Activities and ideas to keep minds sharp over the summer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

Information provided by Rowan-Salisbury Schools

As the traditional school year concludes for 2015-2016, the middle schools in the Rowan Salisbury School System challenge parents and students to keep your minds active throughout the summer. There are many learning opportunities and experiences that engage curiosity and interest. Encourage students of all ages to read for at least 30 minutes a day — take advantage of the public library. Have students practice math using games, flash cards or online programs and writing with creative prompts or by writing letters. Expand vocabulary by having a goal to learn one new word per day — for older students, have them learn prefixes and suffixes, as well. The following are other fun activities for students:

Activities for elementary school students: 

Reading: One of the most important things your child can do this summer is to spend some time reading.

  • Talk with your child about the different vocabulary they see on whatever they read: sunscreen bottles, road signs, etc.
  • Look online to find the Summer Reading Rockets program and read some every day.
  • Have your child read and tell someone about or discuss what they have read.
  • Start a book club with parents and friends.

Explore: There are many ways to have adventures – even adventures right in your own back yard. There is so much to explore and find in any and all backyard exploring. All that is needed is paper, pencil, camera and an open mind.

  • Find bugs, soil, plants or animals. Use a camera or phone and take pictures for a record of their discoveries and write about it, draw about it or make a video of it. Keep track of the weather — what changes happens over time, how they effect the grass, flowers, the sky or clouds.
  • Blow bubbles and study the colors, talk about how bubbles float and why and see how many can be blown with one breath.
  • Make a rain gauge and measure how much rainfall occurs in a week — how much evaporation happens, temperatures and the changes in plants.
  • Build and develop ideas about structures to protect plants, animals and insects from bad weather. Use popsicle sticks or sticks from the yard and figure out how to make the structure stronger.
  • Make a telescope with household items and read a book about constellations.
  • Look for problems around the house, neighborhood, city or state and think of possible solutions.
  • Go to a museum or a historical site and go home and dig deeper into something that interested you.

Be creative: Creativity plays such a big role to help students express their thoughts and feelings.

  • Use an old sheet and some paint or chalk. Draw or paint a picture on the sheet. Make it more enjoyable by adding some friends.
  • Whether it be a family vacation, a day at the swimming pool, or a virtual field trip students can create a scrapbook that will be a lasting souvenir of their summer memories. If a trip is taken, collect postcards brochures and menus from restaurants and tourist attractions.
  • Explore different places of interest on the computer or mobile device. Take screen shots of the places you visited and learned about. Encourage students to write descriptions of the places they visited and tell stories about their adventures. This could be a paper scrapbook or a digital scrapbook.

Get some exercise: Play is an important part of a child’s growth.

  • Make time for your child to be physically active for at least and hour per day.

Activities for middle school students: 


Reading:  Start a reading partnership with a friend or family member or set up a way for students to swap out books from their school.


Writing:  Challenge students to write a weekly creative or imaginative paragraph or narrative about a vacation or other events or keep a journal to write down all learning activities.


Other: Have students pursue cooking, gardening, fishing, crafts, outdoor exploration or activities related to an area of interest.


Activities for high school students:


  • Read articles of interest in Achieve3000.

College Planning:

  • Visit to learn more about how to plan for high school and college. Learn about scholarships, writing college essays, how to apply for college, financial preparation and explore majors that match student interests.
  • Visit to explore careers, college majors, the right college match for you and to get a free step-by-step college plan.
  • Make plans to visit a college or university campus. Talk to an admissions counselor from the college of your choice for more information.

Test Prep:

  • Visit for free ACT student test-preparation materials including sample tests, free webinars, question of the day and testing tips.
  • All RSS high school students have an account in Career Cruising for Method Test Prep, a resource provided by the district to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT. The link to Career Cruising can be found under students on the RSS website. Students can watch short tutorial videos and answer sample questions to help them prepare for the exams for math, reading, vocabulary and science.


  • Reach out to a local organization that meets your interest to gain valuable volunteer experiences. Some organizations may have age and eligibility requirements.
  • Keep a journal of your experiences. Write about what you have learned and what impact the experience has made on you and others.