How to have a Tech-Tastic Summer

July 25, 2023

Summer is well underway, and in many homes, parents are trying to decide how tech should play a role in their kids’ vacation days. While taking time away from the screen to adventure outside, read a book, or spend “unplugged” time with family is important, tech can still be used to have fun, enhance learning, and build other skills for kids of all ages. 

As we enter into the dog days of summer, beat the heat with the tech-tastic activities on the platforms below (but make sure you set up a family safety agreement and review our 7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting before you get going)!

Learn and Stay Connected

While school is out, kids can stay connected with their classmates, friends, and even family members through interactive platforms.

TikTok is many teens’ app of choice, and can be a destination for educational content. Users can discover new things about a variety of subjects with videos through the TikTok Learn page and #edutok. For beach reads and beyond, check out #BookTok, which points users towards book recommendations of all genres. For older kids, get interview advice as they begin to apply for first internships or jobs. 

Popular with younger kids, Roblox is a place to build new worlds, play with other users’ creations, and can even be a place for kids to learn about programming. Online games are often one of childrens’ first opportunities for digital socializing, and provides them with a space to learn how to behave online. Check out this guide for parents to get tips on how to make sure kids have a safe and productive experience on the platform.

For something a bit more structured, kids can learn new computer skills like how to design and create a website with Google’s Applied Digital Skills lessons. The Be Internet Awesome program helps to prepare kids to be good citizens in the digital world with the Interland game, the Be Internet Awesome pledge, and more. 

Play and Develop Skills

When it’s too hot to go outside, games can be a great way to ensure children are still getting the chance to play. 

Bring some levity to vacation and celebrate the summer of Barbie with Mattel kids, an online platform where kids can select from Barbie and HotWheels games. Play is an important part of child development, especially for younger children. For guidance on how to help kids get the most out of gaming experiences, review our Safer Gaming Guide for information on understanding ratings and setting parental controls.

Nintendo Switch has a variety of educational games. For preschool and kindergarten- aged children, download this educational game pack to help teach them skills like logic, math and reflex. Kids can also practice their STEM skills by physically building objects using pre-cut cardboard sheets with Nintendo Labo, then play with them on the Switch. 

Study from the Couch

Pass the popcorn and have an educational movie night using the streaming service of your choice! 

Disney+ has a large selection of documentaries which are great for a night of learning with the whole family. They also have an interactive game called Brain Games, which explores the science of the brain.

Netflix has an Education for Kids category that includes shows about science, nature and exploration. To get older kids excited for the upcoming school year, check out documentaries on subjects like history and STEM. For help setting up your child’s profile to make sure they only see appropriate and educational content, check out this guide

Amazon Prime Video allows parents to create a kids’ profile that ensures children 12 and under only see age appropriate content. Their choices include shows for young kids such as Children of the World, DrawMe A Story Series, and WordGirl as well as shows for older kids that provide interesting and enriching content with subjects such as history, nature and education. 

Looking for more educational resources to try out this summer? Check out our Education Resource Guide for tips on learning platforms such as Duolingo, Khan Academy, Class Dojo, and Outschool. 

Written by

Alanna Powers

Alanna is the Research & Program Specialist for the Family Online Safety Institute. She leads FOSI's Good Digital Parenting programming and research projects, and supports FOSI's communications efforts. Her prior experiences focused on both media and education. Alanna has taught English and communications courses at both the high school and college level, and concentrated on the subject of media literacy education during her master’s program.

Alanna has a master’s degree in media studies from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She also holds undergraduate degrees in both Public Relations and English from Penn State University, and is a Fulbright alumna.