First of all, Happy Memorial Day. As a veteran I can appreciate this day and for those of you who have served or have loved ones that have served or are serving, I wish you a very special day.
I know we – as parents – have good intentions to keep our children’s brains active. But, sometimes, as the summer days get underway we fall into some lazy, ho-hum days. To take your days from ho hum to high fun, keep reading.
First, visit your local Dollar Store and get a few things jars or plastic cups; flat baskets; colored paper, notebook paper and a ream of white paper; as well as foil, pompoms, crazy eyes, sticky letters, water colors, paint brushes, small stickers for little rewards, handwriting practice sheets (if you have young children), and flashcards. You can also make your own if they don’t have any on your children’s grade level. You should get math and vocabulary cards. Also, if you don’t have markers, pens, pencils, colored pencils, scissors, rulers, tape and glue, add that to your shopping list.
Next, organize your supplies at a table or other convenient location in your home… put the writing utensils in the jars or cups and use the flat baskets for the papers, etc. Also, add educational worksheets and books, which you may already have.
Now, let’s get started:
1. Art with a twist: Give the children an art project to create then instruct them to add math to their project. For instance, if your little one makes an outdoor scene give them an example of making two clouds, three trees and four flowers. They can decorate and color the entire picture, but they’re also going to add. They should put the number one in each cloud, and depending on their math level, they can put twos in the trees and threes in the flowers. Then they can add or subject per your instructions. For older children, do multiplication and division.
2. Quirky quizzing: Have your older children quiz your younger children with the flashcards. Also, have the older children use the flashcards to write sentences or the beginning of stories.
3. Word play: Young children can make seek and finds. You (or older children) can help them by drawing lines or boxes on the paper so they can get the letters straight. But try to let them do it on their own. You can give them 10 or so words to hide within the puzzle or let them come up with their own. Once they’re done they should let their sibling solve the puzzle. Older children can create crossword puzzles. They may need help making the boxes, but challenge them to create those on their own using the rulers.
4. Pick a project: Make a list of projects (fun and educational) to do during the summer when you have the chance. If you can, gather most of the needed items beforehand. If not, then purchase something every week or every other week to build your stash of supplies. The categories for projects should include Science, Math, Spelling, Language Arts, Social Studies, Minis in Motion (I reviewed a fitness game that may give you ideas), Money Management, Shopping Savvy, Wood Work, Art and Music. Sound like a lot, but it isn’t especially when you have multiple kids to entertain.
Two more ideas:
Use bean bag balls and a board similar to the one below to help little ones with hand/eye coordination. If you don’t want to purchase or make one, use hula hoops – they’re sold at the dollar store – and different sized balls to create a similar activity.
For older kids, set up a bike or ride-on toy obstacle course. Instead of just doing it in your backyard go to a park that has an uneven terrain to make it more exciting. Use cones, crates, draw chalk trails and lines, small objects to jump over and little ramps.
Check out some previous posts, about seven, where there are more ideas for fun with kids. You’ll find a museum visit, interesting books for your children and you as well as a couple of ideas on how to enjoy the time with your children.
Remember even your educational projects can be artistic and fun. I hope this summer – spent with your family or without – is filled with more fun, love and excitement than you’ve ever experienced.
What do you have planned this summer? Have you already scheduled some fun activities and outings? If so, please share below. We love to hear others’ ideas and family fun.