Category Archives: Summer Learning Tips

Join Stride This Summer on Social Media for Your Chance to Win!

always learning

As we close another school year and welcome summer, LTS Education Systems and Stride invite you to take part in our #AlwaysLearning #STRIDE campaign on social media!

While you set your sights on summertime, don’t forget to seize the many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. (And remind your students and your own children to do the same!) Summer is a big, blue sky full of possibilities to expand your horizons and bring back newfound knowledge to share when you return in the Fall!

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Join Stride in #AlwaysLearning on Social Media!

As in past summers, LTS and Stride will continue to support summer learning by sharing fun tips and activities on our social media channels. This summer, we want to encourage you and your students to share the unique ways that you are “always learning” by participating in our #alwayslearning #STRIDE campaign!

It’s easy. Simply show how you and your students (or children) are learning over the summer in summer programs, in your community, at home or on vacation. Post your summer learning pictures or video clips to our LTS social media channels (click on the links below), and be sure to use the hashtags #alwayslearning #STRIDE!






Three Winners Will Receive Gift Certificates for Fandango!

LTS and Stride will award $25 Fandango movie gift cards for the BEST entries (pictures or video clips) in three categories:

  1. Most Original Summer Learning Idea
  2. Learning Through Travel
  3. Summer Learning At Home / In Your Own Backyard

Submit your entries through July 31, 2015. Winners will be determined by an LTS panel of judges on August 1, 2015. To submit an entry, simply post your picture or video to one of our LTS social media channels (shown above). You must use the hashtags #alwayslearning and #STRIDE to be considered. DOUBLE your chances of winning by tagging your friends in your post and challenging them to participate!

If you need assistance, please contact Amy Frith at

We look forward to seeing your summer learning ideas, and wish you the best summer ever!

Chalk It Up

Sidewalk chalk ignites the imagination and is fun for all ages. Since summer is here, it’s time to get outside and create fun summer learning opportunities for your child.  Here are some fun and simple activities to encourage math, reading and science using sidewalk chalk.


  1. Sidewalk Bingo: Set up a bingo grid on the pavement and watch your child identify numbers as he/she completes a bingo. Celebrate a bingo with a cool, summer treat!
  2. Counting Ladder: Draw a number ladder and have your child count as they move up and down the ladder.
  3. Whip Into Shape: Call out different shapes and have your child draw them on the pavement.
  4. Tick Tock: Create a large, outdoor clock using sidewalk chalk and two sticks for the hands. Call out different times and have your child move the hands to represent that time.
  5. Number Splash: Write out numbers on the pavement and have your child toss a water balloon to the number that you call aloud.
  6. Problem Solved: Write out numbers on the pavement and give your child equations to solve to improve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills.  Have your child toss a bean bag to the correct answer.


  1. Jumping Letters: Write out letters of the alphabet on the pavement and have your child identify the letters as he/she jumps from letter to letter.
  2. Wordsmith: Have a list of words that your child can write out on the pavement to practice spelling.
  3. Storyteller: Write out a words on the pavement and ask your child to create a story using those words.
  4. Capitalization Connector: Write out upper and lower case letters on the pavement and have your child connect them to their match.
  5. Story Art: Have your child create their own piece of art using sidewalk chalk and ask them to describe what they drew by telling a story. For more difficulty, ask them to identify the characters, setting, plot, conflict, point of view and theme of their story.


  1. Shadow Art: Trace your child’s shadow early in the day and continue to check back throughout the day to see if it has moved.
  2. Life-sized Animals: Find out the sizes of different animals and help your child measure them on the pavement.  Ask them to use the sidewalk chalk to draw the body of the animal.

Garden-based Learning

Learning outside of the classroom can be fun, especially when it’s a hands-on experience. Summer is a perfect time to try out-of-the-box ideas to engage your kids in learning and help avoid the summer slide. Most kids love summer because they get to play outside. Why not try incorporating some learning experiences into those fun outdoor activities? A great idea to engage your kids is planting a garden. Even though the summer has started, it’s not too late to get started.

To start, decide what you want and where you are going to plant. Talk with your kids about things they like to eat and see if you can grow that at your home. Here is a list of fruits and vegetables in season. 

Next, head to your favorite lawn and garden center – like a local nursery, Lowes, Home Depot or Walmart – to pick out your plants, seeds, pots, soil and other supplies. Taking your kids with you to pick out the supplies will help them learn about various plants and what conditions are best for them to grow. It should get them excited to start gardening.

