Creative learning activities for summer school

Kendall Vick is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with six years experience as an elementary classroom teacher.

Keep the creativity flowing this summer with new learning activities! When the weather’s warm, it’s more important than ever to make learning engaging to help kids stay on track. If you’re teaching summer school, these out-of-the-box projects can help your students combat learning loss. 

Several of the activities below are matched with IXL skills that you can use to support projects across every grade level. Using IXL skills alongside creative work helps students reinforce their learning! Read on for fun ideas to continue learning all summer long. 

Reading activities

Research shows that summer vacation often has a significant negative effect on student learning, a trend better known as the “summer slide.” When it comes to learning loss, reading skills are a core concern. 

Thankfully, countless resources are available to help promote a love of literacy over the summer months, both in and out of the classroom. Try checking out your local library for free summer reading programs. Many programs have activities and incentives for all ages! Sharing program information with parents is a great way to increase their involvement and encourage students to get a public library card. 

You can also set aside daily time—at least 15 minutes a day—for independent reading. Pair reading periods with IXL’s reading comprehension skills for even more learning! Here are several ideas that can spark your students’ love for reading this summer: 

  • Summer Read-In
    Host a read-in with books, pizza, and pajamas. Make the whole classroom a comfortable, quiet reading space, and encourage students to hold themselves accountable by setting their own reading goals for the day. 
  • Guest Readers
    Let the class choose a book for the day, and invite parents or community members to be guest readers. 
  • Local Author Visits
    Attend an author visit with the whole class! Keep an eye on your local library’s calendar, or stay up-to-date with events at local bookstores. 
  • Book Talks
    Have students host their own
    book talk. Let students choose their own book, or use it as an opportunity to assign one they haven’t read yet! Then, students can strengthen their critical thinking and presentation skills to build a case for their book. 
  • Book Commercials
    Have students create video book commercials, individually or in groups! It’s a creative way to help students dive into the material.  

Multi-step projects 

Make learning fun with a multistep project! After presenting your lesson, assign students a project that allows them to think critically and freely explore every aspect of the skill. Multistep projects encourage students to tap into a multitude of skills, including art and problem solving. 

If your class has the time to complete multiple projects, consider having students compile a portfolio of their work so they can showcase and celebrate their efforts at home. Here are several learning activities that you can easily pair with IXL skills: 

  • Dream Vacation
    In this cross-curricular approach, have students plan their dream vacation. They’ll need to use their math skills to calculate costs, bolster their social studies know-how with research on their destination, and flex their writing skills to put together a presentation and trip itinerary. Pair with Money and Consumer Math, Geography, and Writing Strategies skills.
  • Scientific Solutions
    Have students find a solution to a real-world problem, like sea turtle endangerment, and encourage them to use their science, math, and art skills to build a solution. Pair with Science and Engineering Practices and Literacy in Science skills.
  • Persuade a Pet Owner
    Give students writing opportunities with real-world impact. In this example, students crafted persuasive essays to sway pet adoptions! Pair with Writing Strategies skills.

Movement-based activities

It’s no secret that regular physical activity helps students stay focused and retain more of what they’ve learned. Pairing movement-based activities with your daily lessons can give your students a serious leg up this summer! Whether you’re learning indoors or soaking up the sun outside, here’s several activities you can try with the whole class: 

Check out IXL’s Summer Resources page for even more summer school activities! Many community organizations also offer opportunities to get outside and actively engage with material. If field trips aren’t an option, consider taking students on a virtual trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium or a planetarium! Set up stations around the classroom or school that mimic museum exhibits, including displays on art, history, and culture.