Summer is a time for recreational activities as youth are out of school. It is also the time to keep them engaged in learning, as over summer, youth tend to lose academic gains made across the school year. Mathematics is more affected than English Language Arts and over time these loses put youth at more of a disadvantage. How much depends on what happens over summer. Children and youth who engage in high quality enrichment are less affected.
High quality enrichment offers children and youth opportunities to learn new skills, build on current skills, be creative, develop and strengthen good habits. Summer enrichment need not feel like school. Activities can support their interests, be engaging, and consistent with their age and ability.
Depending on what children are used to, caregivers may need to strategize to encourage youth engagement in appropriate enrichment. This may involve offering choices, incentives, and encouragement, and in what one noted educator coined, requiring them to “earn the right to chill.”
In this post, we present 75+ enrichment activities from black owned brands, with a focus on elementary and middle school youth. These include a variety of apps, board games, puzzles, flash cards, work/activity books and more. See the following descriptions and products for details.
The table below represents SPONSORS of Shop With Leslie and we appreciate their support! You are encouraged to click their company name and explore!
|Afrokids||Afrokids offers an online subscription ($5.00 a month) with enrichment and educational activities (grouped by age) to promote self esteem, cultural pride, life lessons, respect, and responsibility. It includes videos, folk-tales, interactive games, coloring pages, math and phonics, and extensive black history content.|
Apps are available online through mobile and other devices, and through various streams (e.g., Google Play, the iPhone APP store, and Amazon).
- Creative Medicine offers a “Nelson beats the odds” comic creator app where youth can make comic strips and more.
- Kid Positive offers a Tell Me Who I Am game in app form that teaches children about African American and Latin scientists, engineers, physicians, and inventors.
- The Imagination Agency offers a selection of interactive storybooks with corresponding games.
- Zyrobotics offers a selection of coding apps for children between ages 4 and 9 to help them learn the basics of coding. STEM storiez are also available as interactive books focusing on math and science.
via GIPHY Photo Credit Breaking Pic
Board games encourage youth to be strategic and logical, and also promote attention, concentration, and social skills. Players learn to think and respond logically and strategically. Board games are also relaxing. There are several board games from black owned brands that teach valuable and specific skills.
- It’s a Black Thang offers a selection of board games regarding black history and life from the perspective of a minority.
- Play Black Wall Street offers a family friendly Black Wall Street Board Game for children 8 years and up. The game involves becoming business savvy while learning black history.
- Rhyme Antics offers a rhyming vocabulary game for players starting at age 12.
- Say It Loud Games offers a Say It Loud Party Game on black culture (movie, music, arts, and more). It is for players 12 and up and played in teams of 3 or more.
- The Entrepreneur Game by EESpeaks offers an entrepreneur board game for which children and adult players can make moves to grow a businesses.
- Water Bear Games offers a Discount Salmon game for children ages 8 and up, that requires quick thinking. It can be played with 2 – 5 players.
Flashcards contain important bits of information with a prompt (e.g., picture, letter or word) on one side and more detailed information on the other. Flashcards can promote active learning whereby youth look at the prompt and try to guess or remember what is on the other side. Subsequently, youth can compare how well their answers matched. In addition to learning content, flashcards can help youth improve on what it takes to learn and remember.
- Black 365 offers a selection of Black history flash cards, edition 1 and edition 2.
- Ikuzi Dolls offers a set of Africa facts flashcards.
- Sense 2 Cents offers financial literacy flashcards that cover banking, credit, the economy, and investing.
- Urban Intellectuals offers an extensive selection of flashcards on black history, black trivia, and specific contributions of black individuals.
via GIPHY Photo Credit Hans-Peter Gauster
Puzzles support planning and imagination, problem solving, and creativity.
- Black History Studies offers jigsaw puzzles reflecting maps of the country of Ghana, and the African continent. Free and online jigsaw puzzles are also available.
- It’s A Black Thang offers a selection of online crossword puzzles.
- Kunaka Kids offers an African continent jigsaw puzzle.
- Puzzle Huddle offers a selection of puzzles for different age groups. These include culturally representative 54 piece and 100 piece puzzles.
