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Digital Learning

Pack a Super Summer Kit

May is kind of like the Friday morning of the school year for so many of us. (This is loosely based on a meme I scrolled past last week. The embellishment is mine!) You know - Friday morning - hectic and packed with activity and plans to fulfill, yet brimming over with hope and anticipation for the stress-free weekend to come. I know many teachers are thinking now about a little parting gift for each of their students, a remembrance in some way of the year that they have spent together. As you formulate the little poem in your head that goes something like this, "It's been great to be your teacher, I've come to love you so, be sure to take these bubbles/skittles/whatever with you wherever you go", I'd like to share the every year parting summer gift from my Rainbow City classroom with you. Give them the bubbles/skittles. etc. if you must, but you just might become locally famous for your fabulous SUPER SUMMER KIT as well! It's true. It happened to me.

You may have parents already requesting summer packets or information on those "Ready for Grade Whatever" books that we used to get at Borders Bookstore. The Super Summer Kit is really the answer to what to get for your students and what will keep them learning all summer. They won't even realize that they are learning! Oh, and what to do with them during the last couple of weeks while you are trying to pack up the room? Let them color in the cover and get started on some of the activities inside the kit.

I started with the purchase of some white business envelopes (like this one, here for your viewing convenience. I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not profit from your clicking or purchasing.) I made a quick cover and printed one for each of my students. Here's a quick one I've made for you. You're welcome! There is room for each student to write their name at the top. (example: MEGAN"S SUPER SUMMER KIT, JASON'S SUPER SUMMER KIT, etc.) Students can glue the cover page on the front of their envelope with a glue stick. Quick trick: glue around all four sides and a giant X in the center from corner to corner. The whole kit, cover page and all, also will fit nicely inside a gallon freezer bag. Cheaper and done!

I would definitely not save the kit for distribution on the last day of school. Tried it once and sobbed as I picked up the five or six left behind on the floor. Give them out sometime during the next to last week of school and use them to buy a little time for packing up, awards ceremonies, final party planning, and goodbyes.

What goes inside?

Here are some suggestions:

A small spiral notebook from the Dollar Spot or Dollar Store to write and draw nature observations or to create a quick summer journal.

A list of "Recommended in Room Whatever" books. (Your room name or number replaces "Whatever" here.) Mine was called "Recommended in Rainbow City". Kids submit some quick book recommendations of books that they loved reading and would like their classmates to try. You can start a group doc and have each student submit their recommendation on that. A quick edit and print, and you're done!

A list of sights to see in your city over the summer: museums, libraries with special programs, greenhouses, farmers' markets, water parks, hiking trails, rock climbing or trampoline places, etc. You might be surprised how many parents would be grateful for a list like this, especially if they are new to the area. Make sure that there are plenty of free options on your list! Ask your students to suggest some options for the list, as well as your own suggestions.

An activity calendar with something to do each day that will reinforce skills learned during the year. You can create your own, as I did each year, or find one for grades 3-6 here to just print and add to the bag!

A Summer Bucket List for kids to fill in with things they would like to explore our try to do over the summer. Easy to make your own, or find it here already done for you!

A note from you with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope and paper so students can write to you  over the summer. You can promise to answer or promise to save their letters in a memory book. I promise you will love receiving these notes throughout the summer!

Some quick ideas for writing and some little fold-up books to try them out on. (Ideas for those are plentiful on Pinterest!) Some ideas: Summer Nature Journal, Summer Cookbook, Sketchbook, Vacation Journal.

A list of genres and a book suggestion or two in each to expand reading horizons.

Recipes for homemade Play Doh, slime, bubbles, Oobleck, and chalk paint. Check out Pinterest!

If you have time, print out a photo or two from your files to drop in each student's envelope. Fieldtrip moments, field day or recess shots, more classroom candids all make for nice memories!

Add a book from your classroom library if you are weeding out your collection as you pack. Sometimes you can get books for $1 or for bonus points from Book Club orders. These make good add-ins also!

I'm sure you will come up with even more ideas on your own to include in your Super Summer Kit! Mine changed year to year, depending on several things: time, interests of students, parent requests, and my own choices.

Enjoy the great Saturday of your teaching year (Summer Vacay!), and I hope that the month long Sunday night of August is an easy one for you this year! I hope you will visit Rainbow City Learning for all your upcoming End of Year needs and especially for Back to School!

For more May musings from our Teacher Talk team, check out these blog posts:


  1. Retta, this is such a helpful post for parents. So important to keep the kiddos learning over the summer.

  2. Thanks so much for the tips for super summer gifts that will keep my students learning!

  3. I have parents asking what they can do right now! These are great tips for parents!

  4. Loooove this idea, Retta!! I sure wish my daughters had you as their teacher!! I think I still have enough time to pull this together! Thanks!