A break from the routine of textbooks and school doesn't mean that summer isn't a time for learning. In fact, many unique opportunities for outdoor learning abound in summer. Here are a few fun ideas to keep young and old minds sharp and thinking through the lazy days of summer.

  • Visit the local library once a week during the summer. Participate in the summer reading programs available.
  • Take day trips to historical places of interest near your home. Bring home postcards, photographs and brochures of the site. Discuss the information you learned and make a scrapbook page together.
  • Nature walks and visits to the country or parks provide opportunities for studying wild birds, wild animals, and butterfly and moth species. Take field guidebooks of the insects, trees, wild flowers or wild animals you'd like to learn more about. Take your time, enjoy the walk and look up the names of butterflies, etc. that you spot along the way.
  • Read a chapter out of an exciting book aloud as a family each evening.
  • Give your child his or her own flowerbed or a large container to plant and care for through the summer. Help him or her select plant species that butterflies and moths will be attracted to, to add to the experience.
  • Hang a hummingbird feeder on your porch and take time to observe the hummingbirds daily with your children.
  • Build a bat house or birdhouse with your child and discuss the importance wild birds play in keeping down the insect population.
  • Make art and crafts projects once a week. Some cities host children's art fairs in the summer for children to sell the things they've made.
  • Summer is a great time to introduce a new pet into the family.
  • Construct a small water garden in your yard. You and your children will learn about aquatic plants, fish and most likely tadpoles and frogs in the process.
  • Take time to do something nice for others. Visit the elderly in a nursing home. Play a musical instrument for them or read aloud to a neighbor or nursing home resident that can't see well. Bake muffins or banana bread and take to someone that lives alone. Learning to care and do for others is a great lesson for us all to master.

Deborah Tukua has written for many homeschool and country-living publications, and is the author of the popular “Pearls of Wisdom…” books. Learn more at her website, www.HollyCreekBooks.com.

Copyright 2006 by Deborah Tukua.

Deborah Tukua has written for many homeschool and country-living publications, and is the author of the popular “Pearls of Wisdom…” books.

Copyright 2006 by Deborah Tukua.