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Low-Cost Summer Break Learning Activities

Janelle Cox

As you know, keeping students learning through the summer break is essential for their academic development. However, as teachers, we have no control over if our students continue learning through the summer break or not. What we can do is help parents and families learn how they can keep their children busy during the summer by sharing a few fun, low-cost summer learning activities with them. Summer learning doesn’t have to put a hole in your pocket. Many families want to keep their children learning, but they also don’t want to spend all of their hard-earned money on summer programs that are costly. Here are a few low-cost summer break learning activities to share with our students’ parents before they go home for the break.

Vacation Bible School Over Summer Break

Vacation Bible School isn’t just for church members that attend weekly mass. Most churches offer a free week of Bible school camp during the summertime to the whole public. My children would attend a free camp for one week during the summer, and we didn’t even belong to the church. Usually they have a kid-friendly theme, and each day there are activities that correlate with that theme. For example, the theme can be “School or Rock,” and each day children construct a craft, make and eat a treat, and learn about a God-related fact that has to do with rock music. Or, the theme can be “Sports,” and everything they do that week would be related to sports. It’s a fun, free way for children to keep their learning going, while meeting new friends at the same time.

Recreational Activities at the Parks Department

The local parks department usually offers free or low-cost summer learning activities during the summer months. Some local cities offer free arts and crafts, or games, while others offer low-cost babysitting where children can play sports and go on local field trips for a small fee. It’s wise for parents to take advantage of these offers, because it’s a great to keep children learning during the summer and not be bored.

Local Community Activities

If parents are lucky enough to be home for the summer months with their children, they can check out their local community listings for summer activities. Fire stations and police stations may offer a free walk-through of their facility, the local swimming pool may offer free admission day, or the local library may offer a variety of free activities for children to partake in. Tell parents to take advantage of these free offers to keep the learning going.

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Pick Your Own Fruit Farm

One of the best things that parents can do during the summer months with their children is to find a farm where you can pick your own fruit. This a great way for parents to get outdoors and bond with their children, while teaching them how fruit grows and all the work that goes into it. This activity is great because it’s cost-effective for families. You only pay for what you pick, and most farms let you have a free treat.

Volunteering to Help Others

There is nothing better than the feeling you get when you help someone in need. There are so many volunteer opportunities in the community that can teach children and help change their perspective on life. Children can volunteer to help out an elderly neighbor, babysit a neighbor or relative, mow others’ lawns, or dogsit. They can go to the local food bank and serve food to the homeless, help out the local SPCA or zoo, or even learn how to build a house with Habitat for Humanity. If they like to be outside, then they can volunteer to be a playground attendant or work at the parks department and help the community pick up trash.

Free Summer Learning Ideas

Here are a few more summer learning activities to share with parents that are cost effective.

  • Host a garage sale and teach children the value of a dollar.
  • Plant a garden and watch it grow (get the seeds from the fruit that you eat).
  • Watch a cooking show and try and recreate what you see.
  • Go to a museum when they have a reduced rate.
  • Take a hike or go for a nature walk and point out all the creatures and plants.

Keeping the learning going through the summer months will help your students thrive, not only during the summer, but all year long. Make sure you share the activities mentioned above with your students’ parents to ensure that your students are learning all summer long.

What are your favorite low-cost summer learning activities to do with children during the summer break? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you tell your students.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com