It’s time to get started! Digging in the dirt together is a great way to make family memories. It’s also a valuable teaching moment to explain that food comes from the ground and not the grocery store. Talk about the type of plants you purchased; how weather, bugs, sunlight and water affect growth; and what the results will be over time.

Benefits of planting a garden are that it allows your kids to have scientific discovery and learn basic life skills like nutrition, responsibility, patience, self-confidence, observation and exploration.

Kids learn about responsibility when they realize the work that must go into gardening. From planting seeds and picking weeds to daily watering, your kids will learn that hard work and being responsible are required for a thriving crop.

As your kids observe and discover the growth process of your plants, it allows them to anticipate and be patient as the evidence of their hard work unfolds before their eyes. Once your fruits and vegetables begin to produce, use this guide to help know when it’s ripe enough to pick.

Praising your kids for their hard work is a great way to reinforce confidence in them and help build character. Most importantly have fun and use this gardening experience as a way to have quality time with your kids!

Summer Camp Guide to Avoid Summer Learning Loss

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School is out and your children are ready for summer fun! You may have already planned out your summer, but in case you haven’t, there are great opportunities throughout the country for your children’s ongoing education through summer camps and activities.

Your child may think that summer means a break from learning, but with the threat of summer learning loss, it’s even more imperative to participate in summer learning opportunities. While standard learning happens in a classroom, it’s time to get creative and try new approaches to learning during the summer. There are many great summer camps and programs throughout the U.S. that you can enroll your child. These programs vary in length, activities and availability, but it’s a great place to start looking for your child’s summer enrichment!

American Camp Association: If you are looking for an overnight camp, day camp, family camp or a camp for adults, the American Camp Association makes it easy to access the camp that best meets your family needs for the summer, including a list of suggested questions to ask yourself when choosing a camp.

College Sports Camps: If your children love college sports and want to learn from their favorite coaches, check out the College Sports Camps website to find the right sport camp hosted on the campuses of colleges and universities across the U.S.

Camp Page: Are you looking for an easy way to find a particular camp for your child? If it’s adventure, academic, sports, art or technology you are looking for, then Camp Page is right place for you! It is a great resource to help you locate the right camp that meets your child’s interests.

Camp Resource: Camp Resource makes your search for co-ed camps, boy’s camps and girl’s camps easy! With a variety of camps listed by category – adventure camps, performing arts and fine arts camps, sports camps, academic camps and technology camps, you will find the perfect camp for your child in no time!

My Summer Camps: My Summer Camps is a great resource directory that allows you to search for camps according to age, type and location. They have a great list of camps to help you find the right summer camp for your child or family!

YMCA: YMCA’s across the country offer various activities for your child to participate over the summer.  At your local YMCA, your child can participate in swimming lessons, the summer food program and recreational and learning activities. One of the best things the YMCA offers during the summer is camp. Whether it’s an overnight camp, day camp or specialty camp you’re looking for, the YMCA has it! Check out their website to find a YMCA camp near you!

Vacation Planner

Learning loss is a real threat to any student during the summer months. As summer days continue and scheduled learning opportunities decrease, we want to provide you with Summer Learning Fun Tips to engage your child in summer learning opportunities.

Summer often allows for family vacation opportunities. Are you planning to go somewhere this summer? If so, use this vacation as a chance for your child to learn.

Here are some simple ways to engage your child in planning your vacation and see positive results in learning over the summer…

Start by asking your child to help plan an activity or outing during your family vacation. If you are going somewhere out of state, ask your child to do some research beforehand. For example, if you are going to the Grand Canyon, ask your child to go online and find information about the national park – location, history, and things to do. Going to their website is a great place to start. Allowing your child to research will help in reading and interpretive skills.

After researching the area, ask your child to pick one activity to plan during your vacation. If you are heading to San Francisco, it could be planning a night at AT&T Park watching the Giants play, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge or riding a ferry over to historic Alcatraz Island. No matter where you go, you will want to set the budget ahead of time and talk about realistic expectations for a family vacation activity. This will allow your child to practice real-life planning and math application.

Encourage learning about geography and ask your child to help you plan the travel logistics. If you have access to an Atlas or an online map, use it to figure out how you will get to your destination. Look at different modes of travel – car, bus, train, plane – and decide together which is the best way for your family. This will help your child learn about distance and time.

