Summer is the perfect time to have fun and explore the wonders of science! With the sun shining and plenty of free time, it's an opportunity for kids to engage in hands-on experiments that spark curiosity and ignite a love for learning.
Science doesn't have to be boring or complicated. In fact, it can be a thrilling adventure that sparks curiosity and fuels the imagination. Here are some exciting and easy science experiments that can be done at home or in the great outdoors. Get ready to have fun while discovering the amazing world of science!
Experiment 1: Bubbling Magic - Dancing Raisins
Do you know that even raisins can dance? Gather some carbonated water, a clear glass, and some raisins. Pour the carbonated water into the glass and drop a few raisins in. Watch in amazement as the raisins bob up and down like magic! This experiment demonstrates the concept of buoyancy and gas release.
Experiment 2: Density Delight - Floating Egg
Ever wondered if an egg can float? Find out by conducting this experiment. Fill a tall glass with water and carefully place an egg in it. Observe whether the egg floats or sinks. Now add salt to the water, stir until it dissolves, and repeat the process. Witness the surprising change in the egg's behavior! This experiment explores density and its impact on buoyancy.
Experiment 3: Colorful Creations - Milk And Dish Soap
Prepare for a dazzling display of colors! Pour some milk into a dish and add a few drops of different food coloring. Dip a cotton swab with dish soap into the milk and watch as vibrant swirls and patterns emerge before your eyes. This experiment showcases a chemical reaction and the concept of surface tension.
Testing Out Gravity - The Clink-Clunk Test
Here is another experiment that you might like to try. It is always surprising for kids to see the results. This was a favorite for my students.
Summer is the perfect time to engage in exciting science experiments that combine fun and learning. These four experiments are just a taste of the countless possibilities that await you. From watching raisins dance, to seeing if eggs float or sink, to swirling patterns in milk, there is so much to explore and learn. So, gather your materials, invite your friends and family, and let the summer science fun begin!
Get ready for an extraordinary summer filled with science, exploration, and endless possibilities. Let your imagination soar as you dive into these fascinating experiments. Have a blast and enjoy the wonder of scientific discovery!
How many times have you heard an adult say they are no good at math or that they hate math? So many times, it isn't that they weren't capable, but that they were never really shown how to do it with real world applications or with understanding. They were just taught algorithms and formulas and didn't see why they needed them.
The way math is taught now is very different, or at least it should be. I am a strong believer in making sure that things make sense so that they can be applied to other situations. What might seem straight forward or clear to one person might make no sense at all to another person.
Just think about the different ways math is used. It isn't just adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers. It is also measurement, geometry, coordinates, graphing, statistics, just to mention a few. Some people are really good at numbers and calculations, while others have great spatial awareness, and some can solve puzzles while others struggle to see the relationships between shapes and designs.
Math has it own language as well. This can be confusing for some people. Word problems are very hard for some people to figure out.
Over the years, i discovered that it is necessary to go back to the basics and make sure that the building blocks are in place before attempting more complex or abstract concepts. When I was working with intermediate students in small groups, I found that many of them didn't know their basic facts and they struggled with addition and subtraction strategies. This made multiplication and division almost impossible for them to do well. I took them back to the basics and in time they were doing much of the work covered in class with some proficiency. They still needed extra support, but it was starting to make sense to them. They even started to enjoy math instead of dreading it.
You can find out more about ways to help kids improve in this blog post.
Practicing math skills during the summer will go a long way in helping to maintain skills for the new year. There are plenty of fun and engaging activities you can plan for kids during the summer that incorporate math and keep them learning. Here are some ideas:
Math themed scavenger hunt
Create a scavenger hunt where kids have to solve math problems or puzzles to find hidden objects or clues. You can design it around a specific math concept, like geometry or fractions, and hide clues or objects that reinforce those concepts.
Cooking and baking
Involve kids in cooking and baking activities that require them to use measurements, conversions, and fractions. Encourage them to follow recipes, measure ingredients, and calculate serving sizes. They can also explore the concept of ratios by experimenting with different ingredient proportions.
Outdoor measurement exploration
Take advantage of the outdoors to explore measurement concepts. Have kids measure the height of trees, the length of their shadows at different times of the day, or the circumference of various objects using a measuring tape or ruler. They can record their findings and compare measurements.
