Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Summer Learning Activities to get ready for school {#StreamTeam}

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We have 4 weeks left of summer... so it is time to get ready for school.  We will still be doing lots of fun summer stuff but we will be mixing in some learning time for the kids so their brains are ready when school starts.  We actually do many of these learning activities during the whole summer so that the kids don't lose the skills they learned. But we skip days if we have a lot going on, and we skipped the whole week of VBS.

Here are some simple learning activities that you can do at home.

Journaling:
I have a 1st grader and a 4 year old pre-schooler and they both LOVE to keep journals.  At this point it is mostly pictures.  I tell them to draw a picture after giving a journal prompt.  (I just google Kindergarten Journal prompts if I need ideas) but keep it simple like: "What is one thing you want to learn?" Or "What is something fun you want to do today?" My mom took the kids on a "nature hike" and the kids took their journals to record what they saw.
I get my journal books from either the Target Dollar Spot or the Dollar Store.  Or you can make your own by stapling paper together.  

Worksheets:
My kids love to do worksheets.  I let them use markers to write on them and they think it is the best.  I got some workbooks from Target (They have some for $1 in the dollar spot right now!) and I also print off FREE worksheet from online.  Just google "Free printable "___ grade" worksheets".


Reading:
We try and read 20 minutes a day.  My son is just starting to read so we started with The Bob Books Sets.  We also go to the library to pick up beginning reader books.  We made some goals for the summer like "Read 100 books" to earn some thing fun.  I also make my kids earn their screen time by reading:  1 book = 6 minutes of screen time so 10 books = 1 hour.  My kids are still little so their books are short, so you can adjust as needed for your kids. 

Puzzles:
The kids love puzzles and it promotes problem solving.  They can do the 24 - 50 pieces by themselves.  I usually set a timer for 15-20 minutes and have them do as many puzzles as they can in that time.  I get my puzzles from the Dollar store and Target Dollar spot (sensing a pattern here?) 

Educational Shows:
When my kids do get screen time I try to get them to watch some educational shows.  We have NETFLIX so we have lots of shows to watch with no commercials!  Some of our favorites are 
Anything Leap Frog (my kids learned their letters and sounds from The Letter Factory), The Magic School Bus, Super Why and Word Girl. 

Now don't start thinking that I am a super mom that only has my kids doing educational activities and my kids join in without complaint.  It is usually like pulling teeth to get my son to read (don't let the picture above fool you!)  and not all of their screen time is educational - my son watches plenty of Pokemon too. But I know if I have some educational activities planned then it is more likely that we will do them.  Plus they are nice fillers through the day for when you hear "I'm bored!"  

What kinds of things do you do with your kids to promote learning?  


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