Saturday, April 19, 2008

Easy Summer Activities for Families

Summer Time is quickly approaching! Whether your child will participate in a camp, go to summer school, go on a familiy vacation, spend more time at home or a combination of all of the above; families may want to have some ideas of easy, fun activities that will keep children engaged.

Here's a list of some cheap and easy ones I have gathered!

Please share your ideas in the comments section!

1) Shaving cream bags Put a small amount of shaving cream in a gallon size ziploc bag, squeeze out all of the air, seal the top, use packing tape to tape it to an old or inexpensive cookie sheet. Have your child use the shaving cream bag as a "magic slate." Write his/her name. write numbers, draw shapes, practice math facts, doodle! You can change it out by adding a little bit of food coloring or using instant pudding.

2) Shaving cream on sliding glass doors (outside!) Messy, messy, messy! Put some shaving cream on the outside side of your sliding glass doors. Use the shaving cream to write or draw. Occupational Therapists (OTs) will love you! Writing and drawing on a vertical plane, crossing the midline...all kinds of good stuff built in. When you are finished, hose down your child and the door.

3) Go for a walk (make a list of all of the things you see, hear, smell, etc.)

4) Check out the Parent Page at Summer Bridge Activities They have free resources online and a book/computer game package that can be purchased. The book/cd, organizes the summer calendar according to grade level and one activity per day. Students of mine from previous classes have purchased this and found it beneficial.

5) Cook with your child Cooking involves so much authentic reading, math and science....and it's fun! Start with some simple recipes and build up. One recipe my class (3-5 year olds) loves to make is what I call a "dump and stir" recipe. Hawaiian salad: 1 can of mandarin oranges, one can of crushed pineapple, 1 cup of mini-marshmallows, one small container of sour cream....dump, stir, refrigerate. They love it when we use "big" vocabulary words too. Check the "recipe," do we have all of the "ingredients," what's the first step in the "procedure."

6) Make a book list Write down a list of books you want to read. Highlight the titles each time you read one. Read every day!

7) Observe ladybugs Go to your local nursery and ask them if you can have some ladybugs. Use an old fish tank, or large mayonaise jar and create a ladybug habitat. Observe them for a few days and then release them in your garden.

8) Go to the library Take a trip to the library with your child. My local library has videos, DVDs, CDs, book kits with puppets, as well as books!

9) Let your child take photos Help him/her make a photo album with them writing or telling what the picture is about.

10) Play! Play! Play! Make a tent with a sheet over furniture, build with legos, kick and chase with soccer balls, play hairdresser and make special hair-do's, play board games, play card games. Think about play activities.....I bet when you stop to think about the skills a child needs to play successfully, you will be able to come up with several pre-academic or academic skills that are embedded in the play!

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