Because kids still need to eat, learn, and stay safe when school’s out
During the summer months away from school, it’s crucial that children have access to healthy meals, safe environments, and books and educational opportunities so they can keep learning.
Public and private partners across Georgia—including the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), Georgia Family Connection Partnership, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement—have come together to create this online toolkit with resources for summer reading, learning, safety, and meals.
We encourage you to connect with other Georgians this summer by using the hashtag #SchoolsOutGA to share photos, videos, and stories that show how your family is incorporating these tools into your everyday life. You can also submit your story to us so that we can share it with others.
Child Health and Wellness: Engage these available resources from DECAL to reinforce child health and wellness this summer. Here you’ll find nutrition education activities like “It’s Taste Test Time!” and “Food Education Scavenger Hunt” along with resources about child care nutrition, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Strong4Life Parent, breastfeeding, food allergies, and more.
Farm to Child Nutrition Programs: Summer meals programs capitalize on the many opportunities that summer brings to serve fresh, local foods and hands-on activities that help children develop healthy habits. Learn more with these resources from DECAL including a virtual farm field trip, children’s seed planting activity, and much more.
FoodFinder: This mobile and web app that helps students and families find food pantries, kitchens, and shelters near you.
GaDOE’s Food-Based Learning Resources: Parents can connect with school nutrition professionals and use food-based learning experiences at home. Check out engagement resources, Harvest With Holly episodes, Toon Episodes, culinary and menu planning resources, food safety resources, and more.
Local Food Banks—Georgia Food Bank Association: Your community is served by one of Georgia’s eight Feeding America affiliate Food Banks. Find yours here to donate or get help.
Happy Helpings, Georgia’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO): These programs, administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and the Georgia Department of Education, provide access to free and nutritious meals to children 18 and under during the summer months when school’s out. Find summer meal sites on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Meal Site Finder map. The Happy Helpings website includes dates of operations, meals available at each location, meal times, and more. You can also check out GaDOE’s SSO resources. The Food and Nutrition Service also offers a text message option. Text Summer Meals to 914-342-7744 or call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) to find summer meal sites. Spanish-speaking families may call 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6279). (This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For USDA’s non-discrimination statement, click here.)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP is a federally funded program that provides monthly benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food. It can help stretch your grocery budget and also provide your kids with the nutrition they need to learn and excel at school. Not sure if you’re eligible for SNAP? Text “Food” to 74544 to see if you qualify, or visit mRelief.com to take a brief screening survey.
CDC’s Tips to Give Your Kids A Healthy and Active Summer: Helping our children have healthy bodies and minds is more important than ever. You can help your kids prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally for the upcoming school year with healthy and fun summer activities.
Childhood Vaccines: To keep students healthy throughout their educational journey, Georgia requires children to get vaccines against certain diseases before going to school. If you’re unsure of Georgia’s school requirements, now is the time to check with your doctor, your child’s school, or your local health department.
COVID-19 Vaccine: COVID-19 vaccines are open for everyone 6 months and older and boosters are open for everyone 5 years and older. Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently authorized for children aged 6 months through 15, and approved for 16 and 17-year-olds. For more information about COVID-19 vaccine for children, visit the CDC’s 6 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children.
Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL): For immediate access to routine or crisis services, please call the GCAL access line at 1-800-715-4225. Help is available 24/7 for problems with developmental disabilities, mental health, drugs, or alcohol.
Look Again: This campaign, promoted by DECAL, calls for families and caregivers of children to have heightened awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. With more than 337,000 children in Georgia child care programs each day, it is vitally important to ensure each child’s health and safety, especially during transportation. The website includes videos that address transportation issues.
Preventative Pediatric Dental Care: Each child and family is unique, so these recommendations are designed for the care of children who are growing and developing in a satisfactory fashion. Developmental, psychosocial, and chronic disease issues for children and adolescents may require frequent counseling and treatment visits separate from preventive care visits.
Ready Georgia: This statewide campaign supported by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security is aimed at motivating Georgians to take action to prepare for a disaster. Ready Georgia provides further guidance on the three most important steps you can take to protect you and those in your care.
Be Proud Read Aloud series: Georgia judges read children’s books focused on the 19th Amendment in this series created by Judicial Council of Georgia.
Bright By Text: Bright by Text is a free service that provides activities, games, and resources right to your smartphone. Messages are targeted to your child’s age and include information on child development, language and early literacy, health and safety, behavioral tips, and more. Message and data rates may apply. To get started, text GPB to 274448 or fill out this form. Subscribers can receive texts in English or Spanish.
Capstone: This publisher’s mission is to help children develop a love of reading and learning, no matter their ability level. Capstone is offering free trials for the following tools to all preschool and elementary school students from May 13 through Aug. 26.
