Are you looking for a few ideas to entertain your little ones this summer?  Here are a few ideas that combine learning and fun.

I’m Thinking of a Letter:

A great activity for a car ride, waiting for an appointment or at a restaurant. Ask a letter question using this example as a model: “Banana, ball, balloon, bat, beach… what letter am I thinking of?”

Alphabet Countdown:

Children love to race against the clock. When it is time to clean up toys or put on shoes, ask your child if he/she can accomplish the task before you finish the alphabet song. You will be surprised how quickly they move. Have your child sing with you as you begin the countdown.

Sidewalk Chalk:

An irresistible medium for children. What better canvas than an entire driveway. Possibilities are endless as your child writes letters big and small, practices writing names (including mom and dad), labeling art-work together, creating hopscotch games…

Thinking of Something:

This game allows children to practice listening skills, while strengthening phonemic awareness skills. Select a word that children can easily rhyme, such as cat. Complete the following riddle frame with the word and a clue about the word: “I’m thinking of something that rhymes with ___ and (give a clue). What is it? Or Who is it?” Begin with easy words , increasing difficulty over time. Examples:

Let your child guess the word, then repeat with a new word and clue. As your child becomes more familiar with the structure of the riddle, they can take turns sharing their own.

Shape Treasure Hunt:

Children love to go on treasure hunts. To begin this activity you will need to make a shape viewer. Simply cut a circle, rectangle and a triangle shape in the center of a index card. One shape per index card. Glue the index cards to craft sticks. Your child will use the viewers to look for particular shapes. Square shaped viewers require the child to look for square shapes. Circle viewers look for circles… Join your child in the hunt for extra fun. Another version would be to take the shape finders outside with pencil and paper. Tally all the shapes that you can find in and around your yard or a nearby park.

Exploring Colors:

Place milk in a shallow dish. Add drops of food coloring. Dip the end of a toothpick in dish soap and touch the milk. The colors will instantly shoot out at lightening speed creating a wake of rainbows. Try dipping the toothpick in the color first and then the milk and rings will appear.

Play Dough:

Play dough is an excellent medium for building strength in the hands, which will be needed for writing in school. Making your own play dough can be a fun activity for you and your child on a rainy day. Cooking with your child also improves math skills.

Stir all of the dry ingredients into a large pot. Slowly add the water and oil. Using a large wooden spoon, blend the mixture until all of the lumps are gone. Stir in several drops of food coloring till you have the desired color (the dough will darken as it cooks). Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a large spoon until it forms a ball. While the mixture is still warm, knead it on a lightly floured board for several minutes or until the dough has a soft, satiny feel. Store the dough in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a month.

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