smart summer challenge fun learning ideas: week 3

It’s almost week #3 of our Smart Summer Learning Challenge–the campaign we’ve created to let all parents know the important–and totally fun–role they play in their children’s summer learning!

Like I’ve said before, it doesn’t have to be a huge and complicated activity; it can be short, sweet, and meaningful–done in the span of a great game or read-aloud . . .

. . . and even if you missed week #1 and 2, it’s not too late to jump on board now.  With a calendar full of ideas and prizes every week, there’s no reason not to join us. And you know who really benefits from your participation? You got it–your kids!


Here are some ideas for week #3:

  • Dissect a flower
  • Combine flowers and food coloring for some kitchen science!
  • Make a picture with pieces of a flower
  • Create a sandbox village
  • Create a beautiful bouquet from the flowers you find and deliver them to someone special
  • Research what plants attract butterflies. Plant one in your garden.
  • Try to find at least five living creatures in your yard. Research one and teach someone about it
  • Stretch your senses and conduct a fragrance experiment
  • Read a book–or two or three–about butterflies or birds
  • Listen to backyard sounds and draw a picture to match
  • See how many alphabet letters are lurking in your yard
  • Write a story about a creature who lives out back–or in your neigborhood
  • Design your own flower garden–the one you’d plant if you had all the flowers and sunshine in the world!
  • Choose a number and make it into a picture using items from your yard
  • Play with numbers and make Backyard Number Boxes
  • Use sidewalk chalk to design unique, just-for-you hopscotch boards
  • Take a walk and keep count of all the blue cars, red cars, silver, and black cars you see
  • Make rubbings with textures from your yard
  • Create a time capsule and bury it in a secret place–but don’t forget to draw a map of your location!
  • Go on a rainbow hunt in your very own yard
  • Plant something–anything–and watch it grow!
  • Visit a science museum, arboretum, greenhouse, nursery, or farm
  • Pack a picnic lunch and eat it in a ‘new’ spot outside
  • Visit your local garden center–if you call ahead, they may give you a tour or teach you how to plant some flowers.
  • Have breakfast–or lunch or dinner–outside
  • Hold a lemonade stand


Remember, The Smart Summer Challenge is simple–it’s a challenge for all parents to pledge to incorporate at least one learning activity into their child’s day over the summer vacation.  That’s it.

The learning activity can be as simple as reading a book or as involved as packing up the crew and taking a hike.  It’s as involved as you want it to be, and our focus is to help parents realize the important role they play in helping their kids avoid the summer learning slump.

Here’s our calendar to print and hang on the fridge:
Smart Summer Challenge Calendar 2011

And if you are up for joining us in the Smart Summer Challenge–which we hope you are!–here’s what you can do:

  • Step 1: The first step is to “Like” the Smart Summer Challenge on Facebook, if you have an account. We’ll be using the FB page to share ideas, questions, and successes from challenge participants.
  • Step 2: If you are a blogger, we would love for you to grab our “Smart Summer Challenge” Badge for your sidebar and/or Smart Summer posts. Grab the code on the right sidebar!
  • Step 3: Each week, from June 27 through August 5, we will be posting daily activities on our blogs. We would love if you would blog along as often as you wish (even once a week is great!) and share what you are doing to keep the learning going over the summer.
  • Step 4: On Friday of each of the Smart Summer Challenge weeks, we will post a themed “linky” on our blogs where you can share your recent or archived posts. If you do not have a blog, please feel free to share your activities and pictures on the Smart Summer Challenge facebook page! We will highlight posts from participants on our blogs and on facebook.

We hope you will visit and comment on each other’s posts so we can all learn together!  You can find the Smart Summer Challenge linky each Friday here, on or on PinkAndGreenMama or

Don’t forget to check out the we teach Summertime Learning eBook for even more cool summer learning ideas on we teach–you can download the whole thing for free and you’ll have a good 30 ideas!

Interested to know what kind of prizes we’re giving away to participants? Here are a few. . .

  • $100 to your local book shop or toy store of choice, thanks to Juice in the City
  • $150 to your local book shop or toy store of choice, thanks to Juice in the City
  • $150 to use at Rosie Hippo
  • $200 gift pack of LeapFrog products
  • $200 to use at Guidecraft
  • and more!

Looking forward to making this a Smart Summer for everyone–and for more ideas, visit my pals, Candace at and MaryLea at PinkAndGreenMama!




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