If you’re looking for a simple, affordable solution to keep your kids excited about learning this summer, you’ll love our favorite summer workbooks for kids!
Note: This post includes affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if purchases are made through those links. Please see my full disclosure to learn more.
Summer’s almost upon us, and I’m looking forward to lots of trips to the park, days at the pool, and long hours listening to the clatter of Legos being shuffled around as my kids let their imaginations go wild.
But as much as I want my kids to have a carefree and fun-filled summer, I also want to make sure they keep learning while they’re out of school.
The summer slide is real, people.
What IS the summer slide?
“Summer slide” refers to the learning loss that occurs over the summer months while kids are out of school (Scholastic). Kids aren’t engaged in the same rigor of academic learning in the summertime, so they forget some of the knowledge and skills that they developed during the previous year.
It’s normal…but it’s not completely inevitable.
When you choose to invest just a little bit of time each day into learning with your child, you help prevent these learning losses.
Our solution to the summer slide
Several years ago, I was looking for a simple summer learning solution for my own family. I spotted the Brain Quest summer workbooks during one of my many trips to Costco and decided to give them a try.
My son loved sitting down and “doing school” with his workbook over the summer, and we’ve been using them every summer since!
Honestly, my kids look forward to them. In fact, earlier this week my four-year-old asked me, “Mommy, when do I get my summer book?”
When they arrived in the mail, you would have thought it was Christmas at my house! The boys all grabbed their books and immediately sat down to thumb through them and see what adventures were in store for them. Seriously, they are so bummed I won’t let them start until summer break officially starts.
Why we love the Brain Quest summer workbooks for kids
- It’s an all-in-one solution. Each book covers math, literacy, science, social studies, and more. Kids may not do every subject every day, but if they do one “level” per week, they’ll get a good variety of learning activities. I love that I can just hand them ONE book every day, and feel confident that over the course of the summer they are reviewing all their core academic skills. SIMPLE is key.
- The activities include lots of puzzles and games. Yes, there are math problems and reading comprehension passages throughout the books. But there are also riddles, secret codes, mazes, treasure maps, and coloring activities to keep kids excited to open up their workbooks each day and see what is waiting for them.
- It’s brilliant at motivating kids. There are lots of summer workbooks on the market, but this is by far the most kid-friendly one I have found. Each book comes with a summer progress map and stickers that kids can place on their map as they complete activities. You would not believe how motivating that is for my kids! Plus, kids get an additional sticker for completing each level and bonus stickers for completing various bonus questions throughout the book. Even my son who is usually not impressed by sticker charts LOVED the creativity of these maps.
- It’s more than just a workbook. In addition to all the workbook pages, each book also has a summer reading list recommendations, a mini deck of trivia cards, and an “outside quest” for each level to encourage kids to get outside and play! These books are so much more than just drilling academics. They really become a springboard into all the fabulous real-world exploration and creative play that I want for my kids during summer.
Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the pages:
Alright, now I’ve sung their praises, and hopefully the Amazon fairies are bringing one to your door as we speak, but what next? How do you get started using your Brain Quest workbook?
HOW we use these summer workbooks for kids
First, make it worth their while.
Every summer for the past several years, I have helped my boys set learning goals. We also offer an incentive for achieving their goals.
Your reward can be as big or as small as you like. Maybe it’s a water party with friends. Or a trip to a local children’s museum, waterpark, or zoo. The key is to make it something out of the ordinary…something you wouldn’t otherwise do.
Our reward is going to the amusement park (Lagoon) near where we live. We ONLY go once a year, so the boys are super motivated to earn this special day each summer.
To earn their trip to Lagoon, the boys have to do two things:
- Complete their entire summer learning workbook. I encourage them to complete one level each week.
- Read 20 minutes or more for 50 days. By the end of the summer, they have read for one thousand minutes! (We do this in conjunction with our library’s summer reading program.)
We intentionally keep these goals simple and doable. We want them to succeed.
Second, develop a routine.
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to make a plan of action. Make summer learning time part of your daily routine so that it’s easy to make it happen.
Most summer mornings, we pull out our workbooks around 9 a.m. and do our family learning time. For us, this works because it gives my boys a little time to play and eat breakfast in the morning, but it is earlier than we usually get together with friends, so we’re able to stay pretty consistent.
If mornings don’t work for you, pick a different time of day. Maybe you pull out the workbooks along with sandwiches at lunchtime. Or maybe you bring them along in the car on the way to summer camp. Just pick a time that will work for your schedule most days.
Note: I find that the earlier in the day we do our learning time, the better it goes. Waiting till the witching hour before dinnertime is a bit of a recipe for disaster.
How long does it take to do the workbooks each day:
It depends on the day, really.
Some activities take longer, like reading comprehension passages that require writing out sentences to answer. Other pages are SUPER fast. I allow my kids to do just one page if it’s a longer one, or they can breeze through 3-4 pages. Usually we aim to spend 10-20 minutes on our books. That’s NOT a lot, but it’s enough to keep their brains using the skills they developed in the school year.
And THAT is the goal.
I don’t want my kids spending a lot time during the summer doing worksheets. I want them to get outside, explore, play, and create! These bite-size assignments are just right for us.
Where to buy Brain Quest Summer Workbooks
Just make sure you’re buying the SUMMER workbook rather than the grade level workbook (those ones are longer and don’t have the sticker maps and outdoor challenges).
There you have it…our favorite summer workbooks for kids! Here’s to a simple and memorable summer. You’ve got this!
Want more summer learning ideas? Try these!