The Children's Ombudsman says summer camps and weekend classes should be looked at as ways to help children 'catch up' on lost education and socialising.
Dr Niall Muldoon says the Government needs to start planning for the summer now, rather than negotiating 'off the cuff' during a crisis.
While limited classes have resumed in Ireland's special needs schools already, a phased return of other students will get underway from Monday.
Under the current plan, some teenagers won't return to classrooms until April.
Speaking to Moncrieff, Dr Muldoon said all children have lost dozens of weeks of education and socialisation that will now have to be caught up with.
He said: “We do have to find some way of catching up - whether that’s at weekends or summer camps.
"I’d love to see something innovative… where the child goes to a soccer or GAA summer camp, and then for two hours afterwards they do geography, history or Irish. You build it in together, so they can have fun and education.
“There are ways of doing it, but they do need to be planning it now."
He said it may involve bringing in substitute teachers and volunteers, but those plans need to be confirmed ‘as soon as possible’.
Dr Muldoon - who was recently reappointed to his role for a second term - said he has been 'challenging' the Government on their lack of planning ahead.
He said: “I went to meet the Minister for Education in September last year, and the two items on my agenda were: what’s the plan for the next lockdown, and what’s the plan for Leaving Cert 2021?
“No planning was done, no negotiations with unions were done.
"My sense is we could have agreed a plan as to who comes back and in what order and with what protections before Christmas, but instead we waited until January… when the Government announced it and then had to negotiate.”