Math board games
Introduce kids to math-focused board games or card games that involve strategic thinking and problem-solving. Games like Monopoly, Set, or Sudoku can help improve their math skills while having fun.
Math art projects
Combine math and art by engaging kids in geometric art projects. They can create symmetrical designs, tessellations, or use grids to draw patterns. This allows them to explore concepts like symmetry, shapes, and angles while expressing their creativity.
Math related crafts
Encourage kids to engage in crafts that involve math concepts. For example, they can create paper origami shapes, construct 3D models using geometric shapes, or design and build structures using various materials. These activities promote spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills.
Math apps and online games
Utilize educational math apps and online games that provide interactive learning experiences. There are numerous apps and websites available that offer math games, puzzles, and quizzes suitable for different age groups.
Have kids maintain a math journal where they can record and explore math concepts they encounter in their daily lives. They can write about real-life applications of math, solve problems, or illustrate concepts. This encourages reflection and critical thinking.
By integrating math into summer activities, you can help children strengthen their math skills while having a great time.
Sometimes it can be challenging to find activities that engage kids as the school year ends or during the summer. Puzzles are fun to do and they help keep kids active and learning at the same time whether they are at school or at home. They can also be done at many different times of the year.
Puzzles can be great for challenging our brains
Puzzles can be fun to solve and they challenge our brains to think. They are a great way to make connections between what we know and what we want to learn or discover. They can be big or small, intricate or simple, for groups or for individuals.They can be done indoors or outdoors depending on the type of puzzle used.
Types of puzzles
There are many different types of puzzles available. Some require following clues, other require manipulating pieces. Some can be done wherever you are, and some require moving around or going to other locations. The type of puzzle you choose will depend on who is going to be solving it, what the purpose of the puzzle is, and how much time is available for it. If you are going to other locations, method of travel may also need to be factored in.
Here are some examples of different types of puzzle:
• puzzle hunt with encrypted codes
• following a timeline or identifying key objects or events
• scavenger clues hunt
• team puzzle hunt (In class or with other classes)
• unpublished geocache
Puzzle hunt with encrypted codes
This can be done in many ways. One of the simplest is to find different signs in an area and find the hidden word on each sign to lead you to the answer.
I recently did one of these with a group of students. It was done with smartphones, but it doesn't have to be that sophisticated. Pen and paper can work just as well. We moved around a park that had rocks with quotes on them. We needed to figure out the codes by counting lines and letters on each rock. The kids were broken up into groups of 4 and they were given a time limit to complete the challenge.
Solving math equations or answering questions to find the codes could be added for a more difficult form of puzzle hunt.
Following a timeline or identifying key objects or events (like in a local museum)
Following a timeline or identifying key objects or events (like in a local museum)
This could be as simple as going through an exhibit and putting events in the correct order, or answering questions about different objects located there. Questions or clues could be prepared ahead of time, and on a field trip to the museum they could be used as a tool for gathering information to be discussed as a follow up to the trip.
Create a scavenger clue hunt
Create a scavenger hunt for home or for the classroom that requires finding different clues for the final reward. Here is a sample from one that my granddaughter and I made for her younger brother and sister.
I have created a free template for you so you can make up your own scavenger hunt.
Team puzzle hunt
The class can be divided into groups of 4 and create riddles or clues for objects in the room and then have other groups hunt for the object. This could also be expanded to objects in the school as a whole and other classes could be invited to participate in solving the puzzles.
Using coordinates in the school vicinity, or a neighboring park or forested area, plan a geocaching adventure for your students. You can either hide more than one geocache and give different coordinates to each group of students, or you could create a multi-cache where they must find information to move on to the next location until they arrive at the final cache. If you make it an unpublished geocache, you can remove it afterwards and you won't need to ensure that it is far enough from other published geocaches.
Puzzles can be lots of fun, but they are also great ways to get outdoors and use critical thinking skills.
During summer break, how can we ensure that kids have fun, but still keep practicing their skills so they don't become victims of the summer slide? They are ready to play and forget about school for awhile, but it is still important to maintain learning.
What is the summer slide?
Summer slide is a real thing and it can create a wide range of learning challenges at the beginning of the year if it isn't addressed. Summer slide is the drop in academic levels after a couple of months of inactivity with skills and concepts studied during the year. It can mean more intensive review and relearning may be needed when school resumes if it is allowed to happen.
