This season wraps up another academic year for students. And if you haven’t enrolled your child in a summer program, your child’s 2013 mid-year break may become one of the laziest. But it doesn’t have to be.

Below are six educational and enriching ideas that your children can use to turn a lazy summer into a productive one.

Use Khan Academy

With the power of the Internet, your child can learn like a scholar without dressing up for class. Khan Academy ( is an online tool that allows students to learn K-12 mathematics at their own pace. Learning is facilitated via videos and interactive challenges. The comprehensive site allows students to test their skills by asking math-related questions and completing assessments. The website, which is used worldwide, is free to use.

Categorize items

As long as you have “stuff” in your home, your child can use their higher-level thinking skills in order to place objects in specific categories. For example, your child can categorize that bag of Christmas bulbs in the basement by color or size. Be cognizant of your child’s skill level. While grade-school children may categorize by alphabet and genre, high school kids may be more challenged to determine their own categories for items they receive. There are many items in your environment to help your child practice this skill throughout the summer.

Use EnglishMaven

EnglishMaven ( is a language arts website that presents users with free grammar and spelling exercises categorized by subject. Children can learn and understand by taking tests. Subjects include verb tenses, punctuation, and homonyms. English Maven can be used by grade-school students and adult learners alike.

Create an art exhibit

Have your child choose a subject to commemorate this summer using a camera. Your child, for instance, may choose to photograph only teddy bears or school buildings. Whatever the subject, encourage your child to capture it from various angles, at different times of day, and in different settings. Next, have your child develop the film and frame the photos. Then have them write an explanation of each photo on a small note card. Once complete, turn your living room into a small art gallery. Hang the pictures on the walls; set out apple juice, cheese, and crackers and invite family members for a special showing.

Plan a party

If you’re planning a family reunion or birthday bash, allow your child to plan the festivities. Planning a major event involves many academic and social skills. Your child will need to use math skills to budget for the party, as well as communication and technology skills to inform people of the event. Your child will learn leadership skills by delegating duties, such as decorating or cooking. Allow your child to strengthen his abilities through planning and enjoy the good time afterward.


Read to others


Help your older child boost his literacy skills while increasing the literacy skills of others this summer. Allow him to read to a group of young children. Make sure to discuss with your child ways to animate his voice and face in order to make the story interesting.

Then, teach your child to complement his storytelling by completing a related activity with the audience. Your child can, for example, have listeners draw a picture or act out a scene from the story.

This summer, remember to enhance the skills your children have already learned.