The school year is almost done! Wow… it went by so fast, right? Every summer, we wonder about the same question: should students keep working during the summer to avoid dulling their minds? Or should they be granted this time to have fun? Here’s the cheat answer: Both!
After an intense school year, both teachers and students deserve to rest and have some fun. On the other hand, we need to keep our brains working to make sure the start of the next year is a complete success!
This week, we have gathered 5 Summer activities so your students can have fun while they use their brains during the holidays. You can give it to them as a summer project for the next year, or you can do it with them in the last few weeks to keep their imagination flowing.
1. Summer Scavenger Hunts – Adriana
My kids love to do scavenger hunts, so I always try to work one in on the last week of school. They are a great end of day treat.
I have three different themes for my scavenger hunt; one on friendship, one for outdoors, and one inside the classroom. They are so versatile!
It’s easy: I give each student a clipboard, a pen, and worksheet that I have made up with objectives to find. What they have to find is always relevant to the theme of the hunt. For example, for the friendship theme I ask them to find a friend who can tie his shoes, another friend who has a cat, etc.
I use scavenger hunts as a community building activity, rather than a competition. The kids help each other, and the activity ends when everyone finishes. After that, we sit in the shade, eat some popsicles, and read each other’s charts. They are all winners for working well as a team!
The Scavenger Hunt is one of my kiddos’ favorites, but there are a bunch of other summer activities I use, like holiday-themed writing and math exercices, picture glyphs, etc. You can check them out here!
2. A Summer Calendar of endless holiday fun – Kathy
I like to give my students activities to complete over the summer to be sure that they don’t forget everything over the long break. One of my favorites is to give an “activity for a day” calendar.
Here is how I do it:
I get a blank calendar and brainstorm ideas with my class. Together we come up with short activities or questions that they can do over the summer to keep skills sharp. Ideas such as counting how many shoes your mom has in the closet, to how many steps it is around the neighborhood, to measuring the perimeter or area of a room in their house, etc. Your students can then jot these ideas down on different dates on their calendar and complete them through the summer.
You can copy ideas from the class and type them into a calendar frame for each student to take home through the summer to work with when they are faced with a rainy summer day at the shore, or traveling to a vacation destination… remember if a car travels 60 miles per hour and it takes 2 1/2 hours to get to Orlando, how many miles have we traveled? Oh, how many of you remember those questions??
Oh, before I forget, if you teach first grade… I have one already made up for all of you, my “fun”tastic first grade BFF’s… Oops! I am just assuming that I am your best friend right about now… Am I right? I did all the work for you! Yep here it is Summer Calendar for First Grade.
3. Create a Memory book of the best moments of the year – Kathy
Another of my best activities is to get students to create a memory book to have as a souvenir, and to remember all the fun we had!
You could use a blank notebook or something similar but as I do this every year I created a template which I print out and give to each student.
I get my students to think about and reflect on their school year. I ask them questions like:
- What is their favorite memory
- Evaluate what they did super during the school year
- To think about their friends this year (I give them enough space to include the whole class)
- Evaluate how their classmates were great friends
- A few things they learned in school this year
- What was one thing they learned that they will remember most from the year
And a bunch of other things. Once we are done, the writing part, we draw pictures and decorate the book. Then I bind them together and they can take them home.
4. Sneak math in… with Space Conquest! – Becky
The best kind of math activities are those with which we are having so much fun it doesn’t feel like maths. That’s why I like to incorporate games into my class as much as possible. It’s also a good way to keep students engaged over the summer.
I made up Space Conquest to help my students practice timetables, multiples and prime numbers. Its designed for 2 players, as 3 or more players makes the game unfair. My kids have a lot of fun with this one, it can also get pretty competitive!
Before playing, prepare your spinner, or use a 12-sided dice. Alternatively, you can use random.org. This is a random number generator website. Set the range from 3-12 and hit ‘generate’. You’ll also need to place the black holes. These will become places that can never be captured.
Here is how to play:
- A game lasts for 10 rounds, or until someone runs out of pieces. Use 2 sheets (200 pieces) of player pieces.
- Players decide who goes first.
Player 1 spins the spinner, then places a spacecraft on that number and all of its multiples.
- Player 1 now owns all of these squares.
- If a player’s claimed spaces encounter a black hole, they cannot place a counter there. It is uninhabitable.
- Player 2 takes their turn. If they land a spacecraft on a space owned by Player 1, Player 2 now owns it.
- Once both players have taken their turn, Round 2 begins.
- The game continues, with each player placing their pieces on top of any spaces that have been taken before.
- The piles of pieces on commonly taken spaces will rise throughout the game.
- After round 10, or when a player runs out of pieces, add up the number of spaces claimed by each player.
- Only pieces on the very top count.
- The player who has claimed the most spaces wins!
If you want to add some variations you can extend the game by giving out more pieces, by allowing players to place black holes randomly where they want, or placing no black holes at all, or applying twice the number of points to random worlds on the board.
5. Set up goals with the Summer Manifesto – Kelly
I loved the idea of putting together a list with the goals you want to accomplish over the summer! You can help your students set goals throughout the year, and there are so many things you can do with them. For example, you can have them write a summer manifesto at the end of the year, and a school year manifesto when they are back to class!
You can read more about the Summer Manifesto here.
That’s it! We hope you and your pupils have an amazing summer, full of learning and fun. What summer activities you like to do with your students? Tell us!