Reading Rockets–NEA Guide

Family Activities for Summer

Here are some ideas to keep children engaged with reading, writing, exploring, and learning throughout the summer, whether they're interested in science, art, nature, history, current events, or almost anything else.

Click these links to jump ahead to each section:

Choosing books for kids

Two elementary-aged Latino children listening to audiobook

More Recommended Books

Explore these booklists to find multicultural books, books about topics your kids are interested in, favorite books for kids with reading difficulties, and more:

Tips on Selecting Books

These tip sheets in English and Spanish can help you select the right books for your kids:

Public Library Digital Services

Is your public library closed? See if your public library offers OverDrive where you can borrow and read free ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines on your phone or tablet — all you need is your library card to get access. 

Audiobook and Ebook Services

There are also online services that offer high-quality audiobooks and ebooks. Listening to audiobooks builds vocabulary, background knowledge, and comprehension skills. Here are some recommended digital book services — you can start with a free trial to explore what they offer.

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Helping kids with reading

African American mother reading picture book to kindergarten son

Literacy Tips and Activities

Spanish-Language Resources for Parents

Teaching Reading Skills at Home

Summer Reading Challenges

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Summer writing

Elementary-aged girl writing outside during summer

We Are Storytellers: Exploring Multicultural Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Myths

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Explore multicultural folktales, fairy tales, and myths through shared read alouds and independent reading. Then try some of the writing, oral storytelling, poetry, mapmaking, and other creative activities featured here: We Are Storytellers: Exploring Multicultural Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Myths

Let's Write!

Summer is for exploring, reading, listening and ... writing. Give children a chance to exercise different writing muscles — from poetry to persuasive writing. Browse these simple summer writing activities for kids. Plus tips from children’s writer Mary Amato on keeping a diary or writer’s notebook.

Write. Right. Rite.

Welcome to the Write. Right. Rite. — a GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story video series! This series gives kids an entertaining and inventive way to engage with the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds. Jumpstart creativity with prompts like Find Treasure at the Pool, Take an Imaginary Road Trip, Invent Synonyms, and Create Your Own Roller Coaster. 

Writing Lessons from 826 National

Writing lessons to help inspire kids to practice different writing genres — from 826, a national network of writing and tutoring centers, founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari. (grades 1-5+)

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Online learning (preK-grade 5)

Elementary-aged boy learning online at home

Virtual Summer Camps

News Sites for Kids

Online Learning Across Subjects

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STEM

Multicultural kids engaged in summer science learning

River Rangers: A Book-Based Science Adventure

Explore, read, play, invent, build and learn — all about water and the rivers and streams in your community — with this 5-day DIY summer science camp: River Rangers! (grades 1-5) 

Space Rangers: A Book-Based Science Adventure

Explore, read, play, invent, build and learn — all about stars, our solar system, and space exploration — with this 5-day DIY summer science camp: Space Rangers! (grades 1-5) 

Start with a Book: Science, Nature and Math

Find recommended fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, educational apps, and kid-friendly podcasts and websites:

National Museum of Natural History Summer Explorations

This free virtual summer program series allows kids to explore the world of natural history science in a fun and interactive way! Each week you'll explore a different natural science-based theme through daily live webinars, videos, activities, and projects. Register now. (Recommended for grades 3-7)

Science and Math Activities: Parent Tips

These 18 tip sheets for parents are available in English and Spanish. Each tip sheet includes simple activities you can do with your child to build literacy and beginning science and math skills, plus recommended picture books to extend the learning. 

Science Podcasts

More Online Science Resources

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Social studies

Multicultural kids engaged in summer learning

Start with a Book: Social Studies

Find recommended fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, educational apps, and kid-friendly podcasts and websites: 

More Online Social Studies Resources:

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Art and music

Multicultural kids engaged in summer art and music and reading

Start with a Book: Art and Music

Find recommended fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, educational apps, and kid-friendly podcasts and websites:

Draw Together with Wendy MacNaughton

Artist and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton leads virtual drawing classes Mondays and Thursdays at 1:00 pm ET on her WendyMac Instagram page. Each week, there's a new topic related to the outdoors. If you miss a class, kids can catch up at the Draw Together YouTube channel.

More Online Arts Resources

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio