There’s no denying it, summer has begun! The school year is officially over, the kids have returned home and now have more free time than they’ve had in the past ten months. While this can be hectic, it’s essential that your children remain academically challenged and inspired throughout the summer. We’ve created a list of fun, exciting AND educational activities your child will be sure to enjoy over the next two months. Rain or shine, our list of activities will keep your kids active, teach them responsibility, and improve their math, science and reading skills.

1. Join a Children’s Book Club at Your Local Library

Most local libraries hold a children’s book club over the summer to encourage students to continue reading in July and August. Not only is a book club a great way to ensure your child is reading frequently throughout the summer, but it will help develop retention and communication skills, as well as confidence, if they are required to talk about the book at a weekly meeting. In addition, a book club will help them make new friends in their neighbourhood. If your child is nervous or hesitant about joining, perhaps suggest an online book club. EZ School provides a list of the best online book clubs for children.

2. Hold a Bake Sale or Create a Lemonade Stand & Donate the Proceeds to a Children’s Charity

There are three fantastic aspects to this activity. First, your child will learn to work with food if they make (or at least help make) what they are selling from scratch. Encourage them to find and follow a recipe on their own, whether it be for cookies or lemonade, make sure they are squeezing those lemons! Second, make them the cashiers! This will help develop math skills and show them how math is used in everyday life. At the end of the day, you could even have them balance the till. Finally, by donating the proceeds of their sale to a children’s or local charity, this will teach them about social responsibility, generosity and the importance of taking care of those less fortunate in society. Here is a fresh, simple, and delicious lemonade recipe to get you started:

3. Get in Touch with Nature & Become a Web Ranger

Getting outside in any shape or form is great. However, this summer, do something a little different with your child and take them to one of the major parks in your area for a day hike. If taking in the beautiful scenery isn’t enough, you could turn it into a fun outdoor scavenger hunt. And if you need a little incentive before embarking on your outdoor adventure, have your child become a certified web ranger! The U.S. National Parks Service has an excellent website for kids that allows them to become a certified Web Ranger. Create a ranger station, solve mysteries, play games related to history, science, animals, nature, and parks, and even earn badges!

4. Plant a Veggie Garden in the Backyard

This activity benefits both you and your child. Not only will you have a beautiful garden (and some veggies for dinner), but it will teach your children a bit about science, sustainability and responsibility. Have your child go with you to the market and pick out the plants they wish to grow. Next, make them responsible for checking on the plants on a daily basis and watering them when necessary. By teaching them how plants grow and what is required to keep them alive, your child will learn some basic biology. In addition, you could take this opportunity to teach them about the importance of environmental sustainability, and how growing your own food organically helps eliminate pollution. Food Matters has a great article on the Top 10 Reasons to Grow Your Own Organic Food.

5. Hold a Weekly Cooking Class in Your Kitchen

Instead of slaving away in the kitchen alone all day, have your kids help you prepare the meals. Cooking is an essential skill so it’s never too early to get started! Make cooking fun with colourful aprons and this DIY chef's hat craft. Mix it up each week by having them cook you a different meal. Or better yet, after you’ve held a few sessions, have them be responsible for cooking dinner one night. You may be surprised by what they come up with! Below we have a list of the best websites featuring kid-friendly recipes:

6. Turn Your Living Room Into a Science Laboratory

There are a multitude of DIY science experiments that are easy to make and require ingredients that you likely already have lying around the house. Combine water, oil, food colouring, and alka seltzer in a bottle and you’ve created a lava lamp! Vinegar and baking soda? You’ve got yourself an active volcano. There is something for everyone, whether your child is more interested in chemistry, biology, or physics. Our personal favourites? The Balloon Rocket from Sciencebob and the Jellyfish Bottle from Kidspot.