- PebbleGo: This K – 2 database is specifically designed to teach growing learners technology and literacy skills early in their school career. PebbleGo’s easy navigation and read-aloud audio help young learners of all abilities as soon as preschool.
- PebbleGo Next: This is the next step in research, providing students in grades 3 – 5 with more robust content and tools to meet their curriculum needs.
- Capstone Interactive eBooks: Over 5,000 titles will capture the imagination and curiosity of any reader.
Log in now. The username for all digital content for summer reading is gaschools and the password is gaschools.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta—CMA at Home: The museum offers fun and educational content for families and children of all ages through #CMAatHome. Children can enjoy storytime, music and movement, and draw-along activities. Families can also learn words in Italian, German, and Japanese during online cooking lessons. Content includes instructions, vocabulary, and helpful videos.
Common Lit: This free collection of fiction and nonfiction for students in grades 3-12 can be searched and filtered by Lexile level, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or standard. Readings can be read online or downloaded.
Cox Campus for Families: This website offers free, online courses, videos, guides, and activity ideas to help parents and families support their child’s early learning and development.
Department of Early Care and Learning Resources
- Chat About Children: This educational series for families features episodes on monitoring development, supporting transition back to child care and school, building your young child’s brain, engaging children in play, how early language builds literacy, and more.
- School-Age Resource Page: Children need a balance of cognitive learning time, social time, physical development time, creative playtime, and reading or literacy time throughout the day. To help providers, caregivers, and children, DECAL has compiled resources that can be used to help enhance a child’s daily schedule with creativity and fun learning.
- Toddler Time at Home: This calendar of daily activities features weekly themes that encompass five categories: On The Move, Adventures Online, Sensory Time, Story Time, and Arts and Creativity.
- Georgia Pre-K At Home: This website includes educational resources divided into four categories: Storytime, Virtual Field Trips, Let’s Go Outside, and Screen-Free Time. Activities are based on the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards and intentionally involve simple household items easily found at home.
- Pre-K Summer Transition Program: DECAL offers this six-week program to prepare rising pre-K and kindergarten students for success in school.
Freckle: This free online learning platform helps students in grades K – 10 practice math and ELA at their own level.
Georgia Public Broadcasting Education Resources
- Summer of Discovery with GPB and PBS KIDS: All-new summer content and resources will keep kids learning and encourage exploration with their favorite PBS KIDS characters. PBS KIDS will air all-new specials and episodes and offer free digital learning activities, virtual screening events, and more.
- Georgia Home Classroom: GPB, in partnership with GaDOE, offers instructional TV broadcasts aligned to Georgia’s state standards, along with a library of digital learning resources to support at-home summer learning.
- Getting Ready Guides and Videos for Grades K – 5: GPB, in partnership with GaDOE, is offering “Getting Ready” guides and videos to help parents of young learners in grades K – 5 keep the learning going over the summer and explore skills that will prepare a student for the school year ahead. These resources are now available in English and Spanish.
- Daily Activity Calendar: Inspire curiosity each day with these activities, printables, and videos.
Georgia Public Library Service Resources
- Summer Reading Programs: Summer reading programs at public libraries offer creative, fun, and free ways to build a love for reading. Libraries offer prizes for meeting reading goals, in-person and online activities, and even opportunities to explore Georgia. This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.” Programs typically take place from late May until early August. Check your local library for their dates. Many public libraries also serve as meal or snack sites for the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which makes free healthy meals and snacks available to young people in communities with high rates of poverty. Libraries bring in talented performers during summer programming, so be sure to check their schedule to take advantage of free puppet or magic shows, STEM activities, gardening, and even cooking demonstrations. For families who want to take a more cautious approach, many libraries offer curbside pickup, craft kits-to-go, STEAM kits, virtual programs, and book clubs.
- e-READ KIDS: This collection of e-books and audio books for kids in pre-K through fourth grade features a mix of more than 20,000 fiction and nonfiction titles. Use your library’s digital checkout to access these e-books and audio books from any of your devices with an internet connection.
- PINES Kids Catalog: Check out the special link on this catalog with titles that support the “Oceans of Possibilities” theme this summer. Other categories include ABC’s, counting, nutrition, shapes, colors, and much more.
- Explore Georgia: Did you know your family can check out library passes for free admission or parking to places like the Georgia Aquarium, museums, Zoo Atlanta, state parks, and the Go Fish Education Center? Through partnerships with organizations across the state, Georgia’s public libraries provide families with educational and recreational opportunities to spend time together while saving money.
