Summer Activity Suggestions

Fun ways to keep up their skills over the summer!


Reading! Please continue your reading routines!! I can't emphasize enough how important this is! We tell the children every day that reading is what people do - it's not a kid thing or a school thing - it's an everyone thing. Let your child see you read - to yourself and to them. Let them hear your silly voices. Let them tell you the best parts and predict how it will end. Make it fun! Seeing YOU read will be their greatest inspiration.

Encourage kindness!
Think of something kind that your child can do that will bring a smile to someone else! Bake cookies for a neighbor, make a card, sing a song.... notice within your family each kind act that you do for each other! Make your own kindness wall where you write them down and acknowledge them! You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Bedtime! Summer is wonderful for being able to stay up a little later and sleep in - but, please try to keep some sort of routine in place. It will really help when September comes around.

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Road Trip!

1) The Miracle of Plain Paper: Keep plain white paper in your car at all times! It has saved us one more than one occasion!

  • Search! Create a 9 square grid for your child with things to look for during the trip! In each square on the grid sketch different items to look for - 4 birds, 6 bridges, 5 things shaped like a rectangle, 3 blue trucks, etc. Have your child create one for you, too! Race each other to see who can complete theirs first! Be creative! Make them even more challenging!

  • Exit Sums! Write down the next two exit numbers and add them together, Race your child to see who can do it first! This is obviously more challenging when the exits are in the double or triple digits.

  • "Build a Bear" (or "Hangman" as we called it when I was a kid). Using some of that white paper... think of a word and have your child(ren) try to guess the letters one at a time. Each time they guess incorrectly, draw a new part of the bear. They need to try and guess the word before the bear is drawn.

  • Are We There Yet? Use your GPS and write down the estimated arrival time - have your child keep track of any rest breaks along the way and recalculate the ETA. See how close they are to the GPS' new estimate.

2) Map it! Print an old fashioned map of your travel route. Laminate it (or put it in a plastic paper protector) and give it to your child. Give them a dry erase marker and let them trace the route as you drive. This will help understand directions, use their math and reading skills, and keep them from asking "How much longer?!" They can figure it out for themselves!

3) Conversation Games!

  • One Word Story! Taking turns, each person says the next word in a story. Try to encourage them to think about creating a story that makes sense. It's tricky and often hilarious!!
  • Alphabet Game! Taking turns, each person has to say a word that follows next in the alphabet. To make it even trickier, they must repeat all of the previous words in order.
  • Going on a Picnic! Someone thinks of three items that have something in common (e.g. color, shape, letters, etc). For example, a beach ball, an orange, and a lollipop. That person tells the other players the three items without telling them what they have in common (in this case, they are all round). Players are only allowed to go to the picnic if they can crack the code and bring an item that matches the secret pattern. To play, the next person asks, "Can I bring.... ?" and makes a guess. If they figured it out, the first player says "Yes, you can come!". If they're wrong, the first player says "Sorry, you can't come to the picnic". Play continues until all players have figured out what the items have in common.
  • Animal Guessing Game (Variation of 20 Questions): One player thinks of animal and provides one clue to the other players. For example, "It lives in the woods". The other players take turns asking "yes/no" questions until they figure out which animal it is.
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Be a Summer Reading Buddy

Read the same book as your child! Choose a book together, have a copy for each of you and read! You may surprised at how much fun it is to share ideas, predictions, and thoughts!

Some tips: pick something you're both interested in, but that your child can read independently. Talk about it casually - "Can you believe that happened?" , "I wonder why they did that?" "What do you think will happen next?"

Let them see you read and be excited to read with them! If you're not available, try asking Grandma, Grandpa or a friend. :)

Check out our list of recommended reads from TJS' own 2nd and 3rd graders. See the "Summer Reading" GoodReads link on my Website.

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Rainy Days!

They happen every summer! What to do when it's starts raining?

1) Kids Diner! Encourage your child to make a menu for dinner, complete with prices for each item. Try to have them think of things that they could actually make - sandwiches, cereal, toast, fruit cup, etc. Let them be the cook and waiter (get siblings involved!). Have them serve you and then calculate the bill! Encourage them to use non-monetary payment options (hugs, stickers, etc) or to choose monetary amounts that you don't mind paying! I usually have my kids keep each item under a dollar.

Have fun!

2) Bake or Cook! Encourage your child to follow a simple recipe with your guidance. Reading and following a recipe uses all kinds of skills! Plus you get a fantastic treat when you're done!

If you're really daring - let them create and write down their own recipe. Did it work? What would they change to make it better?

3) Write a letter! Think of a favorite person and write them a letter. Maybe an uncle you haven't seen in a while, cousin, or family friend that lives far away. Encourage them to use complete sentences, capital letters and punctuation.

4) Card Houses - give your child a deck of playing cards (or two) and challenge them to build the biggest house possible!

5) Play some board games!! Monopoly, Sorry!, Quirkle, Rummikub, Life, Consensus, Telestrations, chess, or good ole checkers. All of these game not only practice math skills, but they encourage cooperation.

6) Break out the LEGO's!!!! Nothing beats Lego's for fun and skill building!

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Backyard Camp!

Have your child and their friends create their own backyard camp for the neighborhood kids! Set up some ground rules:

1) They must create a flyer to "get the word out" - choose a date, time (beginning and END time), and list of potential activities.

2) They must plan and organize all the activities

3) Have them choose activities that do not require you to purchase anything. For instance, a nature scavenger hunt, leaf rubbing, egg and spoon races, obstacle courses, etc. If you choose to buy additional items, give them a budget and let them figure out how to stick to it.

4) Provide as much supervision as you feel necessary, while still letting them be "in charge" when the "campers" are over.

This is great for using and building your child's leadership skills!

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Lemonade Stand!

Not only a great summertime tradition, but the perfect way for children to practice their money and math skills.