A lesson a day to keep student skills sharp this summer

To make real-world summer learning as easy and impactful as we can, we’ve partnered with our community of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts to put together 25 quick tips and lesson activities parents can do with their kids over the course of five summer weeks.

Whether you’re spending time in the sun or surrounded by books, check back here throughout the coming weeks whenever you’re looking for a fun way to keep those skills sharp and rooted in the real world. Get a preview of all 25 tips, or even print them all out, from the Sway here.


#1

From: Alexandra Larson

Twitter handle: @Alex_n_wndrlnd

Ages: 4 – 7

Activity

Password: There are many ways to help your child with recognition of basic concepts. To play “password,” simply choose about five index cards and draw or write the following on them: shapes, sight words, numbers, names, positional words (it may be best to draw these out), missing alphabet letters (A B __ C D), missing numbers (4 5 6 __ 7), addition/subtraction sentences, and so forth. Skills will change depending on your child’s age. Tape these index cards on door frames, drawers, people, or anything else your child uses or sees frequently in the day. Require your child to say the “password” (what’s on the index card) to go through the doorway, open the drawer, ask you a question, etc. Once these have been mastered, hang them on the child’s personal “skills wall” in his or her bedroom!

Material Needed:

Markers, Index Cards, Tape

Links to supporting information:

Fry 1000 Instant Words (PDF); Preschool Skills Checklist; Kindergarten Skills Checklist; First Grade Skills Checklist

Skills this activity supports:

Reading and mathematical skills

#2

From: Gene Vangampelaere

Twitter handle: @Vangampelaere 

Ages: 5 – 7

Activity

Math table game: Create 100 math exercises (tables 1 to 10) like 1×7, 3×8, etc. and write the solution on the back of the paper. Put them all on a table (10 rows, 10 columns) with the exercise visible. Now, each child can select an exercise and try to solve it. If they answer correctly he or she can point at an exercise to be solved by another player. If they answer incorrectly he or she chooses another exercise to try. By playing this game kids are able to practice math in a fun way!

Material Needed:

Paper, scissors, pen

Skills this activity supports:

Math

#3

From: Craig Hansen

Country: Indonesia

Instagram handle: @globaledtalk

Ages: 8 – 16

 

Activity

The Drive Around: Parents often spend time driving their kids during the summer holiday!  As a parent, I look for connections with my kids’ subjects such as math, English, Chinese, Indonesian, science, social studies etc.

Here is one example: “Share a sentence describing the height, features, and use of that building in more than one language.” I will have them to record this, and I will post it in our private family Facebook group for their relatives in New Zealand, Australia, and America to enjoy. The praise they get from our family members is motivating and they often ask to do this the next time we are out and about.

Here is another example: “See that tree on the corner? Tell us about how and when it can do respiration, photosynthesis etc. and what challenges that tree faces because of all the concrete and traffic.”

Material Needed:

No materials needed, though a mobile phone can record the activity if you want to share it with relatives.

Links to supporting information:

www.Facebook.com/MicrosoftEDU

Skills this activity supports:

Science – environmental and physical science. Languages.

#4

From: Kristin Barr

Country: USA

Twitter handle: @mrsbarr_itrt

Ages: 6 – 13

 

Activity

Creativity in a bag: Put five random items in a bag – anything laying around the house. Ask your child to create as many things as they can imagine using those items. You could also ask them to write a story that includes each item in some way. Sit back and watch their creativity at work! (Multiple children = multiple bags. They can collaborate or exchange after a certain amount of time.)

Material Needed:

A bag, random items from around your house, computer or paper/pencil (if choosing to write the story)

Skills this activity supports:

Creativity, design process, engineering, writing

#5

From: Joe Archer

Country: Canada

Twitter handle: @ArcherJoe

Ages: 6 – 14

Activity

Inquiry-based explorations and discoveries: Stop, think, and ask yourself questions about an interesting topic or hobby. Think of the 5 Ws (who, what, why, when, where) and do some research, Skype with people, hit the library, ask friends and family their thoughts and feelings about your topic. Explore and collaborate with a partner, who could be a cousin, friend, or other family member! Connect around the globe using FaceTime and Skype. Share you findings using Flipgrid, Skype, Sway or PowerPoint or in a Maker type display.

Material Needed:

Internet connection/library card and a device!

Links to supporting information:

Microsoft Educator Community for Skype connections: Education.Microsoft.com

Skills this activity supports:

Scientific process, inquiry-driven investigations and team work, analyzing data and pulling out meaning

#6

From: Wanda Hill

Country: United States

Twitter handle: @Hill4tech

Ages: 10 – 11

 

Activity

Explore the city you live in: Find the oldest building and write a letter to the city government, asking who built it, why it’s still there, and what purpose it served in the beginnings of your city. When you receive the answers, use your library to find pictures of the building when it was being constructed and find out more about the company or owner.

