Homeschooling doesn’t have to be boring or stressful, especially during the summer. Instead, it’s a great time to slow down and lean into your kids’ interests while enjoying the weather.
Use the summer break to explore new topics, dabble in a few crafts, and complete those science experiments that were pushed to the back burner (you know the ones I’m talking about!)
Need some inspiration? Here are 16 fun summer homeschool ideas that will keep you on track with learning while also giving you room for family time:
Start a garden
Do you have a nice sunny space for a garden? Or perhaps there’s a community garden nearby? Either way, summertime is an excellent excuse to start a garden.
If you’re new to gardening, check out a book from the library to help get you started. I really like Square Foot Gardening to get the most out of our space.
You can also create a container garden if you don’t have room for garden beds or a community garden in your neighborhood.
Teach your kids to cook
Now that you have veggies growing, you might as well get around to teaching your kids to cook them.
Cooking with your kids can help them develop important skills such as reading recipes (and measuring), following steps, prepping food, cooking on a stove or grill – all while making something delicious!
Your kids can make a recipe book of their favorite meals for both easy references and for when they get older and leave the nest. Ugh, I’m crying.
Besides family recipes, some great cooking ideas include:
- World culture night – you and your kids can research and find recipes of traditional foods from a country and have a celebration. Listen to music from that country, eat some of the traditional foods you’ve made, and find out about their culture. We love combining this activity with a corresponding letter from Letters From Afar.
- Pretend you’re on a cooking show like Iron Chef, Master Chef, or The Great British Bake Off – One person is the “judge” while the others have to prep a dish from ingredients they don’t know.
Break out those science experiments
If you’re like me, those science kits have been collecting dust on the shelves all year long. Summer is a great time to dust them off and have some fun. Some of our favorite science kits include:
Better yet, create your own messy science experiments to do with the kids this summer.
- Make slime with Elmer’s glue, water, and borax.
- Show your kids the science behind bubbles by blowing some of their own. Tip – use both dish detergent and glycerin for smoother bubbles that last longer!
- Test which type of liquid is the best for watering plants.
- Use household ingredients to determine what makes ice melt fastest.
- Make a bouncy ball with borax, cornstarch, glue, and water.
- Create your own lava lamp by adding food coloring to oil.
- Grow crystals in your kitchen using salt or sugar. Experiment with different cooling temperatures to compare crystal size – refrigerator, room temperature, sunny window.
Map your neighborhood
Does your child love geography? Why not map out your neighborhood? You’ll teach your child mapping skills and get some exercise in. Win, win if you ask me!
Before you start, I recommend reading Follow That Map! and Me on the Map to your kids as an introduction to the activity. Then, grab a clipboard, paper, & pencil and start walking!
Take turns marking the streets and landmarks on your paper as you go. When you get home, use your notes to create an illustrated map with pictures of everything you found along the way.
Your child might even want to make a trail map of your walk, using landmarks in the order you found them.
Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt
Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Download my Nature Scavenger Hunt list, or create your own tailored for your local environment. Then in your neighborhood or on a trail – see how many different things you can find from the list and check them off as you go along.
This is a fun way to explore your local environment, get some exercise and spend time together. And while you’re out there discovering new things and exploring the world around you, why not make it educational? You can tally how many you find of each item on your scavenger hunt list to make it more challenging and to practice counting skills, and you can look for bugs or identify different plant species in your area.
Some of our favorite apps to use include Seek and Picture This.
Check out your local library
Libraries are a homeschooler’s best friend, and if you’re like me your librarian probably knows you and your kids by name. However, during the summer months, our library gets quite crowded, and we often avoid going to storytime and scheduled book events.
A great summer homeschool idea is to start visiting your local library during off-peak hours. Head in just as it opens or visit an hour before it closes and you’ll have an opportunity to check out books that might otherwise be unavailable when everyone else comes in!
Enjoy exploring some of our favorite summertime topics:
- local wildlife
- anything your kid loves
If scheduling your summer days around library off-peak hours isn’t your thing, thankfully most libraries have an online system where you can request books for pickup.
And don’t forget to check if your library has summer reading programs for kids. If so make sure you sign them up and start earning rewards!
Create some art
Summer is a great time to relax and get creative. Here are some of our favorite summer arts and crafts ideas for kids that will keep their creativity going strong.
- Make a suncatcher
- Create macrame wall hangings or planter holders
- Learn how to draw from Masterpiece Society, Chalk Pastel, and Art Hub for Kids (free on YouTube!)
- Get to know artists with Art History Kids
- Find a summer art camp in your town
Visit a local museum or art gallery
While we’re on the topic of art, find a local art museum or gallery to check out what other artists are doing and get inspired. Find out if your town has a monthly art night where you can actually tour an artist’s working studio. Ask them questions as they love to share their knowledge.
Also, many art and science museums offer summer programming for kids of all ages. Don’t forget to check if they have free days during the summer, and if your family has a museum membership, take advantage!
Research your town
Does your town have a historical society or museum? Perhaps someone wrote a book about your town’s history? If so, check out the book and visit the museum to learn more about your town.
Once you’re done researching, you and your kids can drive around and visit all the historical sites. Exploring your town is a great way to learn about the history of where you live. The kids will have fun and it can be an awesome summer homeschooling activity!
A really cool project would be to have your kids create an historical fiction based on what they learned.
Take a mini road trip
Pack a lunch, grab a map & a camera, and hit the road!
If you subscribe to me on YouTube or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I love a good adventure. Most Fridays we take a mini road trip (< 2 hours drive) to a museum or a hiking trail.
Not only is it fun to explore and learn about neighboring towns and counties, but your kids can also learn important mapping skills. We can’t always rely on GPS to get us where we want to go, and there’s something appealing about unfolding a paper map to find where you’re at and where you want to go.
Visit a local zoo
Do you have a budding zoologist or veterinarian on your hands? What better place to explore your child’s passion than at the zoo. Animals are always so interesting and can teach us a lot about the world we live in. Check with your local zoo for educational events and summer camp options. Don’t forget that members often get a sweet discount.
Another great option for summer homeschoolers, especially those who love animals, is to watch documentaries on TV. Netflix, Disney+, and Curiosity Stream have excellent choices, or your kids could watch Brave Wilderness on YouTube for free!
Take a hike
Have you checked out the All Trails app? You can find lots of local hiking trails based on difficulty level and more. Once you find a trail you like, buy a local field guide to learn about plants and animals on your hike. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for birding (see the next idea on the list) and a compass for orienteering.
As always, pack water, a snack, and a first aid kit for emergencies. Pack out what you pack in, and respect nature so we can all continue to enjoy it.
If you haven’t started birding yet, you’re missing out on a lot. It’s easy, fun and usually better than TV! You can get started with just an inexpensive pair of binoculars, a field guide to birds in your area (we love Mac’s Field Guides), and some time outdoors.
We like to go birding in our backyard, at the beach, and on local trails. Our favorite apps to use when we go include eBird for bird counts and Merlin Bird for identifying species.
Break out your camping gear
Set up a tent in your own backyard or reserve a campsite at a local State or National Park. Not only can you teach your kids basic survival skills, but you can also learn about the fauna and flora of the area and observe the night sky to identify constellations.
Some resources that we love:
Buy postcards on all of your adventures
We always pick up postcards on our mini road trips, even if we only visited the next town over. In my opinion, postcards are the ultimate souvenir. They’re cheap, your kids can practice their penmanship and wordsmithing, and it’s fun to send and receive snail mail.
So don’t forget to pick up some postcards when you’re out and about!
Document everything you do
If you don’t document it, did it really happen?
Depending on the state you live in, you may need to keep a portfolio of your kids’ work or maybe you want your kids to document your homeschool activities to share with those skeptical family members and friends.
Ideas to document your summer homeschool adventures:
- Photo album (we love Chatbooks)
- YouTube videos
- Instagram or TikTok (are you even a homeschooler if you’re not on social media?)
Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, the summer is an excellent time to get creative when it comes to education. I really enjoyed compiling this list of 16 fun and engaging summer activities that will keep everyone entertained while they learn something new.
What’s your favorite activity from the list?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.