- Express creativity and learn something new: Enjoy summer (and year round) programming for every type of kid. Children can express their creativity at one of the many library makerspaces around the state. These activities encourage engagement and critical thinking as they help children learn about robotics, engineering, cooking, electronics and more. Many libraries offer storytimes in multiple languages and early literacy activities. Libraries are innovating programs to engage youth in everything from gardening to encouraging reluctant readers. If a child has special needs, ask about services for children with visual or hearing impairments. Summertime can be a great time for kids to explore a new skill or even learn an instrument. Libraries offer items for checkout beyond books and movies, everything from sewing machines to Snap Circuit kits to ukuleles. No matter your child’s interest, the sky’s the limit at your local library.
Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network Resources
- Summer Activity Guide: GSAN has developed a suite of fun and engaging activities and challenges for school-age children designed specifically for this atypical summer. The activities are organized by four different age groups (5 – 9, 10 – 12, 13 – 15, 16 – 18), adaptable for in-person and virtual instruction, and based in skill building and social-emotional learning. Quick Guides will accompany the suite to support youth development professionals and families. Resources will be released gradually from May 27 through early August.
- Literacy and Future Learning Resources: Afterschool and summer learning programs provide students with the additional supports they need to help build a strong foundation in literacy, including reading, writing and critical thinking skills that pave the way for future learning.
iCivics: Games are a great tool for summer learning that won’t feel like school work. Check out more than 20 free online games that are designed to help students put their civics and history knowledge into play. iCivics games can be played on a computer or tablet, so your student can learn on the go this summer.
Learning Power: Georgia Power’s summer camp activities are now on video. Solar s’mores, cool catapults… and much more! Students will love these hands-on activities covering STEM energy topics like transformation of energy, insulators and conductors, and engineering.
NASA STEM at Home: NASA is helping inspire the next generation of STEM professionals with these free hands-on projects categorized to help kids Build It! Solve It! Launch It! Play It! Color It! and Read It! at home.
Open Middle: Organized by grade level and specific skill for grades K – 12, Open Middle features a series of equations with missing numbers that students solve using critical thinking, number sense, and math concept knowledge.
Prodigy: Check out engaging, curriculum-aligned math platform designed to motivate students in grades 1 – 8 to learn and practice math. No cost, ever.
READCamp with Malcolm Mitchell: This three-month program allows students in grades K – 12 to participate in training, drills, and practice in order to maintain literacy skills during summer break. This reading challenge, led by Super Bowl Champion and author Malcolm Mitchell, is designed to encourage reading over the summer to avoid “the summer slide” learning gap. Kids and/or parents can sign up, or teachers can sign up their entire class. The program kicks off on May 30.
Sightwords.com: The Georgia Preschool Association sponsors resources to help teach your child to read, including games, lessons and flashcards.
Storyline Online: This award-winning children’s literacy website streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.
The Kids Should See This: An educational alternative to YouTube, this collection of kid-friendly (not made-for-kids) videos, is curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and home.
Vroom: Boost learning from birth – 5. Boost learning from birth – 5. Available for iOS and android phones, this app is filled with fun and simple learning activities for mealtime, bathtime, bedtime, or anytime.
Wide Open School: This free collection of online learning experiences features resources for children in pre-K through grade 12, offering suggested daily schedules with online and offline activities. The site features content developed by National Geographic, Sesame Workshop, noggin, Boys & Girls Club, and National Head Start Association, among others.
Words2Reading: Grow your young reader from birth – 8 through easy-to-follow videos, links, downloadable documents, e-books, and audio clips.
CAMP GPB: Fill your summer days with creativity, exploration and fun with this series for kids that blends day camp and learning into playful fun, with the help of our favorite partner organizations.
Camp PBS Kids: Go on summer learning adventures with PBS KIDS. Get tips and activities to make this summer a season full of creativity, exploration, and fun for the whole family. Explore different topics such as space, world cultures, reading, fun in the outdoors, and cooking with math with your favorite PBS KIDS characters.
Camp Wonderopolis: This free online summer learning destination is full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy building topics boosted by Maker experiments. Keeping kids and their families learning together throughout the summer and out-of-school time, Camp Wonderopolis can help build vocabulary, background knowledge in science, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and other literacy skills along the way.
DECAL/QCC Summer Camp Search Checklist: Before you choose a summer camp or child care for your child, ask these questions about the facility’s general policies and COVID-19 prevention measures. Parents can get answers to questions and referrals to safe, affordable, and engaging programs by calling 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS (877-255-4254). This free service is available Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., and on Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Out-of-School Time Program Map: This map by the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network helps you to begin your search for an out-of-school program that fits your needs. You can search by location, keyword, activities offered, and ages served. All information on the map is self-reported.