The more you can involve your child in the planning process, the more opportunities your child will have to learn and try something new. The more ownership you give, the more your child will appreciate the trip knowing that he/she had a role in making it happen. That’s a win, win situation!

It’s time for you to get started planning your next family vacation and incorporating easy learning opportunities for your child. Let us know how the “Vacation Planner” worked for your family!


Image courtesy of Ace Clip Art


Summer Reading Programs

As schools break for the summer, you may be thinking, “How am I going to help my child learn all summer long?” It’s a challenge to create a plan that you can stick to and enjoy throughout the summer. To help you with summer learning, we have found some great Summer Reading Programs that your child can participate in for FREE with prizes available for participating! 

Photo Credit: By vargklo via Wikimedia Commons and By Geographer at en.wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

Barnes and Noble is a great place to find books on your reading list, plus they have activities and scheduled readings throughout the week that you and your child can enjoy. (Check out your local Barnes and Noble for the weekly reading schedule). From May 20th until September 2nd, you can participate in their summer reading program to earn a FREE BOOK! Here is how you can participate:

  1. Read 8 books this summer and record what you read in the reading journal located here.
  2. Take your completed reading journal into your local Barnes and Noble store by September 2, 2014. Find a store.
  3. Choose your FREE BOOK from the list provided on the reading journal.

pottery barn kids

From now until August 26th, read books on Pottery Barn Kid’s summer reading list and qualify for prizes! Here is how to participate:

  1. Download the PBK bookmark for a list of summer reading books. You can download one here
  2. Read all summer long and use this progress tracker to track your child’s reading.
  3. Visit your local PBK store to receive a FREE BOOK and enter for the chance to win prizes.  Find a store.

Chuck E Cheese

Looking for a fun and active way to reward your child? Participate in Chuck E. Cheese’s Reading Rewards and receive 10 FREE TOKENS at your next visit.  Here is how to participate:

  1. Download and print out the Reading Rewards calendar here
  2. Mark off the days your child reads with a pen or sticker.
  3. Bring in your completed calendar to your local Chuck E. Cheese’s to receive your 10 free tokens. Find a store.


The Spark Your Greatness Summer Reading Challenge with Pizza Hut is almost underway.  From June 1 through August 15, 2014, your child can read 5 books and be eligible to win great prizes from Pizza Hut!  Check out the details here!


We hope that these Summer Reading Programs are great and easy ways to get your child reading this summer.


Rewards for Reading

I can remember the last two weeks of summer, soaking up the last little bit of sunshine before heading back to school. Often, those last two weeks of summer were busy because I still had to complete my summer reading assignments before the first day of school. Cramming to read three assigned books in two weeks was not my type of leisure reading. I would often enjoy the required reading wondering why I waited so late into the summer to begin. Each summer I vowed to start earlier.

With summer just around the corner, I want to share a fun and insightful way to tackle summer reading rather than waiting to cram at the end of the summer and repeat the mistakes of my childhood. Go ahead and encourage your children to start reading their summer reading now with Rewards for Reading. This is a great way to get a jump start on reading and make it fun.  Rewards for Reading starts by knowing what books your child needs to read during the summer (or which ones you would like your child to read) and creating a reading schedule to correspond with the timeline.

It can be as simple as you wish to make it or as elaborate as you choose. Here is a template that you can edit and print to make your own reading schedule this summer.  Summer Reading Calendar

June Calendar 3

The best part of Rewards for Reading are the rewards. Don’t we all love getting prizes for achieving our goals! The rewards can be as simple or as grand as you like. You’re the parent. You decide.  A great way to give rewards are to set goals. At specific points throughout the week, you can give a reward for achieving a set goal. There are different ways to give rewards, but a few of my favorite are:

  • Create a prize bag. Wrap up small prizes and put them in a visible place for your child to see.  Once he/she receives a reward point, let him/her choose any prize from the bag.
  • Create a summer reading calendar to reward your child. For each day an assignment is completed, your child receives a piece of candy in the window/pocket.
  • Write notes of encouragement to your child and give them as a reward. You could also include family and friends to write notes of encouragement.
  • Give “coupons” as rewards – for example, “Use this coupon to watch an extra hour of television,” or “Use this coupon to pick a restaurant for dinner.”

Now that you have some easy steps to encourage your child’s summer reading, it’s time to get started!