Extension activities: Put all your findings in a PowerPoint presentation and ask about presenting this to your city government.  Create a pictorial brochure with a QR code that links to your PowerPoint.  Give this to the city government or your local realty offices to introduce people new to the community about the local history.

Material Needed:

Cameras, if you go on a field trip to this site

Links to supporting information:

Your city government website

Skills this activity supports:

History, writing

#7

From: Meenakshi Uberoi

Country: India

Twitter handle: @MeenakshiUberoi

Ages: 8 – 10

Activity

Off to the store: Go grocery 🛒 shopping. Share the responsibility of stocking your home with daily/weekly grocery items 🛍. Watch the video linked below to learn more about the experience of going to a grocery store. Write about seven to eight lines about what you saw, how you felt, what you learned and how this experience will help you (🆕 use new words learned in your writing). Use OneNote to make a ☑checklist, inquire about the quantity of each item, estimate the cost (💲make note of actual cost to help you see how well you had estimated) and carry your own bags. While at the store, notice what others are doing while shopping and pick some ideas 💡 for being a good shopper (👉 reading labels, exploring product options, being courteous). Don’t forget to reward yourself with a small treat for a job well done and be a wise shopper! (Wise shoppers not only choose wisely, but learn from their experience by writing reflective journals, just the way we do in class, using key pointers and descriptive words). Have fun as you learn to communicate independently, think critically, make great decisions and conduct yourself in public!

Material Needed:

Grocery bags 🛍, phone/tablet 📲 with grocery list, accompanying adult 🚺

Links to supporting information:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=beaoMedIZyM

Skills this activity supports:

Thinking, social, communication, visual comprehension, self-management, observation, making informed decisions, writing skills, mathematical skills of estimation, calculating and money handling, mindfulness, Inquiry and research

#8

From: Jane Fellows

Country: USA

Twitter handle: @STSKindergarten

Ages: 3 – 12

Activity

To Market, to Market: Choose a recipe to make. Ask your child to make the list of ingredients needed and head to the store. Encourage the child to find the items on the list, weigh them if necessary, and even allow the child to use cash to pay. Head home and cook away!

Material Needed:

Pad of paper, pencil, and a pocketbook with cash

Links to supporting information:

https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/original-nestle-toll-house-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Skills this activity supports:

Measurement, money, following directions, phonics and handwriting, teamwork (and it’s fun and delicious!)

#9

From: Amy McGraw

Country: USA

Twitter handle: @amythird1

Ages: 6 – 10

Activity

Number of the Day: Determine a number for the day and have children decompose and represent that number in different ways (expanded form, written form, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction, tallies, array). Children could record their Number of the Day responses in a OneNote notebook.

Material Needed:

Paper, pencils, crayons or a Tablet PC like a Surface, Microsoft OneNote

Links to supporting information:

https://stthomasschool-my.sharepoint.com/personal/amy_mcgraw_stthomasschool_org/Documents/Number%20of%20the%20Day%201.docx

Skills this activity supports:

Number sense, critical thinking, mathematical representation

#10

From: Chamila Bandara

Country: Sri Lanka

Twitter handle: @chamila1pb

Ages: 5 – 13

Activity

Shapes around me: Ask your kids to see the things around them and identify the different shapes. For example: Triangular -mountains,roofs,windows,pyramids, etc. This observation helps students memorize different shapes and build up a connection between math and environment. You can also extend this activity to talk about why specific shapes are used for specific things.  For example: A triangular shape for roofs helps to shed water and snow easily and provides more space for the attic. This activity can be developed into scientific research.

Material Needed:

Paper and writing utensil to create journal

Links to supporting information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPFuoayWEys

Skills this activity supports:

Scientific process, knowledge of environment, observation skills, math

#11

From: Piia Martikainen

Country: Finland

Twitter handle: @PiiaMartikainen

Ages: 7 – 13

Activity

Estimating: Start a timer and start walking, running, or jumping. Estimate when you have moved for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and so forth, and stop the timer to see how accurate you have been. Or, mark a start point and start walking, running, or jumping and try to go 10 meters, 20 meters, etc. Mark the end point and measure how accurate you were.

Material Needed:

Timer, tape measure

Links to supporting information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkwwWy-lvFU

Skills this activity supports:

Estimation skills, math skills, concentration

#12

From: Jane Fellows

Country: usa

Twitter handle: @stskindergarten

Ages: 5 – 10

Activity

Jump into a good book: With your 5 -7 year-old children, read the chapter series, “The Kingdom of Wrenly” by Jordan Quinn. My kindergartners literally scream, “Awww!” when we finish a book. This series is fabulous and is full of fantasy and adventure. Reading aloud to children has endless benefits … too many to even list!

