Keeping a Child's Mind Active During the Summer

Keeping a Child's Mind Active During the Summer
Children enjoy being creative which in turn helps facilitate the learning process.

After a long school year, kids are ready to enjoy their summer vacation. Here are some strategies for keeping a child's mind active over the summer break:

Facilitate Creativity

Make learning fun by encouraging a child to create a song, movie, drawing, or a book. Allow a child to have the opportunity to put his/her creation on display with family members upon completion. Children benefit from these activities because they are able to invoke planning skills, visualization and imagination, and also utilize technology at higher levels (especially for music or video production).


Alternatively, children who enjoy cooking can partake in making one of their favorite dishes. Activities of this nature, which also include different science experiments, involve reading and following a set of directions to the completion of a task.   Not only are these types of activities during the summer useful for enhancing reading skills (e.g. reading and following a set of directions, reading measurements accurately, etc.), but they also help improve a child’s fine motor skills (e.g.pouring and mixing ingredients together). This one-on-one time is a great way to strengthen the parent-child bond.     

Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are some great websites for educational games that can keep a child's mind stimulated and learning, without it being a painstaking process.  

For younger children:

For older children:

Encourage children to watch educational programming that relates to topics in different subject matter that are learned at school, including:

  • Discovery Channel (programs pertaining to science, technology, and history).
  • Nat Geo Wild (a.k.a. “The National Geographic Channel” – programs pertaining to anything animal-related).
  • Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) – (educational topics from all genres for children and adults alike).
  • The Weather Channel.

Set Daily Structure for a Reading Hour

Traditionally, reading tends to be less of a priority for children during the summer months, which results in a negative impact on their reading skills. One strategy to get children back into the habit of daily reading is to take a trip to the library with them. Allow a child to choose a paperback book that interests him/her. If your child doesn’t enjoy reading and has trouble making a selection, getting a subscription to Scholastic Reader or National Geographic Explorer are great educational options. With electronic readers on the rise, it may be easier to download different books, especially if the library is far away from the child’s home.

Have options available for reading times.

 I would recommend providing a child with two options.

  1. During the hottest time of the day, typically between 2 and 5 pm, or
  2. First thing in the morning as a "mind-stimulator."  

Provide a Healthy Environment for Your Child

Keeping a child’s mind active and learning during the summer also requires getting plenty of sleep daily, consuming healthy snacks, and performing daily physical activity.

Author Byline: Dr. Douglas Haddad is an author, nutritionist, and middle school teacher in Connecticut who is a regular contributing writer to Parenting Special Needs magazine in the “Ask the Professional: Dr. Doug” section. For more information on empowering your kids and assisting in their maturation, decision-making, overall development and well-being, visit Dr. Doug’s official website.

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