Summer is here! Welcome to the hot days of swimming in the sunshine and kids running barefoot at dusk catching fireflies. This is my favorite time of year. We love working in our garden in the summer watching things grow. Each day brings something new to observe. Summer is a perfect time to work alongside our kids modeling for them the kinds of work we do this time of year. Here are some ideas for important life skills for kids to learn in summer.
I have broken these down into two categories: skills to teach everyone and skills to teach kids according to age.
For more ideas an overall list, see 50 Life Skills That Should Be Taught At Home.
Video: Important Life Skills for Kids to Learn in Summer
Life Skills to Teach to Everyone
I don’t know about you, but when warmer weather comes, I want to be outside as much as possible! Of course, we still have inside work that needs to be done, but whether inside or outside, everyone learns more when we do it together!
Even if you have limited access to a pool, it is worth the effort to teach your kids how to swim. The more they are in the water, the more comfortable they will be with it and the more quickly they can learn to swim. Since we now live at a house with a pool, our kids have learned to swim quickly because they are in the water all the time. But even before we had a pool, we tried to take them to a pool as much as possible so they could learn.
Ok, so nobody is going to volunteer for this job! BUT it is a regular adult skill that needs to be done in summer. Unless you pay someone for your yard work, you will have to spend some time weeding if you care about the look of your property. If you have a vegetable or flower garden, you probably weed quite a bit.
It’s a good bet that my kids will likely complain when they have to weed. Even so, I have found that if we all go out together and set a timer (15 minutes or so), it seems less daunting to them. Even if they are not excited initially about weeding, by the time we are done, everyone is proud of how much better it looks! The visual reward itself is a great motivator.
Once the humidity sets in, we need to start up the dehumidifier in the basement. It needs to be changed every day. It is a small job, but an important job because it inhibits mold growth. We include this in our kids’ chores. Whoever is responsible for the basement chore that day has to remember that during the summer months, we also empty the dehumidifier.
What kinds of foods do you enjoy in summer? Involve your kids in the cooking preparation. Show them how to cut a watermelon or mango. Let them make their own popsicles trying out different recipes. If you make a pasta salad, they can help cut the vegetables, cheeses or meat, pour the dressing, and stir. Have smoothies for snack and let them decide what to put in it. If you preserve food from your garden or local market, include them in the work. Here are ideas for 7 Easy Foods to Preserve With Kids in Summer.
Have you tried gardening with your kids? Gardening not only teaches them where their food comes from, it helps them to see the discipline and care involved in nurturing plants. They learn what different plants need. Tomatoes need stakes, cucumbers grow up a trellis, basil needs to be picked or it will go to seed. When kids grow up around gardens, they quickly learn to identify many different vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
Life Skills For Summer by Age
Read a map
Recently our oldest son took a week’s vacation from his phone. During this time, he had no alternative but to use a map whenever he needed to go somewhere. Admittedly, he ended up looking up Google Maps at home and figuring it out, but it is still helpful to follow a route on a map. When you always follow a GPS, you only think in terms of the next step. Looking at a physical map helps you see places and routes in relation to each other. There’s a lot you can learn from observing a good old fashioned map!
It’s always a good time to teach teens how to budget and pay bills. Although most jobs offer direct deposit into your bank account, it can be helpful for teens to physically go into a bank to make a deposit or withdraw just to observe the process.
- Use a planner to manage their own schedule, especially once they start working.
- Calculate a tip.
- Fill car with gas.
Our kids get excited to think of ways that they can earn money. They have tried many things including a lemonade stand, a neighborhood bake sale, selling firewood, selling items on Ebay, and others. If they are interested, encourage your child to try a new way to make money this summer. Our kids are always so proud of themselves when they earn their own money.
Hang Clothes on Line
This is one on my to-do list. We do not currently have a clothes line. With a big family, I love my clothes dryer! Recently one of my kids asked me, “Can we get one of those ropes that you put across two poles and put your clothes on?” Embarrassed, I responded, “It’s called a clothes line and yes, we can get one of those!” Hanging clothes on a line is an old-fashioned skill, but it’s one kids might enjoy. And nothing smells fresher than clothes on the line!
As soon as you feel your kids are old enough and responsible enough, mowing the lawn not only teaches them a valuable skill, it’s also a huge help with the yard work!
Have your middle aged kids experiment with arranging flowers. They can pick flowers around the house and choose their own way to display them. Pinterest can give lots of ideas for this!
More Ideas …
- Set up a tent.
- Trim shrubs.
- Care for animals, learning how often and how much to feed them.
Water flowers and garden.
Little kids love to play with water, so why not give them a bucket and cups or a watering can and let them go to town!
Use a peeler to peel fresh vegetables or a can opener to open cans.
When my youngest kids are in the kitchen, they are always asking me, “Can I help?” My initial thought is always that it will be so much more work to include them, BUT now that a few of my kids are older, I am SO glad I let them help me in the kitchen when they were little! They love to make food AND they can bake and cook meals from start to finish! It pays off to let your littles help you in the kitchen!
Line shoes up when they come in the house.
In summer, kids are always in and out, in and out. This is a great time to teach them where to put their shoes every time they walk in the house. Encourage them to line them up or put them in a basket and to keep it organized so that they will know where they are when they need them next!
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What life skills do you think are important to teach kids? You can also check out my other life skills posts for more ideas.
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!