Summer Activities

Recommended for ages 4-10. Please also see the middle school section for options for older children!

Student Authors: Margaret Irwin, Katie Kester, and Allison Fialkowski (Harvard Medical School)

Contact: margaret_irwin@hms.harvard.edu

Graphic Designers: Emily Kragel (ECU Brody School of Medicine)

Faculty Reviewers:

Jennifer Pitt-Lainsbury, High School and Middle School Administrator, University of Toronto Schools

Donna Fialkowski, M.Ed., Special Education Teacher, Atlanta City Public School System

Juliana H. Chen, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Rachel Conrad, M.D. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Student Reviewers: Mengting Qiu, Chandler Moore, Rachel Reardon (Harvard Medical School), Toke Odimayomi (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

What to do this summer?

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the world, and the summer can be a tricky time for many kids and their families, especially after having several months of virtual school and making changes to normal household routines.

Here are some more coloring pages for your child to complete as we think about summer and the changing guidelines for physical distancing.

What does summer mean when coronavirus is still around?

There are many ways to keep your brain thinking during the summer. Read a book, do some worksheets, learn a new fun skill!

Some things may change in the next few months with new rules about “physical distancing” and going outside. Make sure to listen to adults so you know how to stay safe! And remember to always ask questions if you have them.

Tips for Caregivers

  • Develop and maintain a new routine.

    • To signify that it is summer, consider switching the routine you had during the school year to a different summer version.

  • Be honest.

    • Do not shy away from talking with your child about what is happening in the world. Especially when physical distancing measures start to lift, some children may become more confused and have more questions.

    • Before answering, listen to their questions. Focus on answering their questions honestly rather than giving too many confusing details.

  • Focus on gratitude.

    • Have your child practice listing 3 things they are thankful for at the end of each day.

  • Find small ways for your child to feel like they are helping.

    • Consider teaching your child to help sew masks, write notes, or leave cards out for frontline workers.

    • Leave notes for small business in your neighborhood that your child misses

    • Making a child feel like they are helping can give them the opportunity to feel like they have a purpose, and may decrease their stress and anxiety.

  • Stay connected virtually.

    • Remember to video chat with friends and family members that your child has not been able to see in person.

  • Encourage your child to develop a new skill.

    • This is a unique time with a lot of free time where a child can focus on developing a new skill or exploring an interest they have always had.

    • Some ideas include learning a new language with videos online, learning how to sew or knit, or learning about different species of birds that live near your home.

    • Working on reading skills is an especially useful practice during the summer. You might consider scheduling designated “reading time” each day, which can consist of a combination of your child reading a book by themselves and you reading aloud from a book with slightly more advanced vocabulary. Some read-aloud options might include Mary Poppins, Anne of Green Gables, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Harry Potter, or Wizard of Oz. Teaching new words in daily life (i.e. identifying unfamiliar foods in the grocery store or naming items around the house) is another great way to build vocabulary.

  • Foster independence and exploration