Summer Break Learning and Activities for Families

by California State PTA Family Engagement Commission

California PTA leaders’ top recommendations for summer break learning activities and adventures you can discover together with your child.

Check out the Resource Library–  The California State PTA’s Resource Library is full of activities you can do while school is out.  There are online activities you can use during computer time, suggestions for local museums and events across the state, as well as activities you can do in your home or around your neighborhood. 

Read– Choose a book to read together as a family and have lots of options for the kids to read on their own. Visit your library often, not only do they have books to check out but they often have summer programming for children of all ages from preschool to high school.  

Jen Moore, 16th District President, also suggests having a family audiobook to make the hours speed by when traveling or for use at home to quell squabbles (because everyone is immediately silent when the book is turned on)!  Their family favorites are the Children of the Lamp series, Harry Potter, and anything by Gordon Korman. Most libraries offer Overdrive or Libby, apps which allow you to download an audiobook to your device with your library card.

Visit California Historical Landmarks– Do you know that there are over 1,000 historical landmarks across our state?  California State PTA Vice President for Family Engagement Heather Ippolito and her family have actually been to all of them.  While it took three years for them to visit all the landmarks, you can take a look and see what sites there are close to your home.  According to Heather, “Our family loved spending time exploring the state we live in.  Many of the sites were free to visit, but they all helped us to learn more about the diverse history of our state.”

Bake/Cook– Summer is a great chance to spend some time in the kitchen making treats, lunches, or dinners for the family.  Once your child finds some favorite recipes to make, they can help you during busy weeks by making the family dinner or packing lunches for the entire family.  Remember that recipes are a great way to combine science and math skills– in a fun and tasty way!

Walk– Take time for family walks during the cooler early morning hours or in the evening.  Not only is it good exercise, but it is time to explore the world around you.  As you walk, try some of these activities:

  • look for interesting plants or trees
  • do a photo scavenger hunt (you can find some fun, free ones online)
  • try to find things in every color of the rainbow
  • leave notes for your neighbors written and/or drawn by your family
  • count the number of cars, dogs, or other items you see

Our Family Engagement Fridays are taking a hiatus during the summer months of June and July. You can always reach us at: familyengagement@capta.orgWe hope that you also take some time to rest, recharge, and spend time with your family. 

Summer learning ideas and resources

Learning loss during the summer months is a real concern, especially after the challenging school year we’ve had. If you’re looking for ways to keep your child’s mind active over the term break, or just want to take part in some interesting summer activities with your kids, California State PTA has got you covered!

We’ve compiled the following list of resources and ideas:

Resource Library

These items and activities from our Resource Library will help you learn how to keep your kids’ brains engaged:

These are just a few of the summery ideas and resources you’ll find in the Resource Library. Be sure to check it out by using the simple search function!

Learning Heroes

Readiness Checker: Our Education Commission found this helpful resource for parents of students in kindergarten through 8th grade. It’s a simple-to-use tool that helps you check how your child is doing in math and English language arts, based on their grade level.

Using the results of quick on-line items, it also suggests some resources that can help you and your child use a bit of time this summer to get a targeted head start on next school year.

Summer Parent-Teacher Planning Tool: This one-page document can be used in a meeting with your child’s teacher to co-create a summer learning plan. It provides ideas for two-way communication and a chance for parents and teachers to share their observations of a student’s learning. Click here for the English version, and here for Spanish.

Create @ Home from Create CA

Our partners at Create CA have curated an amazing selection of fun and educational resources that allow kids to learn about and engage with the arts at home.

The #CreateAtHome activities are split into six categories, with at least four resources per section:

  • Integrated and General
  • Visual and Media Arts
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Arts for Healing
  • Arts Educators and Professionals

Click here to see all the great ideas for art activities to do at home.

National PTA

Help Your Student Make the Most of Their Summer (and Still Have Time for Fun): Choosing vacations over summer school can be tricky, especially after such a difficult year. A good compromise is online, self-paced courses, which allow students to take their courses with them and work on them on their own schedule. Click here to read it.

10 Non-Tech Summer Activities to Build Language, Literacy and Learning: The dog days of summer are here—and many kids have a lot more leisure time on their hands. To prevent overuse of tech devices, try these ideas for non-tech activities that are fun AND promote language, literacy and learning. Click here to read the article.


Bet you didn’t realize that California State PTA’s Pinterest boards are chock-full of science projects, art activities and other summer learning activities! Click here to explore.

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