthy international soups! As you taste these international delights, teach your kids some historical facts about the country you’ve chosen. What a delightful way to learn!
5. Learn About Maps
In a digital age with GPS, reading a map may no longer seem like a necessary skill, but it’s actually very important! Reading a map allows children to build their spatial reasoning skills in which they grasp what they can touch and see. Whether it’s in a room down the hall, across the street, making the trip to Grandma’s house, or going on vacation, young learners are able to visualize where objects, places, cities, and countries are in relation to one another. Quite literally, maps help them figure out their place in the world. According to National Geographic, “maps also give a more complete understanding of history and are linked to success in math and science.”
How are you avoiding the summer slide this year? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.