Summer break has started, or will very shortly. It’s a perfect time to take those classroom skills and apply them to different, more relaxed summer venues. By keeping the learning process active, you can help your child subtly practice new strategies and avoid the “summer slide.” By engaging in some fun educational activities this summer, you can help her be fully prepared when the new school year begins.
Check with your local library. Most libraries offer free relaxed summer reading programs, with creative motivational prizes for students.
Leave electronic devices home when going to the beach, lake or pool. Pack some favorite books and puzzles for quiet time on the blanket.
Take pictures when on vacation. Use a photo as a “story-starter” to help him write about a vacation experience. Help him paste the picture at the top of a lined paper. He can tell the who, what, where, why, when, and how of the story by describing the picture. One picture for each page can create a lovely vacation memory book when put together!
For penmanship, have your child use some unsharpened pencils to practice letter and word writing in the sand at the beach, or in a sandbox. The thickness of the sand, when she prints the letters or words, enhances the feel of how the letters are formed.
For math and science:
Take a few different-sized and -shaped containers when going to the beach, pond, or pool. Have him put some water in a pail. Then have him pour water from the pail into the different containers. Help him understand that liquids (the water) take on the different shapes of what holds them. Have him pour the water out, and see what happens when the liquid is in the sand.
Have her collect 10 sticks of different sizes in the backyard. Or, collect 10 shells or rocks at the beach. Have her line them up from smallest to biggest or biggest to smallest to compare and contrast size. She can also use them to practice multiple ways to make 10 (1+9, 5+5, 6+4, etc.).
These simple yet fun summer activities reinforce the fact that learning is a continuous process, and takes place just about everywhere!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.