5 Activities for Kids to Learn Through Play This Summer

Lazy summer days were meant for learning…. Say, what? No really. Now is the time to introduce school-friendly habits that will help ease kids into a learning mindset. This doesn’t have to be boring for them or an exercise in frustration for you, the key is using play time to introduce positive habits over the next few weeks.

Here are five activities that will get Grade 6 to 8 kids moving and brains buzzing so they’re ready to dive into learning this September.

Swimming at the beach or outdoor pool

Physical activity helps prep kids for learning by improving focus, sleep and energy levels. It also improves mental health by decreasing anxiety and depression. With summer camps out of commission, the onus is on parents to get their kids moving. Experts say the beach and outdoor swimming pools are lower risk than indoor swimming pools for COVID-19 transmission, provided you maintain a six-foot distance from other groups and wear a mask in crowded areas like the parking lot or washroom.

Payoff in September: Exhausted kids are sleepy kids, so use beach and pool days to help establish earlier nights and more wakeful mornings.

Minecraft sessions

A favourite among kids and adults alike, Minecraft is one of the top-selling video games of all time. Users create their own structures in an infinite 3D world and can play solo or on online with others. Because the game is so open-ended and freeform, it promotes creativity and problem solving. Building requires math skills and the game can be a gateway to learn to code. This Huffpost article runs through the specific skills Minecraft can help build.

Payoff in September: Minecraft may help get your kids psyched about STEM. And, playing with peers can help students reconnect with their school chums after spending many months apart. 

Zero-contact games

Tossing a frisbee or baseball at the park are low coronavirus-risk activities while close-quarter and full-contact sports like soccer and rugby are not. Caught without gear? Try shadow tag: Whoever is “it” must tag someone else’s shadow with their feet. With playground structures still no-go zones, use physical-distance-friendly games to tire kids out at the park.

Payoff in September: Besides (hopefully) exhausting kids enough to help them get into that coveted early-to-bed-early-to-rise routine, these games reinforce the physical distance rules students should know as second nature when they return to school in the fall.

Family hikes

Immerse your kids in healthful forest bathing via a walk in the woods. While guided activities like birdwatching and parent-led citizen science nature surveys are cool family activities, save them for another time. For today, enjoy adult conversation while the kids run around, “sword fight,” view moths, and otherwise play on their own.

Payoff in September: Don’t be surprised if unscripted family time turns into child-led birdwatching or fallen-leaf collecting. Outdoor time can spark an interest in learning about the natural world and conservation. Suddenly science is cool again!

Independent art projects

Encourage your kids’ creativity by arming them with the art supplies they’ll need to sketch a masterpiece-in-the-making, decorate their space or make crafts for friends, family and/or school staff. TIP: Give kids room to create on their own – there’s no need to drive the agenda or constantly check in on their work.

Payoff in September: Self-directed play lets kids experiment, explore and find their own creative voice. This will help them in the years to come, whether it comes to choosing project ideas…. or weighing their post-secondary education options. 



By Staples Canada

July 15, 2020