Summer Resources for Kids: A List for Parents from Parents

Lindsay Atkinson

Small Business,
Millennial Moms

Every email from my children's school principal includes the closing line "read and do your math facts." I was unsure of the exact wording so I asked and my daughter to confirm and she recited this phrase, without hesitation, as she's heard this for years during morning announcements, assemblies and classroom visits. Why does he repeat so frequently? For many kids, the "summer slump" has lasting impacts. Summer slump (or slide) refers to students losing significant knowledge in reading and math over the summer break, which tends to have a snowball effect each year.

If families and educators encourage kids to stay engaged in learning throughout the summer, students may not only maintain but improve their knowledge. The summer of 2020 is a bit different given the reality many working parents face: kids are at home and let's face it, we're in survival mode. To help parents and kids, we rounded up resources that run the gamut from virtual camps to snack subscriptions to cultural diversity to helpful websites to bookmark when asking yourself "Should my kids watch fill-in-the-blank-movie from my childhood?" 

Virtual Activities

  • Camp Kinda is a different kind of camp for a different kind of summer. This free virtual summer experience is for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade and is designed to keep them engaged, curious, and to have fun.
  • What Do We Do All Day is a weekly newsletter that aims to answer that very question. Simple "unplugged" learning activities like games and read-aloud help to "grow kids into intelligent, curious, and connected family members."
  • Storyline Online is hosting a virtual summer camp encouraging kids to write, share and read their favorite stories. It's a virtual campfire (minus the bug bites). Beyond summer camp stories, there are recommended books for kids in all grade levels and activity guides for parents too.
  • Other Goose is a homeschooling community and resource for kids under seven. When schools closed due to COVID-related concerns, I loved the simple activities that relied on using household items and held space for open-ended exploration.
  • PBS Kids Wisconsin is a local, historical resource jackpot! Biographies from famous Wisconsinites, stories about the Great Lakes, and more.
  • Cosmic Kids is a yoga and mindfulness app and website to introduce kids to mindful movement. My kids loved the themed yoga classes featuring their favorite characters from Moana, Harry Potter, and Frozen.

Cultural Exploration

  • Spanish with Suzy is a virtual Spanish school for little kids (ages two to six) and families. Small group classes are taught through Zoom and combine music, dancing, books to provide kids with a fun class format that sparks creativity and curiosity.
  • Learn a language for free with Duolingo (I might join my kids for this daily activity)!
  • eat2explore is a family cooking kit that sparks cultural education through food. Parents told us they liked the educational activities and passport and pre-portioned seasonings.
  • Universal Yums is a monthly subscription service curating snacks from different countries. Customers vote on the best and weirdest offerings monthly. Rhubarb and Custard Chews were voted as the best snack from the United Kingdom box while pickled onion rings won the award for the weirdest in June. If you read this and thought of your picky eater, check out this book!

Subscribe-Worthy Podcasts

  • Wow in the World from NPR with hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explore the wonders of the world (how our brains work, the wonders of space, science, and technology).
  • The Big Fib format is unique. Each week, a kid interviews two experts in a particular topic, one if which is an expert, and the other is a liar. This show aims to teach kids how to ask insightful questions, review evidence, and trust their instincts.
  • Short & Curly is a fast-paced ethics podcast for kids and parents that asks those "curly" questions such as, "Are you really free?" and "Why is your room so messy?"
  • Brains On! is an award-winning science podcast from American Public Media. Several parents noted this podcast was enjoyable for the whole family. I'm adding this to my podcast listening queue now!
  • Circle Round adapts folktales from around the world into sound-and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10. These are quick 10 to 20-minute episodes that focus on important issues like diversity, kindness, persistence, and generosity and each episode ends with an activity to spark deeper conversations between children and grown-ups.
  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is inspired by the bestselling book of the same name highlights heroes like Michelle Obama and Greta Thunberg. This show aims to inspire girls to "dream bigger, aim higher, and fight harder." Yes to all of that!
  • If these podcasts didn't spark your interest, check out Kids Listen. They have a complete listing of podcasts for kids.

Whew. What a list! Let's keep adding to this list to highlight websites and resources that spark curiosity and encourage meaningful conversations around the dinner table. Email me at lindsay@brainchildstudios.com with ideas!

Lindsay Account and Business Development Director

Lindsay is the Account and Business Development Director for Brainchild Studios, a boutique digital content marketing and website creation agency. Brainchild Studios primarily serving brands targeting millennial moms and nonprofits supporting women and children. Lindsay has been a champion for brands and businesses for over 14 years with experience in marketing, brand strategy and account management. She is a member of TEMPO Emerging Women Leaders, a group of community-minded, change-makers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She's also a mom of two and yoga teacher. With her experience in marketing, motherhood and yoga, Lindsay brings a balanced approach to support clients and projects.

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