Summer break is fast approaching and for many teachers, parents and students, it cannot arrive quickly enough. School closures and long-distance learning as a result of COVID-19 have put an additional strain on families and the education system, so the upcoming break will be a respite for many.

With social restrictions still in place, teachers and parents are concocting creative ways to encourage student learning over the summer. Typical educational opportunities—such as library programs, recreational clubs and athletic leagues—may be suspending or altering their activities because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are looking for innovative and socially responsible ways to encourage learning for your students or children over summer break, here are a few suggestions:

  • Try a virtual book club. Online youth book clubs are a great way to encourage children to read and socialize. Start your own or join one through websites such as
  • Check out a digital zoo or museum tour. Many zoos, museums and cultural institutions are offering free virtual tours. One example is the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which is live-streaming “safaris” that feature a different animal each day and include activities that students can complete at home.
  • Watch a documentary on Netflix Party. Netflix offers a wide range of documentaries and children’s programming which youth can watch with their friends through the plugin Netflix Party. Through Netflix Party, users can virtually watch the same show at the same time and talk about it using the chat feature.
  • Go on a socially-distanced hike. The AllTrails website offers a collection of curated trail guides. Simply enter your location and get information about local trails as well as reviews from fellow hikers.
  • Film a science experiment. Stuck at Home Science contains daily activities and science experiments that can be completed at home using common household items. Try filming an experiment and sharing the results with friends and family.