Department of Defense Education Activity

Content Adventures

Explore these content adventure ideas for fun and engaging examples on how to help keep students motivated and learning this summer. Select the content area below to start your search!

Adventures in Early Learning (Pre-Kindergarten)

  • Visit the local library and check out books to read with your child. If local libraries are closed, consider accessing eBooks and other digital resources using DoDEA online libraries and databases.
  • Have your child draw a picture of their favorite character from a book that you read together.
  • Help your child put on a play and act out their favorite book. • Recycle materials to make props for your play.
  • Use Google to search for Ooey Gooey Recipes for Kids then try one each week with your child. These activities grow children’s vocabulary, mathematics, fine motor skills and more.
  • Take a neighborhood walk and talk about the letters and numbers that you see in the everyday environment. Help your child find the letters in their name.
  • Explore at home learning experiences at Healthy at Home and Creative Curriculum Studies at Home.

Adventures in Writing

WritingFor Grades K-5

Provide your child with a stamped addressed postcard or envelope addressed to you or someone important in your child’s life to write (or draw and write) a note about their summer adventures.

Great writing ideas for the summer include Nature Journals, Recipe Share, Travel Brochure, Make a Magazine, and Write to Your Favorite Author.

For Grades 6-12

  • Create a personal journal about your experiences with the COVID-19 (how you, your family and community are coping/changes you have had to make).
  • Design a brochure that provides teens with safety measures they can take to keep themselves healthy and safe.
  • Write reviews about movies, books or articles they have read
  • Create a blog or Vlog or website as a space to share positive, helpful ideas on current social events that are happening in your community
  • Create a video or photo journal of activities that you do to share with someone else
  • Find a pen-pal in another country and exchange ideas about your experiences with him/her.

Adventures in Reading


For Grades K-5

  • Make it a ritual and read to your child every night. If either you or your spouse is deployed – create a video having him/her reading a favorite book to your child. Your child can read along every evening.
  • Have your child create a video reading a book to share with a deployed parent or a friend or family member who they don’t see often.
  • Create summer trading cards about characters in books as a fun and interactive way for your child to dig deeper into reading. Index cards work great or your kids might enjoy using an online Trading Card Creator from a Google search.
  • Join a summer reading program and Read! Read! Read!
  • Download the Overdrive app and log on for SYNC - a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. SYNC gives away two complete audiobook downloads a week - pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes.
  • Take advantage of reading programs at your local library. If local libraries are closed, consider accessing eBooks and other digital resources using DoDEA online libraries and databases

For Grades 6-12

  • Organize a book club. Organize a teen book club based on a particular theme, such as sports or love. Organize a novel and film club where teens discuss the books and watch the film adaptations. Host a theme party associated with the book, or ask your library to start a book club for teens.
  • Make reading an event. Why not read a popular novel such as Julie and Julia together, see the movie, and whip up a dish from Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking?
  • Start visiting book and author-related blogs where teens come together to discuss books. Writers like Laurie Anderson, whose titles are wildly popular with young adult readers, have websites where teens can read and chat about the books they and their peers are reading.
  • Read together. Have your teen recommend a book for you, and you can in turn recommend a book for your teen. After you have both read each other’s selections, set aside a special time for talking about the books.
  • Chat and Chew. Work with your teen to organize a special “tea party or social” where they discuss books read as they snack on their favorite foods.
  • Watch the movie. Ever hear the expression, "The film was good, but the book was better"? Well, find out! Sometimes a teen will be motivated to read a book because they liked the movie-or because a well-known film is coming out based on a book.
  • Challenge your teen to post reviews on their social media account to encourage their friends and followers to read and comment on shared texts.
  • Visit this site to learn more about great summer reads for young adults available at your local bookstore Best Summer Reading Book List for Young Adults.

