Summer Learning Resources

National Summer Learning Week 2022 Is Approaching Quickly!

National Summer Learning Week is hosted annually by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and brings awareness to providing youth and families across the United States with safe, high-quality, engaging, and healthy summer learning opportunities. ACT Now knows that for programs in Illinois, summer is a time for new enriching adventures to help supplement and prepare students for in-school experiences. It is also an opportunity to reinforce healthy and positive relationships, and to get active and outside!

For that reason, we are celebrating all summer learning programs starting July 11-15, 2022, and highlighting your successes and strengths!

To help you spread awareness and share more about your programming, one of our summer Policy and Communications Interns, Anna Chen, has created our Summer 2022 Learning Toolkit. Inside you will find:

  • Summer Learning Week 2022 Themes
  • Summer Programs in 2022: Safe, Fun, and Enriching

  • Advocacy Tools and Strategies for Interacting with policymakers!

  • Social Media Content Samples and Images

  • Resources for Summer 2022 Programming

Help highlight the wonderful work our summer learning providers are facilitating in the state of Illinois by hosting an event and adding it to the growing list of National Summer Learning Programs for youth and families to participate in throughout the week!

If you are looking for additional resources on how to host an event, make sure to also access the NSLA’s free and easy-to-navigate toolkits specifically for program providers, and families!

ACT Now’s Summer Learning Resource Pages

COVID-19 Guidance

Safety, Health, & Nutrition



Free Summer Meals

Free healthy and nutritious summer meals are available for all children 18 and under when school is out. Summer meal sites can be found by calling (800) 359-2163 or texting FoodIL to 877877.

Summer Awareness Building Toolkit

No Kid Hungry’s Summer Awareness Building Toolkit provides a menu of options for leveraging outreach opportunities around summer meals and No Kid Hungry’s National Summer Meals Texting Hotline (FOOD/COMIDA to 877-877)

Summer Food, Summer Moves Toolkit

Looking for enrichment activities for summer meal sites? Check out the USDA’s Summer Food, Summer Moves toolkit to keep kids and families excited about healthy eating and staying active, even when school’s not in session! Resources are available in English and in Spanish.














Wallace Summer Learning Toolkit

The Wallace Foundation has arranged a free toolkit with more than 50, evidence-based tools and resources to help educators deliver programs that make a real difference.

Webinar Recording to Help Strengthen Summer Programming

On June 14, 2022, the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) hosted a webinar in partnership with The Wallace Foundation to share findings from its new report: Supporting Quality in Summer Learning: How Districts Plan, Develop, and Implement Programs. The report and webinar highlight how school districts are key partners during summer and can help to strengthen the work that is already being done by community-based organizations.

Planning for Summer 2023 Resources

The Afterschool Alliance has developed a variety of resources for programs to leverage when planning for summer 2023. There are fact sheets, webinar recordings, and other resources available to make this summer the best one yet!

Summer 2023 Planning Resources

The Afterschool Alliance recently updated its COVID Reopening Programs page. Providers can now access resources for planning for summer 2023!

Afterschool Alliance: America After 3PM Summer Edition

The Afterschool Alliance recently shared a summer edition of its America After 3PM report which highlights how summertime is a transformative period of time for young people across the nation.

Afterschool Alliance: 2021 Summer Programs Toolkit

The Afterschool Alliance has released a toolkit for afterschool and summer learning providers to utilize in order to engage families, stakeholders, staff members, and more.

Afterschool Alliance: Summer Programming Guidance

The Afterschool Alliance has written a brief blog post highlighting guidance from federal agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for providers to utilize while planning for another COVID-19 summer. To read the blog post, click here

Wallace Foundation: Summer Programming Recruitment Toolkit

The Wallace Foundation has released a toolkit for program providers on how to encourage youth to participate in summer programming. The toolkit also highlights strategies for partnering with school districts and other providers in order to leverage resources. To read how five school districts have planned for summer 2021, click here.

Afterschool Alliance Brief: Afterschool and Summer Learning Renewal

The Afterschool Alliance has published a brief on the importance of summer learning programs as they relate to supporting our young people and ensuring that students begin the journey of academic recovery and social-emotional healing in an equitable manner. To read the brief, click here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Suggestions for Youth Programs and Camps – Readiness and Planning Tool

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a tool for afterschool and summer learning providers to utilize in order to plan for in-person instruction, outdoor youth development activities, and camp. This guidance may help to prepare for summer 2021. To review and access this tool, click here.

2019 Summer Learning Toolkit

It’s never too early to think about summer learning! The Wallace Foundation has introduced two new products aimed at helping districts and community-based organizations create high-quality summer programs. The first is a newly updated report by the RAND Corporation—Getting to Work on Summer Learning—which explains the elements of successful summer programs, offering school districts advice on staffing, recruitment, creating a positive climate and so much more. The second is the accompanying online Summer Learning Toolkit, which is mapped to RAND’s findings. The toolkit features more than 50 practical tools and planning resources to help school districts and their partners design and deliver high-quality summer programs.