Many families don't think much about maintaining learning activities during the summer. This is not a criticism, but rather an observation. Kids are done with school by the end of the year and they are not eager to continue doing academic work during the summer holidays. Families use the time for vacations, if they are not working, or they are looking for ways to provide daycare for the kids. When they are together, they want to do things that are fun and they don't always see ways to combine the fun with academic practice.
Summer school with a twist
In our district, we have summer school for the first month of the summer break. This is not your typical summer school where kids just do academic work, but rather it is a mix of academics and other activities that make learning more fun and connected. It is broken down into 2 week sets and parents can sign kids up for one or two sets.
The variety of courses may combine science and art, reading and sports, writing and acting, math and science, STEM, or other combinations of academics and the arts or sports.
More ways to link fun and academics
Day camps are another way of getting outdoors, having fun, and hopefully applying some skills learned to practical situations. They may include field trips to different places, art activities, sports, or other games and activities. Tapping into these and reinforcing skills linked to the practical activities is also another way of continuing to use skills and concepts taught at school.
Many libraries have programs that happen in the summer. Perhaps kids could be signed up for these. Signing out books to read and participating in puppet shows, or other reading related activities is sure to help keep them engaged and reading throughout the summer.
Keeping a journal or diary of vacation adventures or weekly happenings is a great way to encourage writing and also helps with remembering all the things that were done throughout the summer. Sometimes kids will be amazed at how much they did when they look back at their journal. Creating a memory book with photos and drawings is another way of capturing moments for the future.
Create some games or ways of keeping track of the different activities so that they are fun to do, but they help kids to keep learning and practicing skills throughout the summer. Grab this sport themed game board to create a variety of different games that can help.
Teachers can provide materials and suggestions, but ultimately, the families have to buy into the idea that maintaining skills throughout the summer is important if the summer slide is to be avoided. Check out the related posts below for some specific ideas for the various subject areas.
School is ending for some places, but other places have another few weeks to go before summer break. This is a time when energy is waning and kids are getting restless and distracted. Here are some ideas for ending the year with fun while still learning.
We have been cooped up for months and we are itching to get outside. So are the kids. Take advantage of the weather and take learning outdoors. See my last post for ideas for math and social studies that you can do outdoors.
Outdoor activities don't all have to be linked to academics. This is a great time to get active with gym ideas, musical games, science experiments, and just having fun as well. It is also a great time to get kids used to the idea of doing things outside to expand and practice their learning during the summer.
The end of the year can also be a great time to get creative with projects. Science projects are a great choice because they can be done outdoors as well as indoors. Check out this one that my grandson's class did last year.
Board Games Creation
Creating board games for math or social learning situations can also be fun. These can be partner activities or team activities and once the games are created, you could have a games day where the different board games are played.
This free template can be used for creating different games or activities.
Create Memory Books Or Timelines
Create a timeline or a picture walk down memory lane. It is amazing to look back at everything that was done during the year, and creating a picture timeline will help with revisiting some of these special times and all the successes that were part of the year. This could also be done as a memory book or annual that could be taken home for looking back at throughout the years. An autograph or comments page could also be added so that each person could share some special thought or comment.
School Fun Day
School fun days are another popular event for year end. The senior students could create the different activities and run the events for the primary students in the morning, and then have their own events or challenges in the afternoon or on another day.
Beach days for the whole school or groups of classes are another popular choice for year end. Our school often did a school-wide beach day with many different activities and games. However, because it was the ocean, there was limited access to being in the water because of the large numbers of people to supervise.
In recent years, they went to the lake instead and had roped off areas so the kids could go into the water. There were lifeguards hired for the day to monitor the areas.
We are fortunate to live within walking distance from the ocean so I would take my class to the beach for a seashore adventure and a hot dog roast every year. This was a great time to do scavenger hunts, study in the tide pools, and just enjoy nature. It was a great culminating activity to our study of sea life. It was also fun to have a campfire on the beach and roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Many parents came along to join us, so it was a family event.
If you have access to the beach, I highly recommend trying this.
These are only a few suggestions to wrap up the year with fun and review. I hope they help to provide some inspiration as you come to the end of another school year.
Round Up Of Tips, Ideas, And Activities
During the summer, there are lots of opportunities to do activities that blend academics and fun. This helps kids to practice and maintain concepts and skills already covered and also gives them chances to see how these concepts matter in real life.