Adventures in Social Studies


For Grades K-12

  • Encourage your child to be an active citizen by participating in community service activities in the local or global community. Online you can find great ideas for kids to “zoom” into action.
  • Read about the world at a news site for kids. Ask your kids to write down questions about the news to ask at dinner, in the car, or at another time when some of the family is together.
  • Take time in the summer to explore local historic sites and museums. Students in the Americas, the Pacific, and in Europe have incredible learning opportunities inside and outside of the gate. If the museums are closed, museums around the world are providing virtual museum tours.
  • Another opportunity to explore the community is with Geocaching. You can find out more about Geocaching by an internet search with the key word "Geocaching" and the name of your community. Geocaching is an opportunity to explore the community while social distancing.
  • Use the summer to learn about the stock market. Your student can select a few stocks to track and determine how their money would have done if they had actually invested. An internet search with the key words "Stock Market Game" or "Economics for Kids" to find links to resources to support your student in learning about economic policy and the stock market. If your child has a job over the summer consider having them open an account at local bank.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Presents: Online History Camp (Elementary) and Online History School (Secondary). Gilder Lehrman is pleased to offer new courses for the summer months for elementary, middle, and high school students. The Gilder Lehrman Online History School for middle and high school students and the Gilder Lehrman Online History Camp for elementary school students both provide engaging live interactive lessons by Master Teachers.  The goal is to engage students and excite them about history so they leave each lesson more knowledgeable about a new idea, theme, document, or pivotal moment in history. Registration is now open.

Adventures in Science

For Grades K-12

  • Learning in Places This website has a series of science learning engagements for families to do in their local neighborhood or community.
  • Grow a garden/plants in pots and build your child’s research, writing, and reading skills. Make a science notebook and have your child record the observations of the plant growth.
  • While many venues are closed, virtual tours may be available on the venue’s website. Visit the zoo and learn about the animals and their habitats. Use the zoo map to work on map reading skills. Many zoos have webcams so you can make observations from home. Make a science notebook and have your child record the observations of the animals and plants.
  • Go on a Notice & Wonder walk together in your neighborhood or local community. Make observations and collect rocks, leaves, bugs, etc. Research, read and write about the collection. Sort and classify the collection based on the properties (size, shape, color, texture, etc.). Use the link below as a guide for these daily or weekly observations to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices of making and recording observations, asking questions, and obtaining and communicating information.
  • Use a science notebook to record daily observations of the weather and changes in the sky. Be sure to check the moon each night and record the changes observed over time.
  • Encourage your child to think like an engineer by creating a blueprint to design a bridge or a vehicle using household items (such as straws, pasta, playdough, notecards, paper, tape, crackers, etc.). After completing the design process, your young engineer can construct the project using the household objects. Next, they should test their design (test the bridge to see how much weight it will hold; test the vehicle to see how far it will travel). Using the results of the test, challenge them to improve their design.
  • Discovery Education is available for students to explore a wide range of topics and channels that may be of interest to them.


Adventures in Math

For Grades K-5

  • Look for patterns and repeating numbers/shapes/words in daily activities – for example every sentence in the book they read starts with “There was a”, every flower on a plant in the garden has 5 petals, or boxes are made out of rectangles.
  • Have your 3rd -5th grade children help read a recipe, measure ingredients, and halve/double the recipe to practice how fractions and measurement are used in real-world situations.
  • Use playing cards to play a variety of counting and computation games – some examples can be found by an online search using the keywords Math Games with a Deck of Cards.
  • Practice basic addition and subtraction facts using games, dice, counters, etc.
    • entering 1st Grade – Facts to 5
    • entering 2nd Grade – Facts to 10
    • entering 3rd Grade – Facts to 20
    • entering 4th and 5th Grade - Multiplication and Division facts

abacusFor Grades 6-8

  • Provide problem solving situations for students to practice adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals (For example: money, percent off, tax, tip)
  • Use Khan Academy for personalized help with grade level content.
  • Use NCTM Illuminations-Interactives to practice middle school fluency
    • Algebra Tiles, Pan Balance (Algebraic Thinking)
    • Pick-A-Path (Operations with Integers)
    • Plotter-The-Penguin (Coordinate Graphing)

Adventures in Music

For grade K-12

  • Dance to the Music: One of the best ways to feel music is through dance. Whenever you have a chance, put on your favorite music and dance with your kids. Or, find music that you have never heard before and dance to it. If it is music that has a catchy rhythm, guide your child to move to the music and dance with them. If the music is obscure, let your child interpret the music based on what they hear. Then, ask what they did and why.
  • Family Music Playlist: Take a few minutes to sit down as a family, or on your own, and make a music playlist. Make sure everybody in your family contributes to the list. As you listen to the songs, ask each other what you hear and share what you know about the tune. If you don’t know, take a few minutes and look up some facts to share.
  • Go to a Concert: In the summer free concerts are just about everywhere. They can be found at local festivals, fairs, parks, and community centers. Of course, many of these venues feature our military bands. Find local concerts and go enjoy them. At the end of the concert, take a few minutes and ask your child what they heard and experienced at the event.
  • Dig Deeper: For those wanting to sharpen their musical skills, your child can learn new music on their instrument or sing new songs, which will make them a better musician. To do this, have your child look for music that they are interested in and learn it, which can be done by ear, using sheet music, or by tablature. If it is a popular tune, YouTube can be used as a resource to find music tutorials. Students can also hone in their theory skills by looking at resources like

