How To Keep Kids Learning At Your Summer Meal Site

Want to keep kids’ minds and bellies full while they are out of school this summer?

If you provide summer meals to children from low-income communities through USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, you can access books, basic needs items and other educational resources on the First Book Marketplace.

When school is out, many of the students at your summer meal site may not have books or learning opportunities available to them. Here are some great ways to incorporate books, games and learning activities into your meal program this summer:

Establish a lending library.

When kids come to your site, have books available that they can read while they are on site. Or let them “check out” books to take home, then bring back when they visit.

Develop an incentive program.

Help encourage kids to keep coming back to your meal site throughout the summer.  Award points each time they attend your meal site. Encourage them to keep collecting until they have enough to earn a book of their own, a game or a craft kit.

Use books to help reinforce healthy eating habits.

Stock up on books about healthy eating and healthy living to get kids eating their fruits and veggies. You can even send some healthy snacks home with them!

Throw a Reading Party.

Show the kids at your summer meal site that reading is fun with a reading party. Select one book to provide to all the kids you serve. Invite community members and local “celebrities” to read to small groups of kids. Invite parents or caregivers to join the celebration.