How to Turn Summer Fun Into Learning Moments

Back to School Jacksonville
Thank you to KinderCare for sponsoring this post and providing these great tips on how to keep your kids school-ready.

Our partners at KinderCare believe the care-free days, sun-filled days of summer are a great time for everyone in your family to relax. Just because children aren’t in a classroom all day, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to learn. In fact, building learning into your family’s everyday summer fun can help you make sure your child starts the new school year ready to learn. Read on for tips on how you can turn everyday activities into learning moments this summer!

Tips from KinderCare experts that will help parents combine learning and fun, no matter where your family’s summer adventures take you:

Heading to the beach or river? Read the tide chart together.

There’s nothing better than time at the beach over the summer, and thankfully, we on the First Coast have access to plenty of amazing beaches. But while you’re planning which beach has the best parking or the easiest beach access, and what you’re going to put in your beach bag, consider turning your beach fun into an opportunity for some summer learning, too.

  • Reading the tide chart gives your child a chance to practice recognizing numbers and
    time and opposites like morning and night, high and low, in and out.
  • It’s ok if your child is too young to read – help them pick out different numbers!
  • Mark your guesses for the high tide water line in the sand.

Flying somewhere? Look for things that move while at the airport.

  • More than planes – look for people movers, baggage carousels, escalators, rolling
    suitcases – anything with wheels.
  • Read the departures and arrivals board together to practice letter and number
  • Find a screen with a map and talk about where that plane and its passengers are
    headed. What do you think the weather will be like? What do you think people will
    eat/see/do while they’re there?

Head to the library for new books.

Jacksonville has an amazing library, with branches located throughout the city, all of which have something unique to offer. Whether you want to learn to sew, go to a family movie night, or check out a poetry slam, there’s always something fun to do. But while you’re taking advantage of the 3-D printers or attending a community meeting, there are tons of great ideas to incorporate learning into your library trip.

  • The Collaborative Summer Library Program found that children who visited the library
    were less likely to suffer summer learning loss.
  • Your local library may have a summer reading program that can help provide ideas or
    motivation, or simply let kids loose in the stacks to find books that interest them.
  • Take turns reading a chapter book with an older child or start a new series to read

Practice numbers at the ballpark.

One of the best things about summer is that it means baseball season is here again! There’s nothing better than going to a Jumbo Shrimp game — like, say, at the Jacksonville Mom Park Hop — for some affordable family fun. The great ballpark, Scampi’s silly antics, peanuts and hot dogs, the thrill of the game… it all makes for a great summer night for the family. But while you’re there, there are some easy ways to turn a fun baseball game into something educational, too.

  • Over the summer, math skills often fall by the wayside, according to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
  • Experts recommend getting creative to prevent math learning loss.
  • Have your child count change for popcorn or the number of players on the field. Work on
    number recognition by asking your child to read the numbers on the back of the players’

Encourage scientific observation at the amusement park.

One of the great things about living on the First Coast is that we are so close to so many great theme parks. Whether you’re a Universal fan or a Disney aficionado, there’s no better time than the summer to embark on some family day trips to one of the many great amusement parks in the area. But theme park fun can also be a chance to encourage your budding scientist to learn, too.

  • Ask “how” and “what” questions to prompt your child to think, reason and observe.
  • What will the roller coaster do? How does the Ferris wheel move? These questions help
    children learn the same scientific thought process researchers use, plus they encourage
    children’s natural sense of curiosity!
  • You can also sharpen your child’s scientific thoughts by inviting them to test their ideas
    (safely): Will the bumper car stop if we run into your brother’s car? Let’s try it!

Learn about states of matter while in the garden.

  • Liquid, solid, gas: Water has so many properties and summer is a great time to talk
    about it, from an ice-filled glass of lemonade, to a run through the sprinkler, to the
    cumulous clouds in the sky.
  • Invite your child to discover how liquid collects in puddles, falls in drops, runs in streams, and why wet bodies and towels dry in the sun.

Explore shapes at the park.

Did you know that Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the entire country? There is no shortage of amazing parks for you and your kids to explore, including at Jacksonville Mom’s Community First Summer Park Hop Series. But in addition to turning your kids loose to burn off some energy, you can have them work their mental muscles, too.

  • Turn your regular trip to the park into a scavenger hunt for shapes.
  • Look for trees shaped like triangles, find the circle in the tire swing, or trace the rectangle shape of a gate. Encourage your child to name the shapes as they see them.

Practice numbers, colors and letters while on a road trip.

  • While you watch the scenery go by, look for numbers, colors, and letters.
  • You could even make a few Bingo cards before hitting the road: Look for a specific
    colored object, or find specific letters or numbers on license plates, signs, and billboards.

For 50 years, KinderCare teachers have been creating safe, encouraging environments where kids can learn, grow and build confidence for life. At KinderCare, hardworking families are family—regardless of needs, backgrounds, and experiences.

KinderCare Learning Centers is opening several new centers in the Jacksonville area in 2019, including Fruit Cove, Orange Park, and Yulee! Email [email protected] or call 833-90-LEARN to schedule a tour today! 

Learn more about how you can prevent summer slide through fun, educational summer activities and programs in your area at

Cassy Fiano-Chesser is a Jacksonville native and mom to six kids. Her husband is a Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient. She works from home as a blogger and a freelance writer, and they currently live in the Argyle area of Jacksonville. Benjamin is their oldest, born in 2011, and he loves being a big brother. Wyatt was born in 2012, and he has Down syndrome. Ivy came next, in 2013, followed by Clara, born in 2015, who is a diva-with-a-capital-D. Rounding out the brood is Felicity, born in 2017, and Lilly, born in 2007. They love discovering things to do on the First Coast and going on family adventures, as well as cheering on the Jumbo Shrimp and the Icemen.


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