Here is a round up of different tips, ideas and activities that I have shared in the past that I feel are still relevant and worth revisiting.
Math is often thought of as lots of calculations, worksheets, equations and critical thinking activities, but in fact, math is used in almost every decision and action that we make on a daily basis. Math is everywhere around you. We use math for most activities without even realizing it. In my blog post Tips For School And Home:How To Help Primary Kids With Math, I suggested a few different activities for sorting and classifying, measurement, estimation, time, geometry, fractions, and basic operations.
In Math Real Life Activities For Children I talk about math in the kitchen, math in the workshop, shopping and math, and working with money. These are only a few ways that math can be connected to real life situations at home as well as at school.
Language Arts - Reading and writing are only a couple of the components of language arts. In my blog post Tips For School And Home: How To Help Kids With Language Arts, I share several different suggestions and activities for the various aspects of language arts.
It is important to note that language development starts at home and then is refined at school. There are many different ways to promote language development with reading, writing, and oral communication activities. I shared ideas and resources for phonics and vocabulary development, reading, writing, and oral communication in the above mentioned post.
If you are looking for more ideas that will help with reading and writing for students that struggle in these areas, check out the following posts:
Motivatiing Reluctant Readers
Tips For Helping Struggling Writers In The Classroom
Just take a look around you and think about the various things you see and the things you do and if you start to analyze them, you will be amazed at how they involve science. Science is involved in every aspect of our lives. At school, kids are introduced to some of the basics, and various experiments and investigations are done. At home, more of these types of activities can happen and deeper learning can be accomplished.
In my blog post, Tips For School And Home: How To Help Kids With Science, I break science down into different categories to help with providing a broad glimpse into the world of science. Hopefully, this will inspire kids to look further and continue to learn about the marvels around them.
You will find some tips and ideas for chemistry, biology and life sciences, earth science, and several different areas of physics.
Science Ideas For School And Home also gives some more ideas and possible activities that might be fun to try.
Social Studies is the study of people and their relationships to other people and the world. For young children, it starts with family and then spreads out to community, regions, provinces, states, or territories, and from there, to countries and the world.
It can be broken up into 5 different categories: geography, history, culture and society, civics and government, and economics. I wrote 2 posts last year because there was so much to cover.
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies talks about geography, history, and culture, heritage and traditions and gives some ideas and possible resources that might work.
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies Part 2 This blog post focuses on the rights and responsibilities of people and regional leaders, relationships between people and the environment, multicultural awareness and diversity, and the interactions of First Nations people and early settlers.
Social Studies Ideas And Activities For Outdoors also provides some tips and activities for learning more about the area where we live and the surrounding environment.
In my final instalment, Tips For Summer Support: How To Help Primary Kids, I focus on finding creative ways to do academic activities to make learning fun during the summer break.
Well there you have a selection of tips and activities for the various academic areas that can be used to help kids keep learning throughout the summer while they are enjoying their holiday break.
I hope that these tips and ideas have given you some inspiration for ways to keep the learning going while having fun during the summer break.
Summer Break Is Here
Most teachers are exhausted and need to take a break. Kids are also needing a break, however, it is important to remember to find a balance between taking a break from school and continuing to practice skills and concepts learned throughout the year.
Thinking about doing school work may seem daunting, but there are many ways to make academics fun during the summer.
Summer Learning Opportunities
Some places have some great summer camps and summer school activities available for kids. Not all of these options are available for all kids because of cost, but there may be some that are available in your area. The public library may also have activities and programs available for the kids.
Where I live, we are fortunate because there are many different summer school activities happening in our school district. These courses are available to any of our students for free, so it opens the door for all kids to participate. My daughter-in-law is doing a session on science and art and she plans on getting outdoors to do science activities in the nearby forest and at the beach as part of her activities. What a great way to take what has been learned into the real world. Many other sessions also involve academics and sports or other real life experiences.
Connecting academics and fun activities helps to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the summer. This really makes a difference when they return to school. I think we have all experienced something like the "summer slide" when we have not used a skill for a long time. I think this is especially true during the time we spent doing everything differently because of the pandemic.
Now that we are approaching a summer that is more in character with what we were used to, we need to reacquaint ourselves to the types of activities and experiences we used to take for granted.
The Importance Of Review After A Break
Let's be honest, not many of us remember the math and science concepts we learned in school unless we are using them now or we have been revisiting them for teaching. That doesn't mean we can't review them and do a refresh for our brains. Languages are the same. They become rusty if we don't use them for a long time. It's like we go into a "memory fog".
