Department of Defense Education Activity

Summertime Learning Adventures

School may be out for the summer, but summer is a great opportunity to involve children in different kinds of fun summertime learning adventures.


Let the Adventure Begin at Our Information Centers (Library)

Libraries IconRemember our Digital Libraries are available all summer! Please make sure you have a username and password before you leave for the summer. If you don’t already have one please, check with your information specialist and they will be able to help you.

If you attend school in:

Americas      Europe      Pacific

Adventures in Early Learning

  • Visit the local library and check out books to read with your child.
  • Have your child draw a picture of their favorite character of 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 and fine motor skills to name a few.
  • Take a neighborhood walk and talk about the letters and numbers that you see in the in the everyday environment. Help your child find the letters in their name.

Adventures in Writing

WritingProvide 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.

Adventures in Reading


  • 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.

Adventures in Social Studies


  • 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. Challenge your students to map it out. 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.
  • 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.

Adventures in Science

  • Grow a garden 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.
  • Visit the zoo and learn about the animals and their habitats. Use the zoo map to work on map reading skills. If you don’t have a zoo near your base search online for a zoo with a webcam so your child can be part of the action. Make a science notebook and have your child record the observations of the animals and plants.
  • Go on a nature walk together and collect rocks, leaves, bugs, etc. and research, read and write about the collection. Sort and classify the collection based on the properties (size, shape, color, texture, etc.).
  • 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.beaker
  • 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.

Adventures in Math

  • 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


Current 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

  • 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 you 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

  • WatercolorsVisit 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

  • 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 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.
  • 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 (EL) in English

  • Visit your school’s Information Center and ask the Information Specialist to help you select books for your child that are written in English, that are appropriate for his/her age and grade level, but that are also of high-interest to the child, and of low reading difficulty.
  • 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” that you picked up during your summer adventures!

Adventures in Advanced Placement

Adventures for AVID

  • 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

  • Consider participating in a summer apprenticeship program.
  • 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.
  • Learn to manage their personal finances. Explore opening a savings and/or checking account at a local bank.
  • Check out a Copy of STEM GEMS by Stephany Espy at your local library. Read about 44 women in 44 diverse STEM careers.
  • Volunteer! Civic responsibility through volunteerism shows to potential employers that students are willing to go above and beyond.
  • Take a career interest inventory within the Choices360 program.
  • Use their digital editing skills to create a travel blog and/or vlog.
  • Enroll in a JROTC Summer Cadet Leadership course. Instructor approval required.

To 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.