Summer Programs and CCDF The National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) has developed a Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) frequently asked questions document aimed at supporting providers that may be interested in participating in the CCDF program. 
Summer Learning Recruitment Guide Provides proven strategies for marketing voluntary summer learning programs to parents and students.
Making the Most of Summer Learning
This webinar provides an overview of the importance of summer learning and shares tools and resources to help providers plan high-quality summer programs for students. The webinar and slides are available on-demand.


Professional Development & Qualifications

Planning for a Game-Changing Summer Webinar RECORDING

The Afterschool AllianceEvery Hour Counts, and the National Summer Learning Association recently released the webinar recording on summer learning programs to help providers develop an engaging and successful summer program. These organizations shared recommendations for facilitating programming in diverse learning environments!

Summer Learning Send-Off Tips for how principals, school leaders, and teachers can combat summer slide utilizing their school buildings and directing parents to additional community resources.

Family & Community Partnerships

Summer Stride A research-based, bilingual, parent resource to help families prepare for the upcoming school year during the summer break.









Youth Development, Programming, & Activities


Museum of Science and Industry: Summer Brain Games and FREE Admission!

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) has released its 2021 Summer Brain Games! These games allow youth to participate in engaging science-based art activities and include: developing a flip book, using bubbles to create art, making your own paper and more. It’s a great way for families with kids of all ages to stay active during the summer and play together. Activities use everyday items and have easy instructions in English and Spanish. MSI is also for a limited time giving away free tickets to visit the Museum after signing up for the Summer Brain Games program!

National Summer Learning Association Website: Discover Summer!

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) has developed, a new online destination, launched in response to COVID-19, to help families discover affordable summer programs, summer meals, tips and resources to keep kids learning, earning, safe and healthy this summer.

Afterschool Alliance Brief: Summer Programming

The Afterschool Alliance released new data demonstrating the importance of summer programming for Black and Latinx families. Insights include support from parents and families before the pandemic and the barriers for accessing quality summer learning experiences for youth. There is information available by State, too!

Afterschool Alliance Webinar Recap: How Summer Programs are Changing the Game for Youth

Our friend Teresa Dothard-Campbell from Lights On for Learning at Glenview Middle School was recently a panelist on the Afterschool Alliance’s webinar on summer programming. The presentation also highlighted how many afterschool pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists also spoke to planning for summer 2021. There is an article and webinar recording for interested providers looking to learn more!

eSchool News Article: 11 Resources to Avoid the Summer Slide

eSchool News has compiled 11 resources for afterschool providers to use for summer programming to combat summer slide in learning outcomes for young people. These resources surround STEM and Social-Emotional Learning activities for a hybrid and in-person instruction.

Learning Policy Institute Brief: Summer Learning and Beyond – Opportunities for Creating Equity

The Learning Policy Institute has released a brief highlighting how summer is an excellent time for educators and program providers to develop social-emotional learning programming for youth and provides families with equitable access to support services. To read the brief, click here.

National Summer Learning Association: National Summer Learning Week 2021 Resources


The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) has compiled a variety of resources for afterschool and summer learning providers to utilize in celebration of National Summer Learning Week (July 12 – July 16). Materials include social media content, event ideas and activities, and toolkits for doing outreach to legislators, community members, and families. To access these resources, click here.

Summer Camp Hub

Summer Camp Hub has compiled a list of virtual and free summer opportunities for youth to participate in. Experiences include Virtual 4-H Camp and YouTube’s Camp YouTube. To review more summer learning opportunities, click here.

Museum of Science and Industry: Summer Brain Games

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) just released its Summer Brain Games for youth to stay engaged and active during the summer. These activities are based in STEM competencies and use everyday items! Learn what materials conduct electricity, make a map to understand scale, and more! To access the instructions for these creative and hands-on activities in English and Spanish, click here.

Summer Music Activity Kit The Music Impact Network’s summer “Do It Yourself” kit includes free downloadable resources for music programs.
Summer Slugger

An interactive, online course that uses the game of baseball to help kids ages eight to 11 maintain their math and literacy skills during the summer months.

Summer Math Challenge Six-week program that offers daily emails with fun activities and resources at the student’s ability level.
Resources to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

List of educational activities to combat the summer slide.

Summer Enrichment Spanish-Translated Resources

The National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) is pleased to share an expanded collection of resources that have been translated into Spanish for wider access. This collection includes resources that address important issues in school-age care, such as summer learning, quality improvement, licensing, and funding strategies. The audience for these resources includes state afterschool network leads, summer program providers, and 21st Century Community Learning Center leads. To learn more click here.