Ask UConn Extension: Tips to Keep Kids Active and Learning this Summer

School may be out, but that doesn't mean the learning has to stop. Check out some tips to keep your kids engaged from UConn 4-H

The child examines blue flowers through a magnifying glass - common eryngium.

(Adobe photo)

It’s the dog days of summer, and between summer camp and other activities, you might be wondering what you can do to keep your children busy at home. UConn Extension can help Connecticut residents find ways to engage kids in active summer learning that also happens to be loads of fun.

Numerous summer activities can be learning opportunities for youth. As you engage with your children, allow them to make predictions, engage in the activity, reflect on what’s occurred, and apply this new learning to their everyday lives. As you provide positive adult support in activities, it is important to allow youth to “learn by doing.” This offers kids the opportunity to encounter challenges, experience successes, and even failures as they think critically, problem solve, and persevere.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of Extension, in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Our trained educators have developed materials and programming for all ages and interests. And we go beyond traditional agriculture, with activities related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), healthy living, and civic engagement. Here are some ideas based on UConn 4-H program areas:

  • Cooking, canning, and food preservation all teach kids about healthy living, scientific concepts and math.
  • Arts & crafts can teach youth about science and properties of matter, creativity, and even math.
  • Walk the beach and explore nature, identify living things, observe changes and scientific concepts like waves, tides, and physics of light.
  • Youth can explore the nature of our state and discover living things. They can also explore scientific concepts like ecology and biology.
  • Grow flowers, vegetables, or build a pollinator garden.
  • Pick Your Own. Visit a local farm and harvest your own fruits and vegetables. Explore where food comes from and the cycle of food.
  • Give Back. Individuals of all ages can engage in community service projects. Beautify your community by cleaning up a park or waterway, help prepare a meal at a soup kitchen, or donate new or gently used items.

Online Resources

Looking for activities, but can’t make it out of the house? Our team of educators have multiple online resources available.

4-H Camp

Maybe your youngster is ready to venture out, meet new friends, and try new things. UConn 4-H has four youth camping opportunities statewide. Camps provide day and/or overnight programming for youth of various ages. To learn more about camp locations and programs visit UConn’s 4-H camps website.

Day Trips 

Visit any of Connecticut fairs, including six hosted by UConn 4-H each year. Fairs provide opportunities for youth to learn more about agriculture and animals, and to see a wide variety of arts and crafts, machinery, and lots more. Visit the Connecticut Fairs website for the full list and more information.

The 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm is located at 158 Auer Farm Road in Bloomfield, and is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk, year-round. This 120-acre property offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to engage with agriculture, science, and the environment. Take a hike, visit the animals, explore nature and so much more.

Families and individuals can engage in healthy living by participating in the Hartford County 4-H Fair Austin Harlow Memorial 5K Race/1K Fun Walk on August 20, 2023. Click here to register.

Start Planning for Fall

If you have a child aged 5-18 who is interested in joining UConn 4-H in the upcoming year, contact your local UConn Extension office to learn more about clubs as well as independent membership opportunities in your area and/or how to volunteer with UConn 4-H. Contact information and additional resources are available at here.

Just because school is out doesn’t mean the learning and fun have to stop! Take advantage of Connecticut this summer and help your children grow with these tips from UConn Extension.


UConn Extension connects the public with the research and resources of Connecticut’s land-grant university, UConn. UConn Extension is comprised of faculty in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.