Adventures in Art

For Grades K-12Watercolors

  • Visit a Blue Star Museum. Blue Star Museums are a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. If you can’t find a museum near you - your child can explore and create at the National Gallery of Art online.

Adventures in World Languages

For Grades 7-12

  • Download a world language application from your smartphone’s store (Apple Store for IOs-based phones or Google Play for Android-based phones) in the language your child is studying and practice on the app together; your may want to ask your child to help you if you speak that language! Work together on common phrases and vocabulary, and try to have conversations only in that language.
  • Visit the Google Google's Arts and Culture webpage, and with your child, visit some of the museums and places of interest that can be found related to the country(ies) where the language your child is studying is the native language. Ask your child to write a paragraph about what he/she liked the most about each virtual visit (if the student’s level of proficiency in the language of study is low, they can write it in English; all others should try to write it in the language they are studying, and they can use a dictionary.
  • Suggest to your child that he/she can visit the tourism pages created by countries where the language your child is studying is the official language. Have her/him explain to you what are the main tourist features of that country.

Adventures for English Language Learners (ELL) in English

For Grades K-12

  • From online newspapers, online comics (in English or in your native language) several reading selections, that are appropriate for his/her age and grade level, but that are also of a high-interest topic to your child, and that are of low reading difficulty. Examples from newspapers are: advertisements, articles with maps or illustrations; weather reports or short articles. An example of online comics website is:
  • Consider asking your child to keep a “What I Did During the Summer” diary in English and/or in your first language. Have him/her write brief sentences or paragraphs describing what they are doing every week, and accompany the writing with drawings, photos or “little things” (objects like seashells or menus from restaurants) that you picked up during your summer adventures!
  • When you go to a restaurant, ask for the menu in English and ask your child to read the menu items to you. Then they can ask the server or the chef about the ingredients of their favorite dish, and the method of preparation.

Adventures in Advanced Placement

For Grades 9-12

  • In preparation for your college-level students in Advanced Placement, go to the College Board’s Advanced Placement website to learn about your course and about the AP exam that you will take in May.
  • The Khan Academy is the official practice partner for AP so this summer you can get ahead.
  • Many teachers and students have YouTube channels to help prepare students through a variety of AP courses. Many of these are fun and engaging ways to preview the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the course and the exam. Search YouTube for course-specific channels and preview your upcoming courses.

Adventures for AVID

For Grades 6-12

  • Organization is key for success, so this summer plan for the year ahead by arranging a study space and committing to reserve time each week to studying in addition to homework time!
  • Sure it is summer but time management is important all year long. Download a time management chart to see where your time goes! You can find charts here or google it to find one that works for you.
  • AVID students must enroll in courses of rigor in addition to the AVID elective. Practice your skills in preparation of these challenging classes at the Khan Academy.
  • Make sure you are on track for college admissions at Choices360 or Big Future.

Adventures in Career and Technical Education (CTE)

For Grades 6-12

  • Job shadow a career professional to explore the world of work.
  • Brush up on their coding skills by engaging in lessons on
  • Pick up a new hobby. Companies are seeking employees that are well-rounded.
  • Develop a video summary of your summer experiences using
  • Learn to manage their personal finances. Explore opening a savings and/or checking account at a local bank.
  • Create a mobile app using
  • Check out a Copy of STEM GEMS by Stephany Espy at your local library. Read about 44 women in 44 diverse STEM careers.
  • Explore additional career skills using a free online learning tool, such as
  • Volunteer! Civic responsibility through volunteerism shows to potential employers that students are willing to go above and beyond.
  • Practice programming for intelligent systems using
  • Take a career interest inventory within the Choices360 program.
  • Use their digital editing skills to create a travel blog and/or vlog.
  • Take a free interactive online course on molecular gastronomy through Harvard University. Your child will “wow” family and friends as he or she learns the latest trends in modern cuisine.