Every year, we look forward to spending summer vacation with our children. “Camp Mommy” always begins with a bang and the entire family is looking forward to the summer schedule — picnicking, swimming, entertaining, biking, sleepovers, short day trips, and the list goes on!
By about three weeks in to summer break, we begin looking for activities that will occupy our children that are both educational and easy — no big messes to clean up are a bonus! Since it’s important for small children to maintain and strengthen their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their literacy and numeracy skills over the summer, we recommend to parents to enhance summer learning in a fun and creative way. These are some of our favorites.
1. Sand playdough
What you need:
½ Cup sand
½ Cup cornstarch
½ Cup boiling water
Mix ingredients together and kneed. Put the sand in a large container and play inside on rainy day. Or, make a large amount and take it outside to play with like a sandbox. Making the sand together is half the fun!
2. Cloud gazing
Start by reading the book, “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by C. Shaw. Then, take a walk outdoors and look for shapes and pictures in the clouds and draw them.
Ask your child if the cloud reminds them of anything; for example, a bunny or face. At the end of the day, when the sun isn’t too bright, we lie on our front lawn and look at the clouds together!
3. Thumbs up
Say two words. Your child should be instructed to put their thumbs up if the words rhyme… thumbs down if they don’t!
You can also play asking them to identify if the words begin with the same letter sound or end with the same letter sound.
This is a great game to play in the car, while waiting in line-ups at the grocery store, or while you’re making dinner.
4. No-mess painting
On a hot sunny day, put out a pail of water, a few paintbrushes, and sponges. Paint the water on the sidewalk or fence and see how long it takes for the water to dry and disappear! Try counting how long it takes or discuss using vocabulary such as fast, slow, and quick. Once it dries, you can paint all over again!
5. Name puzzles
Write your child’s name in large printing on construction paper.
Cut it out into a shape of a puzzle and have them try and put it back together. This activity encourages name recognition and will be helpful at the beginning of the school year.
6. Color your heart out
All you need is chalk and a sidewalk for this activity… simple! Help your child further develop their fine motor skills with chalk — the resistance on the driveway or the sidewalk will encourage the development of their fine motor muscles. Draw a picture for your child and have them color it in or give them free reign and let them color their hearts out or encourage them to practice their letters. Whatever they do, let them color the fun!
What are your favorite summer learning activities?
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