When I stopped teaching music in French, I didn't use my French for several years. It took some time for me to feel comfortable using it again. Once I got going, it did come back and I was able to go into my grandson's classroom and start volunteering there. I also tutored some middle school late immersion students. During the pandemic, I haven't been using it, so I feel that I will need to refresh again, but it will be much faster this time.
Kids also forget what they have learned if they don't revisit it often. It sometimes feels like they need to relearn almost everything when they return after a long break. That is why it is important to do some sort of review teaching as we begin a new term with them. Reviewing old skills and concepts before introducing new ones may sometimes feel like it takes too much time, but without it, many kids will be left behind because they won't truly be able to understand the new concepts. In the long term, that review that is done when they return will reap many benefits down the road.
Last year, I wrote a series of blog posts of tips for supporting primary kids during the summer. Next week I will be doing a roundup of different teaching tips and ideas for summer. In the meantime, check out my related posts at the end of this blog posts for some ideas.
If you are just wrapping up your school year, I hope you have a wonderful and refreshing summer break. If you are part way through your break already, I hope it has been relaxing or adventurous and that you have been able to recharge as you prepare for a new school year in a few weeks. Happy summer everyone!
Preparing For The End Of The Year
The end of the year is quickly approaching and there are many different emotions happening for teachers and students. Some people are looking forward to the school year being over and others are dreading it. Some are anxious because they have so much more to cover and so little time to do it. Others are trying to fill the days with activities that keep kids engaged as their attention wanes.
I remember being in the staffroom as the year was ending and there were countdowns on the board. One teacher used to have a roll of toilet paper with the number of teaching days on it. She would tear off a page each day.
I was one of the ones who wasn't counting the days because there were so many things I still wanted to accomplish before the year ended. It wasn't just curriculum, but other activities. I felt rushed when I saw the days counting down. As much as I was looking forward to a summer break, I didn't want the year to end because it meant saying goodbye to my students.
How Summer Activities Will Help Avoid Bigger Learning Gaps
It is a different situation this year because teachers are so burnt out dealing with the challenges of teaching during a pandemic. Not only have they been juggling the online/in person situation, they are dealing with the realities of all the academic challenges that have faced them this year.
I was fortunate enough to be able to finally go in and help some students last month. I saw some of the challenges first hand as teachers struggled to meet the wide range of academic and social needs of the kids. It was very evident that distance learning worked well for some and didn't work at all for others.
In order for the gap to close, it will be important for learning to continue throughout the summer break. The reality is that for some kids, this is not going to happen. The gap will be even greater in the fall when they return to school. This means that we will have to look at our teaching with a different lens. We can't just teach to the curriculum or the test. Too many students will be left behind if we do.
Last week I talked a bit about using differentiation and accommodations in the classroom to help students to move towards the levels needed and expected for their grade level. This week I would like to talk more about what kinds of things can be done to help kids continue learning throughout the summer.
I realize that some school districts are finishing up now and others have another few weeks to go, but in my mind, it is never too early to think about ways to extend learning.
How Summer Slide Can Be Avoided With Real Life Activities
I strongly believe that the best learning happens when it is connected to real world situations and daily life experiences. That is one of the reasons I tend to use projects for some of my assignments throughout the year.
I also think kids need to know why they are learning different skills and concepts. When they are given real life examples, they can see the purpose in what they are learning and it will make more sense to them.
Technology is like a two-edged sword. Although it is great for many things, it also has negative side effects when used too much, especially by kids. It can cause a lack of attention to things happening around them, and it can interrupt potential in-person social connections. Communication and partner activities can also be affected.
I think that the summer time is a great time to unplug and get outdoors. The weather is generally better and the days are longer. There are so many different activities that can be done outside. It is not necessary to take a vacation in order to have fun. There are lots of ways to enjoy learning and doing just where you are.
Tips For Summer Learning
Last year, I focused on the various subject areas and gave some suggestions and tips for how to continue learning during the summer. You can check them out for more ideas.
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Language Arts
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Math
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Science
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies Part 2
Tips For Summer Support: How To Help Primary Kids
I hope you will find some time for yourself as you prepare for the end of school and summer break. Hopefully, you will find some helpful tips here to make summer learning work for your students.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.