Summer Learning Tips

Summer Learning Tips from California State PTA

The summer months are a particularly great time for parents and families to reinforce bonds with their children by participating together in fun, learning activities.

Using Numbers for Fun

Map Reading

Give children a map and a marker to follow the route you are traveling. Watch for street or road signs. Using the mileage scale on the map, check approximately how far you have gone, and estimate how much farther you must go to the end of the trip.


Keep a list of car license plates by state and see who can spot the most states.


Add the numbers on each license plate and see who can find the one adding up to the largest number.


In wet sand, compare the depth of big and small footprints due to weight differences.


Estimate how much time it will take to reach your destination by giving your children the mileage and the speed you are traveling.


Plan a special outing to the museum, the beach, or the park, and have your child show the way on the map. Estimate the distance, and then check to see how close you came.

Encourage Physical Fitness

Set a positive example.

Limit your own daily TV viewing, aiming to exercise every day, making healthy food choices and encouraging your child to do the same.

Set reasonable rules for computer and TV use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two watch no television and children over the age of two limit television viewing to no more than two hours per day.

One hour of exercise a day.

Help your child choose an activity - any activity - such as walking, basketball, or bike riding, and encourage one hour of exercise per day.

Summer sports or camp

Consider registering your child for an organized summer sports league or active day camp.


Purchase a pedometer for your young teen to count steps throughout the day, aiming for 11,000 daily steps (ages 6 to 17). *

*Reprinted with permission from Summer Break - Tips For A Healthy Summer: A Guide for Parents of Young Teens (National PTA website,

Supporting Reading at Home

Encourage Literacy

Encourage children to help make shopping lists, draw and write thank-you notes, write grocery lists, and create menus for meals.

Visit libraries and bookstores

Check out materials such as toys, tapes, CDs, and books from libraries. Participate in activities held by libraries and bookstores, such as story time, writing contests, and summer reading programs.

Set aside time every day for reading

Keep reading and writing materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, and stickers accessible to children.

Read with your child

Read books and rhymes and play language games such as tongue twisters and puzzles with your children. Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books. Point out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, magazines, and signs.

Keep a notebook

Write down stories your children tell you so that the child may see the connection between oral language and text.

Be a reader

Children observe and learn from people around them. Let your child know you are proud of his/her reading.

Include the Arts

Extensive research indicates the arts help children learn. Visit the PTA SMARTS Bring Back the Arts web page for resources as well as on-line activities.

Visit a Museum

Making a Family Museum Visit Fun for Toddlers, Teens and In-Betweens

Planning a Museum Visit

My Wonderful World Museum On-Line

Sun Safety

Limit Exposure

Try to limit exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Sun Screen

Use a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher applied liberally. Don’t forget to protect lips, ears, and toes.

Sun Safety - Tips from the American Cancer Society

Fathers Can be Involved in a Child's Education

Summer Reading Resources

The National Education Association (NEA) book lists

Read Across America - NEA
100 Favorite Children's Books - New York Public Library
Choices Booklists - International Reading Association
Bimonthly Showcase - Children's Book Council

Reading Rockets - Free print guides created for par-ents, teachers, and others in English and Spanish

Reading is Fundamental

Braille and Talking Book Library - The California State Library loans Braille, cassette and talking books, magazines and playback equipment to northern Californians unable to read conventional print.

Reading Tip Sheets in 11 Languages - Colorin Colorado provides bilingual re-sources for parents and teachers.

Tips for a Healthy Summer

Helping Your Child Become a Reader

NPR: Summer Reading for Kids

Student Guide: PTA Goes to Work

National Standards for Family-School Partnerships

Family-School Partnerships

Family-School Partnership Awards

Free Publications From the US Department of Education
Helping Your Child

Help children become strong readers, good students, and responsible citizens.

Recursos en espanol Healthy Start, Grow Smart Order On-Line Parents' Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Parents Empowering Parents Guide and Parent Tips
Dad Involvement
Back to School Tips