Indoor and Outdoor Summer Games to Keep the Learning Going

(This is a guest blog post by Corinne Jacob, just in time for the summer vacation.)


Photo by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When your kids are being homeschooled, there’s no pressure to follow a yearly schedule. This also means that there’s no scheduled summer vacation. With no ‘summer slide’ and the freedom to take vacations whenever they please, many homeschooling families favor year-long learning. However, it may sometimes feel unfair that your kids have to sit down with their books when all the other kids in the neighborhood are soaking up the sun. You can strike a balance between the two options by dedicating a portion of the summer months to playing fun games that will keep the learning going.

Here are five indoor and outdoor summer learning games for kids.


  1. Nature scavenger hunt

Prepare for this game by making a list of things your kids must find during the scavenger hunt. Keep in mind the kids’ ages, their interests and the kind of flora and fauna found in your neighbourhood. You can either have all of the kids work together on a single list, or create customized lists for each child. You can create the lists around a single theme, such as ‘creepy crawlies’, ‘leaves’, ‘birds’, ‘flowers’, etc. Then gather the brood, hand them their lists and take them for a walk around the neighbourhood to find their items.

  1. Sidewalk chalk reading game

Using sidewalk chalk, write five consonants one below the other on the sidewalk. Next to it, write the five vowels. Make a third column with five more consonants. You should have the letters in a 5×3 rectangle. Have your children make three letter words by hopping on one letter from the first column, one from the second column and one from the third column. See who can find the most words. 

  1. Water balloon math game

Fill about fifteen water balloons per child and write simple math problems on them suited to their skill levels. Make sure that all of the problems have the same seven answers. Draw seven big circles in different places on the sidewalk. Inside each circle, write one answer. Keep each kid’s set of water balloons in separate piles. Draw a line on the sidewalk to mark where the kids must stand when throwing their balloons. Have the kids line up behind the line and as each child approaches the line, hand then a water balloon from their pile. Have the child call out the problem and the answer and throw the water balloon into the correct circle. Then have the child go to the back of the line.

  1. Fun science activities

You can make a bottle burp, create lightning in your mouth and send secret messages with invisible ink. You can’t call them ‘games’, but you can be sure your kids will enjoy them just as much as running around outdoors. There are plenty of fun ideas for science activities available online, complete with the explanation behind the fun phenomena you observe. Take a few minutes to search for activities that will get your kids excited, and then have a blast (sometimes literally!) with the kids.

  1. Jenga grammar game

Paint the ends of your Jenga blocks one of four colors. (Paint both ends of the same block in the same color). When you’re playing the game, assign each color to a category. For example, one color stands for nouns, one for adjectives, one for verbs and one for adverbs. As each player pulls out a block, (s)he must call out a word that fits in the category before placing it on the top of the tower. Words cannot be repeated in the course of a game.

You’d be surprised how many summer games can be turned into learning games with just a little creative tweaking. Do you have any other fun learning ideas for the summer?

Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.

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