Material Needed:

Chapter book series, “The Kingdom of Wrenly” by Jordan Quinn

Links to supporting information:

http://simonandschusterpublishing.com/kingdom-of-wrenly/

Skills this activity supports:

Cozy times and enjoyment of good books, building a life long love of reading

#13

From: Phuti Ragophala

Country: South Africa

Twitter handle: @PhutiRagophala

Ages: 7 – 8

Activity

Sound it out: This lesson is about knowledge accumulation, pronunciation, and spelling of words using phonemes, not alphabets. Think of something to draw. After drawing write the name of what you’ve drawn, then pronounce it and spell it. Students learn to draw, spell, and pronounce words correctly .

Material Needed:

OneNote, painting app and voice recorder

Links to supporting information:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AoPijJ1phrIEgoESOSAI8PwMT39PMA

Skills this activity supports:

Creativity in drawing, communication and innovation

#14

From: Àngels Soriano

Twitter handle: @angelssoriano74

Ages: 6 – 12

 

Activity

Summer Diary: First, ask classmates to send postcards from their holiday travels (or select some online photos with Bing from different places) to create an album. Have the student invent a story or adventure to go with the picture. Use dictation in Word to have the student speak the story aloud, or have them type it themselves. They can use Immersive Reader to have their story read back to them to check for mistakes.

Material Needed:

Postcard, diary (paper), the postcard and a mobile device to record the tale

Links to supporting information:

https://postalesdelmundo.org

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Learning-Tools-to-improve-reading-and-writing-skills-735fc6ea-21eb-401a-9293-4a481ef7e482

Skills this activity supports:

Empathy, creativity and communication skills

#15

From: Steven Ronsijn

Country: Belgium

Twitter handle: @Ronsst

Ages: 10 – 14

 

Activity

Comprehensive reading with creative portfolio: Every day, read one small article in a respected newspaper, whether online or paper, aloud together with your parent. Search for the meaning of one difficult word and put it into a digital format – one slide in PowerPoint per day is perfect. You can also make a creative word-cloud, a drawing, or a short story on paper. After a holiday period of about two months, children have an amazing digital or paper-based portfolio of about 30 difficult words. At the end of the holiday celebrate it with each kid by having them present their word!

Material Needed:

Newspaper (paper or digital), approx. 10 min / article / to select and read together with your kid, some book or computer with PowerPoint on it for the portfolio

Links to supporting information:

It’s something I’ve been doing with my two godchildren

Skills this activity supports:

Technical and comprehensive reading, vocabulary search, digital documentation, creativity

#16

From: Margaret Simkin

Country: Australia

Twitter handle: @margaretsimkin

Ages: 11 – 15.

 

Activity

Improve your world: Think about the problems facing our planet, your town, your street or somewhere else you know well. Choose one problem and describe it for others who may not know about it. Suggest one or two ways in which this problem could be solved or lessened. Your response can be in words, sketches, photographs, or any other creative form.

Material Needed:

Dependent on choice of product, problem, and solution

Links to supporting information:

http://www.teachsdgs.org/resources.html

Skills this activity supports:

Observation, creativity, innovation

#17

From: Haya Jahanzeb

Country: Pakistan

Twitter handle: @hayajahanzeb

Ages: 6 – 13

Activity

Math in the kitchen: While preparing lunch or dinner, ask kids to help you. For example, say: “I have a recipe for two servings but we are four of us (no.of family members you have). Help me write a recipe for four servings instead of two (ratio and proportion).” Next, ask them to pass you the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe, for example: “Could you please pass me half a cup of water and three quarters of a cup of flour?” Guide them to take a cup, add the required amount of ingredients as mentioned in the recipe, and pass it to you.

Material Needed:

Writing pad, pen or pencil, kitchen equipment (spoons, cups etc), recipes.

Links to supporting information:

https://mathgeekmama.com/lets-get-cooking-math-fun-in-the-kitchen/

Skills this activity supports:

Observation, computation, analytical and mathematical concept learning

#18

From: Juhi Taneja

Country: India

Twitter handle: @juhi0212

Ages: 10 – 14

Activity

Collect Data: Conduct an online survey on any problem you see in society or your town, or collect data in person from friends in your neighborhood. This will help build a research-based understanding of your chosen problem and provide insights to possible solutions. Free online surveys like Microsoft Forms and surveymonkey.com can be used.

