Young family of 4 posing by tree on Cambridge Trail for post on Summer activities for dyslexic children

Photo courtesy of Sarah Bradt

Picture this: It was the last few days before summer vacation and I was in Grade 2—many years ago. Our teacher had stepped out to make stenos. While she was out, my classmates and I noticed a large turtle slowly making its way across the school yard. The boy in the desk next to me suddenly jumped from his seat, opened the window, climbed outside and chased the turtle around the yard. We all looked on in amazement. We all wanted to be outside too!


My point is, summer is just around the corner and if you have a dyslexic child in your family, you know they can’t wait to be outside to start their summer holidays. Instead of pressing your dyslexic child to refine their academic skills over the summer, why not make it a summer to bolster their self-esteem with activities that focus on their strengths and talents? (See the Open Door blog: Teaching Methods for Dyslexic Children)


For instance, many dyslexic individuals demonstrate a high level of aptitude in:

  • creative arts
  • athletics
  • music
  • pattern recognition
  • emotional intelligence, as well as social and entrepreneurial skills.


As Gavin Reid points out in his book, Dyslexia, A Complete Guide for Parents and Those Who Help Them, “one of the most effective ways to boost and maintain a child’s self-esteem is to ensure they achieve some success and genuine praise.”


Set your child up for success by embracing the ways they learn.

Children with dyslexia respond best when taught through multi-sensory learning methods and in places where they can move around freely. Here are few examples of summer activities they are likely enjoy:

photo of the cover of Cookbook-for-kids-from-Usborne-Publishing

Hold your own bake-off!


Consider hands-on activities like cooking or baking together where you can follow a recipe, measure ingredients, then mix and bake. It’s fun to make things from scratch but choosing ready-mix products (like a cake, muffin, cookie mixes) can keep the steps simple and the final product is almost 100% guaranteed. These products have simple recipes and easy to follow instructions with pictures.

For bread machine recipes with or without a breadmaker, visit a blog hosted by moi, to help get you started BarrhavenBites Blog – Bread Machine Recipes


Explore the outdoors – naturally!

There’s nothing quite like enjoying nature and exploring the great outdoors to help you feel relaxed and untethered. Day camps or activities such as hiking, bird watching, and gardening encourage children to discover the joy of observing, listening and caring for plants. A simple activity of collecting wild flowers and pressing them between wax paper in a book could lead to a creative card making activity on a rainy day. There are several blogs and links for favourite hiking trails around Ottawa but this NCC blog of lesser known trails is one of my favourites: Lesser Known Hiking Trails Around Ottawa-Gatineau .


Join the team, mate!

Most of the children I tutored loved playing sports and would readily tell you that their favourite school classes were, “recess and gym.” But not necessarily in that order. Sports activities like soccer, rugby, and baseball, allow children to be outside and be with their team mates. They teach children how to be a good team player, to benefit from coaching, and how to be encouraging toward their team mates. Winning is fun. Getting there together as a team is even better. (See The Growth Mindset: Are you learning the power of yet?)


Express Yourself Any Way You Like!

Dyslexic children often prefer spaces where they can move freely and learn best when they are able to touch and explore through a multi-sensory approach. Hands-on activities like sculpting provide loads of fun for children individually or in a group. To find creative classes, I suggest checking out the City of Ottawa Arts Centre activities in: performing arts, dance, music, and painting. To get started, see: Nepean Creative Arts Centre – City of Ottawa


And in case you were wondering …about that rambunctious little boy who chased the turtle across the schoolyard? The teacher happily brought us all outside to have a look at the turtle. The boy grew up and graduated with a Forestry Management degree from Lakehead University. He still prefers to be outside in the company of snakes, turtles, and trees whenever possible.


For more tips about dyslexia and boosting your child’s self-esteem with activities they enjoy, visit these Open Door blog links:

Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is written for parents of children with dyslexia. Comments? If you have comments about this blog or would like to contribute, please contact us at We welcome your blog topic suggestions!
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