Avoid the Summer Bummer: Spicing Up Your Child’s Summer with Educational Games


July 3, 2018

By: Elizabeth Drewelow, M. Ed.

As I was driving home from work the other day, I tuned into a local radio station.  The show host just happened to be talking about her kids’ experience at home for the summer.  Exasperated, yet with a joking tone, she said, “Well, my kids have less than two months now until they go back to school!”  Didn’t the school year just end?  Is the count down already on? I’m sure for some parents, finding quality activities to do with their children on these long summer days can be daunting.  Don’t fret, we’re here to help!


Reading games can be fun and easy to create.  One such game is a life-sized board game.  Taking colored sheets of card stock or laminated paper, make a winding trail through an open area in your home, or even on your driveway.  By rolling dice, the child will determine how many spaces to move.  Upon each turn he or she will read off a few sight words from his or her list.  This can be an exciting, yet simple, way of incorporating movement with learning.  A life-sized board game can be used for a variety of skills, such as vocabulary, spelling, and even asking comprehension questions.


A math game that students often enjoy is Math Ball!  It’s as simple as it sounds…all you need is a ball!  This game is most fun when played with several players.  Sit or stand in a circle.  Then determine what type of counting you want to do.  As a group, you can count by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s.  If your student is working on multiples in a certain fact family, utilize this game to help your child memorize the multiples.  For example, if you are counting by multiples of 3, the game would begin when one player starts by saying “1” and throwing the ball to someone else in the circle.  Then, the next player will continue to count by saying “2,” and so on.  However, when a player gets to a multiple of 3, he or she must say “beep” or “buzz” to signify that they are aware that it is a multiple of 3.  If he or she misses that, then the game needs to start over!  This is a great way to help children picture number families in their mind.


Cloud watching is definitely a summer favorite.  Use this lazy afternoon pastime as an opportunity to get your child’s creative juices floating.  Take time to identify various shapes in the clouds and begin to build a story.  For example, if you spot a carrot or a pirate ship riding high in the sky, formulate a creative writing prompt such as, “There once was a pirate ship, filled to the brim with golden carrots, sailing across the deep blue sea.  As they neared the shore, suddenly….”  Kids will find these wacky writing prompts fun and engaging.

Social Skills

It doesn’t take too much effort to make any game or activity a teachable moment for social skills.  The summer is the perfect time for children to try new things, such as cooking or kitchen experiments.  It’s also a wonderful time to break out those board games that have been sitting in the closet since winter break.  Experiments, recipes, and board games offer excellent opportunities for teaching direction following, turn taking, and conflict resolution.  It is also a great opportunity to teach the importance of consequences.  Not every recipe or experiment turns out, and even though it may be unexpected, it is something that has to be accepted.

Midsummer doesn’t have to be a bummer!  Get past those dog days with a few educational and engaging activities.  These activities will be sure to add a splash of inspiration to your summer break!

Elizabeth Drewelow is a learning specialist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.  ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area.  We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offering a unique group Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP).  At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

2570 106th Street, Suite E

Urbandale, IA 50322


1210 Jordan Street, Suite 2

North Liberty, IA 52317


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