4 Essentials for Summer Learning Organization

We are organized for summer learning. Honestly, I think organization is the key to happiness. And by organization, I mean systems. Which equal routines and peace. Our key learning and organization components are: a learning space, a learning time, and learning options.

The reason I’m so excited is because the last few years weren’t my best for organization. We moved to a new house, and held two mortgages for 18 months. Half our furniture was staging our old house and we couldn’t afford to buy anything that wasn’t on clearance from Goodwill. I had piles instead of shelves, lawn chairs instead of a couch. Add in  JJ’s too-long seizures, starting my writing career from nothing, and trying to help AJ with her anxiety, and the last thing I could manage was to implementing organizational systems in place. I was lucky to dress myself in clothes that weren’t inside out. (Although, I still do that.)

But, now I’m able to breathe for a number of reasons — seizure medication for JJ, selling the other house, and a diagnosis of SPD for AJ. And, I’m so happy to say that for the first time in this house, I’m finding systems that work! I haven’t felt this good in a long time.

Here’s what we’re up to at the Taylor house.

Summer Learning Components

1. A Learning Space

Each girl has a beautiful learning box which holds options for the week. I will rotate these options often. (I bought the boxes at Michaels.)

2. A Scheduled Time

After AJ’s early morning swim practice, we have an hour of learning time. This is time that I devote to them – playing games, reading books, making books and so forth. The girls must pick something in math and reading to do during this time. They know the choices which include

3. Options and Choices

I don’t have to tell you that when children get to choose and direct their own learning, the motivation stronger. We know this already, right? So, during learning time the choices are:

– something from their learning box

– a learning game on the iPad

– a learning game

– an activity mom thinks of (one day last week, JJ and I read How to Teach Your Slug to Read, a cute new book from Marshall Cavendish. The slug labeled things around his house so we did, too.)

– reading with mom

– listening to a book on tape

– reading alone

– writing anything (journal, story, poem, postcard, thank you, list, . . . )

4. FUN!

Learning is fun. The reason I started Imagination Soup was to share ideas on making learning engaging and fun. So, this must be a key component, one that I always include as best I can either by variety, individualization, games, music, movement, self-directed, or whatever – there are lots of ways to make learning fun. But you already know that!

What about you? Are you organized for summer learning? What are you doing?

Summer Learning Activities, Ages 3 – 5

Summer Learning Activities, Ages 6 – 10

Summer Learning A to Z


  1. says

    This is such a great post! I love to see other parents who plan a bit of fun educational time during the summer!
    By the way, are those stools from Costco? I think we have the same ones!


  2. says

    Our set up is really similar: boxes, set time for structured activities, and choices with options. We also add in science and art in 3 or 4 times a week. I let the kids each choose an art project and a science experiment that they want to do that week from one of our project books. I make sure we have the materials on hand to do the ones they choose and then we fit them in on days that we aren’t going somewhere.

  3. says

    You are inspiring me to get my sh*t together. So far: A Word Problem A Day for each child for the grade they are going into. Daily Cursive for oldest who apparently has forgotten how to read cursive. I need more books for oldest too. Thank god for Nook.

  4. Joan Stewart says

    Great idea! I need a learning box for my son – and for myself! If I also do learning/development activities (we both need to improve our Japanese reading/writing) too, it will set a good example AND keep us both on track! I am going to get started on the learning boxes to have them ready as soon as school finishes on June 22. Thank you!

      • Joan Stewart says

        We’re in Tokyo and international schools like my son’s get out much earlier than public schools! His first day back is August 29. Public schools end mid-July and go back early September.

  5. says

    I have a space set aside in our attic where I teach my 3 kids. Each one has a plastic bin with a top that is theirs. Each bin is a different color for each kid. Inside we keep all the work we are doing including books we are reading, workbooks, etc. They know as soon as we go upstairs to get out their box and pick out some work to do for the day. I fill their boxes with interesting ideas I find and add new projects each week.

  6. Cynthia says

    What a wonderful start to summer fun and learning. I am insprired to get organized — pretty and practical!

  7. says

    I am organizing a “Smarty Pants Camp” with my 2nd grader and his friends from school. We’ll be using the Space Explorer Camp from Usborne Books. It promotes critical thinking through reading, writing, and inquiry based learning. I’m excited because it includes a series of challenges, missions and hands-on experiments and the organizing work is all done for me!! It even includes a shopping list! Each camp kit includes a student lab notebook and a set of fiction and non-fiction books for reference, reading and exploration. I am operating as “Mission Control” and each family is going to take control of a different mission to plan (there are 8). We’ll meet once or twice a week for our camps. Looking forward to school getting out so we can get started!


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