Material Needed:

Internet connection and computer, laptop

Links to supporting information:

http://forms.office.com

https://www.surveymonkey.com/

Skills this activity supports:

Research based learning, inquiry-based learning, information analysis, organization of data

#19

From: Amanda Calitz

Country: Botswana

Twitter handle: @AmandaCalitz

Ages: 7 – 10

Activity

Investigate on the lawn: Go outside and cordon off a square of about 20cm by 20cm in your yard. Try to find all the life forms in that block (ants, spiders, etc.) and make a record of it in a journal. Go back a few days in a row and do the same. Discuss and think about why the life forms are moving around, etc.

Material Needed:

String, journal, magnifying glass.

Links to supporting information:

www.lifelab.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/4thGradeHabitats2012.pdf

Skills this activity supports:

Observation, science

#20

From: Joel Mills

Country: United Kingdom

Twitter handle: @iLearningUK

Ages: 6 – 13

 

Activity

Minecraft fun: Build a house with your child in Minecraft. You will enter their world and begin new conversations about materials, decoration, and style. You will also remember how to play creatively, for they will show you how. House made of wool? Why not? Watermelon flooring? Sure! Cobweb smoke out of the fire? Yup!

Material Needed:

Minecraft: Education Edition on a tablet or phone

Links to supporting information:

education.minecraft.net

Skills this activity supports:

Creativity, communication, problem solving

#21

From: James Butler

Country: United States

Twitter handle: @edtech_tusd

Ages: Any

Activity

Living Museum/Cookout: Read a book or watch a movie set in a distinct time period. Have each participant find one artifact from that time period, such as a landline telephone from the ’70s. Each participant will research their artifact, dress appropriately for the time period, and delivers a presentation about the artifact to people you’ve invite to a cookout. The cookout should have food from the correct time period. Each child could find a different recipe from the time period. Guests of the cookout will have an opportunity to try each food while each child is at their “stations,” displaying and talking about their artifacts.

Material Needed:

Artifact from time period chosen. Food authentic to time period/culture and where possible, wardrobe appropriate for time period chosen.

Links to supporting information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_museum

Skills this activity supports:

Communication, critical thinking

#22

From: Dean Vendramin

Country: Canada

Twitter handle: @vendi55

Ages: 8 – 15

 

Activity

City Planner: Have kids go out and explore a green space in their neighborhood. While walking around discuss what they would design, such as a play structure, bird feeder, or a structure that would promote activity or nature in that space. Back at home they would create their design in Minecraft: Education Edition. Next, they’ll export the design with 3D building capability and import that into the Mixed Reality Viewer to see how their design would look in that green space. After that, they could post their designs to get feedback from experts on their ideas.

Material Needed:

Camera/phone, Minecraft Education Edition, Mixed Reality Viewer

Links to supporting information:

education.minecraft.net

Skills this activity supports:

STEM skills, design, architecture

#23

From: Gordana Novak

Twitter handle: @gordana_novak

Ages: All ages

Activity

History – Geography: Take some time to explore and learn about UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Get a map of the United States or any other country and mark off all UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. Then choose a few that seem interesting to you and learn about them. If possible visit one of the sites you learned about and write a journal about your experience and what you learned! Parents, if you feel comfortable post it on social media to share with your friends.

Material Needed:

A map of the country, stickers, paper and writing utensil to create journal

Links to supporting information:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/patrimonito/

Skills this activity supports:

Geographic, history, knowledge of environment, observation, writing skills

#24

From: Patricia R. Stokes

Country: United States

Twitter handle: @patriciaragan1

Ages: 14-18

 

Activity

Personal Finance: Use the rule of 72 to determine how long it would take to double a student’s investment.  First, research current interest rates on money market and Certificate of Deposit (CD) accounts.  Select the highest one found.  Then, use the rule of 72:  Divide 72 by the current interest rate = number of years to double money.  For example: a CD at a rate of 6% will double in 12 years.  72 / 6 = 12 years to double initial investment ($3,000 would be $6,000 in 12 years)

Material Needed:

Internet and a calculator

Links to supporting information:

https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/core-finance/interest-tutorial/compound-interest-tutorial/v/the-rule-of-72-for-compound-interest

Skills this activity supports:

Finance, saving money

#25

From: Pekka Ouli

Country: Finland

Twitter handle: @pekkaouli

Ages: 15+

Activity

Write about it: Make a learning diary about your summer job. By using OneNote you can easily make private notes while also sharing a notebook about what you have done and what you have learned with others. Describe how recycling is done or how work safety is ensured. You will begin to see that learning can happen way beyond a classroom! Use your own style and be creative when sharing your own thoughts!

Material Needed:

Smartphone

Links to supporting information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjCXmKMiZqo

Skills this activity supports:

Critical thinking

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