Experts at the Episcopal Center for Children Offer Parents Pointers on Fun Activities for Summer


WASHINGTON – Keeping elementary and middle school aged children entertained in the summertime can be fun – and promote learning too! The Episcopal Center for Children (ECC), a nonprofit organization serving children with special needs ages 5-14 in the Washington, DC area, offers a list of fun things you can do with your child that reinforce learning too.
“So often parents are worried about the ‘summer slip’ – and fear that their child will fall behind over the summer months,” said Dodd White, president and CEO at ECC. “You can use fun activities to help your child maintain, and even advance, his or her skills over the summer.”

Read a book every day. Your child may enjoy being read to every night or want to read to you. Think about ways to mix it up. Check out new books from the public library. Borrow books from a friend. Talk with your child about the books he or she is reading. Watch a movie based on a book your child read and discuss it. Take pictures of your child reading in different places. Talk about the story with your child and ask questions.
Tune up organizing skills with a sorting game. Ask your child to help sort books, kitchen items, clothing, etc. into categories. Talk about the categories. Set a timer to see how fast he or she can go.

Play a game together. So often children are hungry for the time and attention of an adult. Get out a board game. Work on counting, reading, reasoning and other skills.

Hold a bake sale or have a lemonade stand. Making treats or lemonade to sell can be fun and teach your child organizing skills. He or she can make signs to promote the stand, and practice math skills while adding up the proceeds.

Go on a scavenger hunt. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. This is a fun game that can be played inside or outside.

Pick something. Pick fruit or vegetables at a pick-your-own farm. Learn about how it’s grown, and different ways to cook or prepare what you pick.

Play counting games. Keeping busy with numbers and counting while waiting somewhere or traveling can help minds stay busy.

Make a menu. Using paper and pen or crayons, help your child make a menu for a meal or snack. Use pictures and words to represent the food being served. Present the menu to the family.

Do a round of beach ball math. Take a beach ball. Write a number on each section of the ball with a permanent marker. Let it dry. Throw or roll the ball to a person. The person catching the ball identifies the number closest to their body or that touched their hand as they catch the ball. Then do an activity like jumping or clapping that number of times.

Throw a Frisbee or ball around. Mark a starting point on the ground with a stick. Throw the Frisbee or ball. Mark where it lands with a stick with your child’s name on it. Using a measuring tape, measure how far the Frisbee went. Chart the distances. Play each week to see if your distances improve with practice.

Become a human mirror. Stand opposite each other and pretend that your child is a mirror. She or he copies exactly what you do. Move your face only, then arms, legs, etc. Switch, now you become the mirror and your child makes the movements. Try moving slowly and then faster. Talk about your pose or what body part you are moving.

About the Episcopal Center for Children
The Episcopal Center for Children (Center) is a nonprofit, nondenominational school and treatment program for children contending with emotional challenges from the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Accredited by the Joint Commission, the Center serves children who are 5-14 years old in grades K-8. The goal of the Center’s treatment, therapeutic milieu, and individualized special education program is to empower each child to function productively within his or her family and community. Building on strengths within children, the Center partners with families in treatment and focuses on enabling its students to access and become their best possible selves. More information is available at and on Twitter @ECCofDC.

Media contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, 703.887.4877, [email protected]