- Puzzlebilities offers a selection of jigsaw puzzles of varying themes and levels of difficulty.
- Sibahle Collection offers puzzles with farm and princess themes.
A range of videos are available that are educational and culturally representative with positive messages. Videos can be a source of reflection and discussion about important life lessons.
- Bino and Fino offer DVDs that teach children about African culture. They are designed for children between 3 and 6 years of age.
- Kidz Mic offers a music CD that adapts lyrics and tunes from popular songs into child friendly songs with positive messages. The music is sung by children with themes on self-esteem, responsibility, and more.
- Sweet Blackberry offers a selection of child centered DVDs about various African American historical figures.
- The Imagination Agency offers a cartoon video about an aspiring movie maker that is available on their website.
via GIPHY Photo Credit Santi Vedrí
Workbooks allow children to practice and develop skills in an interactive way. Coloring supports fine motor skills, imagination, concentration, and relaxation.
- Arlyne Simon, PhD Biochemist offers a workbook “Abbey Invents Unbreakable Crayons” that encourages children ages 5 – 8 to experiment with invention.
- Dream I Am offers a selection of culturally relevant coloring and activity books.
- Healthy Roots offers an e-coloring book of various Healthy Root doll characters.
- Hue Man Bookstore offers a large selection of workbooks, and with culturally relevant themes. These include themes about Kwanzaa, boosting confidence, cars and trucks, and teen coloring books with advanced drawings. There are also math workbooks for many grade levels.
- It’s A Black Thang offers a selection of coloring books for all ages.
- Kid Positive offers a selection of coloring and activity books on ancient Africa.
- Mahogany Reads offers a selection of workbooks that include coloring, writing, mathematics and more.
- Moe Melanin offers a selection of coloring books. In addition, there are deluxe summer fun kits for boys and girls, that include coloring and other arts and crafts activities.
- Nola the Nurse offers activity books that include math workbooks for children in kindergarten and first grade. Coloring books are also available.
- United Black Books offers free electronic math workbooks for elementary and middle school youth.
- Urban Intellectuals offers a Black history coloring book about entrepreneurs.
- Yes Lioness offers “the lil’ Goddess” and the blooming lil’ Goddess coloring books for girls.
For other reading materials, you are encouraged to review our “Books” page to find an abundance of content that is culturally and developmentally appropriate. These include children’s books about coding.
In reviewing these activities I hope you find tons of enrichment products that work for you and your family.
ALSO, Shop With Leslie offers a Premium Content section with Buying Guides and Sales Information. You will find 1000+ inexpensive and fabulous items for $25.00 and less from black owned companies. That is 300+ items for $10.00 and less, 200+ items from $10.01 to $15.00, and 500+ items from $15.01 to $25.00. Great sales at 50% off are also posted. We do the legwork so you don’t have to! You can sign up HERE for the low cost of $4.95 per year.
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See the following sources for more information about summer learning and enrichment.
- Alexander, Karl L., Entwisle, Doris R., Olson, Linda S. “Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap.” April 2007. American Sociological Review, volume 7, pages 167 – 180.
- Color Psychology. “10 benefits of coloring pages for kids’ psychology and development.” https://www.colorpsychology.org/10-benefits-of-coloring-pages-for-kids-psychology-and-development/
- Dewar, Gwen. “Board games for kids: Can they teach critical thinking?” 12 November, 2018 https://www.parentingscience.com/board-games-for-kids.html
- Logic Roots. “8 surprising health benefits of playing board games.” 22 November, 2018. https://logicroots.com/MathBlog/8-surprising-health-benefits-of-playing-board-games/
- Myers, Pam. “Why puzzles are good for your child’s development.” 2 November, 2011. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-activities/why-puzzles-are-good-for-your-childs-development/#.XP1G0I97mUl
- National Center on Afterschool and Summer Learning Enrichment. “Summer learning & enrichment tips for school-age care providers.” May 2019. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/ncase_summer_tipsheet_providers_508c.pdf
- Sheffield, Donald E. “Practices makes Perfect – NOT! Excellence is a habit.” 5 May, 2009.