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Making the Most of Summertime

After a challenging year, resources to help you use your summer downtime to the fullest
Sun over ocean illustration

In summers past, here at Usable Knowledge we’ve covered everything from summer camp to summer school to the importance of downtime. As educators, students, and families start to wrap-up an unprecedented school year, we’ve looked through our archives and selected some timeless summer reading (and listening) material to help you think about how to use this time…   


  • Home-based activities, like getting through that summer reading list or working through math problems together, seems to have a greater influence on children’s academic growth than summer camps or vacations. 
  • Opportunities for enrichment don’t have to be expensive, rigorously structured, or intensely academic. For some simple, slower-paced activities that can enrich a child’s summer, listen to this episode of the Harvard EdCast
  • Did you know that it’s easier for students from all socioeconomic background to forget what they learned in math over the summer than it is for them to lose reading skills? Here are four ways to beat summer math loss
  • For older students, summer internships can be a way to apply their skills in a professional context. But not all students access job-related learning equally. Here are some ways to rethink summer internships
  • Out-of-school programs can also create enriching experiences. Here’s one example of a program from the Education Redesign Lab’s By All Means consortium and Somerville Public Schools that’s taken these lessons to heart. For more on what summer schools can and can’t do, take a listen to this episode of the Harvard EdCast


  • This year, more so than any other, teachers need to take time to reset. This simple summer playbook helps educators think about letting this past year go and getting ready for the upcoming school year. 
  • Worried about striking the right balance between unwinding and achieving? We’ve got some ideas to help you do both! 
  • Here are five ways to recenter yourself and show gratitude for all  your minds and bodies have done to get you through this past year. 


  • Racing bikes, building forts and sandcastles… Here is what happens when you leave openness and flexibility for the imagination or to play with everyday objects in unique ways. 
  • Make it a lazy summer! We share three broad categories for wellbeing, including playtime, that help kids become happy and healthy adults. 
  • Don’t forget about the social-emotional learning that happens when kids engage in play — it’s just as important as academic skills! Camp is a great way to support crucial social-emotional skills like making new friends, being part of a team, trying new things, and other great lessons from camp

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