As an admissions professional, summer is usually your time to refresh, plan, and prepare for the new school year (although we all know there’s no such thing as a slow season when you have “admissions” or “enrollment” in your title). But most likely, this summer will look a little different for both you and your families.
Students may not be as busy this summer as they have been in past summers and will likely be hungry for more at-home activities. And due to all the change, it’s probable that summer melt will be higher than a typical year.
This is where you come in. Finding just a few creative ways to provide entertainment and excitement for your newly admitted students (and your returning students) is a simple way to combat summer melt, delight new families, and remind your returning families just how much they love your school.
You need to find creative ways to engage your students this summer- even if you can’t meet in person or on campus. After all, with many of us still hunkered down in our homes, we’re all looking for ways to brighten up the repetitive days.
To help you bring the fun to your families, we’ve compiled 10 creative ideas you can use to provide virtual interactive activities for your families and students over the summer and combat summer melt.
10 Activities to Stay Connected This Summer
1. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunts are an easy way to get students of all ages involved in a summer activity. You can ask your teachers or staff to create a list of household items that students can race to collect and bring into the camera frame. You could also host an internet scavenger hunt for a more educational twist. For example, you might have your elementary students find something red. Meanwhile, you might have your middle or high school students find a historical date on the internet or something a little more abstract- like something that has brought them joy in the past month.
2. Show and Tell
This one is a classic. Students of all ages can engage in this activity at varying depths. Your show and tell time could be anything from having students share their favorite toy or book to having your high school students give a 10-15 minute presentation on something they’re passionate about.
3. Reading and Writing Prompts
Assign a prompt and have students write a short story based on the chosen prompt. The next class or meeting can be spent reading everyone’s stories. One way to mix it up even more and get more participation is to have your middle or high school students come up with the prompts and randomly select one each week. Offering small prizes for the most creative stories may be a great motivator and an easy way to make this educational activity more fun for students.
4. Classroom Cookbook and Potluck Party
This is a great way to get parents and students involved in activity over the summer. Have students and parents pick a favorite recipe and submit it so you can compile a class cookbook. You could opt to have families send in a demonstration video where they make the recipe on screen to make it even more interactive. Then, you can have a virtual potluck party where everyone brings their finished recipe to a Zoom meeting, or you can plan to host a party as soon as your school reopens.
5. Gratitude Board
Start a gratitude board to continue throughout the summer. Choose a centralized place for students to submit things they are grateful for. You can use a tool like Trello or another online board app and encourage students to post weekly. This might even be something you bring into your classroom once schools reopen.
6. Virtual Coaching Sessions
Help your coaches and your students involved in sports get connected. Have your coach host an athletic challenge to create a sense of camaraderie. For example, invite students to participate in the same summer running schedule, workout plan, or sport challenge, like having everyone complete a set number of pushups, jumping jacks, and squats each day. Students and coaches can then meet up online to discuss their progress and talk about their long term goals.
7. Karaoke/Sing along
Host a virtual karaoke party for your elementary students. You can sing fun Disney songs, or even educational songs covering anything from the weather, to days of the week, to your ABC’s.
8. Worksheets/ Learning Packets
Parents (and students) are nervous about educational gaps as a result of distance learning. Creating summer activities for families to work on together could help ease their worry. Help them prepare for the coming year by giving them a taste of what they can expect.
Ask teachers to come up with one assignment, like a short math lesson with example problems, or a creative writing assignment. If they’re willing, a few teachers could even offer short 15 minute sessions to meet with students and discuss any questions they have over Zoom. This is especially important or helpful for your new families who may want to learn more about different teaching styles and expectations.
9. Zoom Book Club
Create book clubs based on the assigned reading your students choose over the summer. Either assign the same text to all of your students in a grade level or let them choose from a list and break them up into groups accordingly. Host weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss the assigned chapters. Or, set up book club groups to have students meet and discuss on their own in smaller groups. This would be a great opportunity to use Zoom breakout rooms.
10. Charades or Pictionary Competitions
Give students a taste of the drama or art classes you have to offer, and give them a creative outlet over the summer. Play charades or Pictionary online with a drawing tool and screen sharing. You can pick educational words or fun summer-related words and phrases for the games depending on what kind of activity you want to offer. Games are an easy way to help your students form friendships with one another.
Making a Big Splash
Staying connected over the summer will help your families get excited for the fall. Plus, it can remind them why they chose your school. It may even help reduce your summer melt. Spending even just a few hours brainstorming and creating fun ways for students to engage with your school and surprise and wow your parents over the summer can lead to some pretty great results. And ultimately, a light lift on your end can create a big splash for your families and brighten up your student’s summers.
For more ideas to keep the fun going and combat summer melt, register for our upcoming webinar, 20 Virtual Activities to Keep Students Engaged and Connected.