Who says summer can’t include learning and excitement about going back to school?
Teach your children that learning over the summer can and should be fun. With these tips on how to create a summer journal — and ideas on when to use one — you can introduce summer learning to your child and possibly carry on the tradition every year.
A summer journal encourages creative writing, handwriting practice, spelling practice and storytelling. You can easily tailor your child’s summer journals based on your family travels and various summer plans to make it more exciting for your child — and less like a chore or homework.
To create a summer journal, give your child a lined, spiral notebook and encourage that they decorate the front to match the contents, or however they wish. Your child can make and keep a camp journal, vacation journal or summer adventures journal. They could also write their own book about their summer, their favorite characters or make up their own story line.
Summer adventure scrapbook
For younger children, or to accompany a written journal for older children, a scrapbook is a great tool to encourage imagination and expression. Children can also develop visual storytelling and improve their fine motor skills through cutting and pasting.
Take your elementary school-aged child to the library to pick out a few summer-themed books. Make sure your child is interested and engaged in these books — they don’t necessarily have to be reading-level chapter books, the goal is to get your child in the habit of retaining information and creating a book report. By letting your child pick the book, it becomes a fun activity — possibly one you can do together!
Board games and interactive family games are a great way to interact with your child and a great way to incorporate learning through play.
Elefun Snackin’ Safari ($15) is a customizable game for preschoolers age three and up. Encourage positive and purposeful activity with a hunt to find the Elefun’s favorite snacks.
Scrabble Catch Phrase ($20) is a great family game for children age eight and up. Get your teammate to guess each phrase in this fast-paced guessing game, but don’t be caught holding the game when the buzzer sounds. This particular game encourages creativity and fast thinking, which is perfect for getting a child’s brain ready for school.
Reach out to other moms or contact your child’s school to see if the teacher and class assignments have been made. By organizing a get-together before school starts, your child has a chance to get acquainted with the kids he or she will be sharing a classroom with come fall.
A planned get-together is a great way to meet any school newcomers, re-connect with the kids your child hasn’t seen all summer, coordinate more back-to-school play dates, activities and meetings for positive social interaction and get your child excited about back-to-school with friends. You can even extend an invitation to the teacher so the children have a chance to meet whom it is they will be spending their days with.
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