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Learning Through Summer: Summer Learning Materials

These ideas from DonorsChoose teachers will keep your students learning throughout the summer.


Student engagement has been one of the hallmark challenges of this unruly school year. Now with the end of the year just weeks away, teachers everywhere are thinking about how to equip students with the items they'll need to stay engaged with learning throughout the summer.

Before you wrap up your school year, consider posting one simple project that will shift vacation to exploration, like Ms. Fahy from Florida:

“Statistics show that every summer, many students experience the 'summer slide'. Help me to get my 6th grade scientists outside this summer! This could be the summer of STEM, instead of the summer of slide.”

“Summer Slide”, “Summer Brain Drain” — Whatever you call it, you and your students have worked too hard this year to let it happen. Check out some of the most popular summer project items to bridge this school year into the next, while keeping fun at the forefront:

Art Supplies

“Little backpacks with a watercolor paint set, art journal, colored pencils, and a sharpener will allow my little guys and gals to have their very own art supplies. I'm hoping my students will limit their screen time this summer and choose to spend the time doing art instead.” (Ms. Skiles, 2nd Grade, Arizona; Choosing Art Time Over Screen Time for a Colorful Summer!)

Mindfulness Materials

“A Self-Care Summer is about self-love, self-care, and self-respect. These materials will make a difference in the student's learning because they will learn (through the characters in the stories) how to make sound decisions; and, develop empathy for those who do not.” (Mrs. McKinney, Grades 9-12, Oklahoma; Self-Care Summer!)

Basic Supplies

“These deodorants, toothpastes, toothbrushes, and personal hygiene products will be supplied to my students as summer care packages. These items will help to meet the basic needs of my students during the summer when they may not have access to resources from teachers and other staff members.” (Mrs. A, Grades 6-8, Texas; Summer Supplies)

Outdoor Games & Toys

“My students and families deserve recognition for their active participation throughout a crazy school year – so I'm rewarding them with a Summer fun family bucket including squirt guns, sunglasses, otter pops, and a ring pop.” (Mrs. Pick, Kindergarten, Washington; Summer Fund Buckets!)

Board Games

“The school year is about to end, but the learning does not have to stop! Besides, summer time is a great opportunity for kids to enjoy a great read and have a productive family time around a board game!” (Ms. S., PreK-2, New York; Summer Learning, Having a Blast)

Gardening Supplies

“With these resources, we would be able to explore gardening...by taking what we grow at school in starter pots to transplant in the student’s home garden and continue growing during summer break. Students will be able to grow vegetables started in class in the spring and continue harvesting produce for their families in the summer growing season.” (Mrs. Hankins, Grades 6-8, Arkansas; For the Love of Gardening)


“These books will give students inspiration to continue to read during summer break at home. With these new books, it will enhance their creative thinking and still stay on grade level, if not above, during the summer.” (Ms. Ivey, Grades 3-5, Virginia; Reading for Vacation!)

Writing Prompts

“The envelopes, stamps and labels will help my students and I to communicate in the summer as Pen Pals. By writing to me during the summer, my ELL students will continue to develop their writing skills.” (Ms. Tapia, Grades PreK-2, Maryland; Summer Pen Pals)


“I want to give my students the summer gift of seeing our local marine environments, with swimming goggles for all face to face learners. I hope that by providing my students with goggles & in-class printed local field guides that they may be able to experience a spectacular summer of STEM exploration in their own backyards!” (Mrs. Fahy, 6th Grade, Florida; See the Sea this Summer)

A few more bright ideas from the DonorsChoose Teacher Community:

Woodworking projects for summer school. A little hands-on building to ease students back to in-person learning.”

Simple recipes to make and either supplies for garden or gift card to get items so they can practice life skills but also have access to healthy food during summer.”

“Games to send home with students to encourage family engagement.”

“My recent favorite project was pre-prepped craft activities. The pieces are all foam stickers. So easy for my students to complete and work on the fine motor skills of peeling the stickers -- plus it’s super cute after.”

“Art makes little ones happy. Art supplies like watercolors, brushes, art paper, collage materials, canvas, etc.”

“Yoga mats, blocks, balls, stretchy bands to continue stretching, mindfulness that we’ve done in advisory during distance learning.


BOOKS - Always BOOKS! It is so important for students to have books of their very own so they self identify as readers. BOOKS!”

And perhaps most importantly...

A note to remind students to stay curious, keep learning, and we’ll be anxious to hear what they did over the summer when we return.

Ready to send your students off with something special for summer? Start your project today!

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