We are in the last weeks of school. I get it. Kids are restless, and all standardized testing is over. The homework and the tests are still coming. I appreciate the restlessness. When I was in school, I am sure my mom fought tooth and nail to keep me interested. However, here I am, 31 years old and trying to walk the fine line between friend and the step-mom that doesn’t want this child growing up with the grammatical inconsistencies of me. Oh the horror. So here we are, Arg and I attempting to knock out some spelling for the spelling test that comes this. I decide that after the test she is going to write each word 5 times, neatly. Then we are going to test them again. It was about this time the pencil came flying at me, “Ugh! I hate this. You are ruining my life. This is the worst night ever.” (disclaimer: She is an amazing child, this was not typical behavior)
It just happened. I crossed over into “parent-land!” I didn’t think it would come this soon. I wasn’t ready. How was I going to respond. I felt like the response I had at that moment would set a precedent for all learning that would happen later. I calmly stood up, picked up the pencil, and walked away. I thought long and hard about the proper response. There was the part of me that was sad. I did, after all, provide her with the worst night ever. I was angry. I just got a pencil thrown at me! Then there was this voice that said, “You hated homework at 7 and 8 and 9 and 10 (you get the picture). Time to rethink this homework thing.” So here we are walking into the summer with 3-4 days left of school and a whole summer to forget all the amazing things that we have learned. Then August comes so quick, our kids will reluctantly walk back into a classroom, and parents will cringe at the thought of homework. How can we keep the learning going for the next 2-3 months? I have composed a list of my Top 3 “Play Hard, Get Smarter Activities.”
Top 3 “Play hard, get smarter” – summer learning activities.
1. It never fails that at the dinner table Ben or I use a word and “A” just looks at us as if we are crazy. She ultimately asks, “What does hypocritical mean?” (most recent example) We go explain it to her in the best way possible. She loves it. Naturally, uses it later in a sentence, albeit, incorrectly sometimes. I saw the “Summer Word Jar.” I thought, “Perfection!” I can do this. What a great dinner table conversation starter.
2. This Density Tower from WhizKid struck my fancy as it is both fun and hands on and my hope is, it would not even feel like learning. Ben is a pilot, and is constantly trying to explain to us air density. It is exhausting, I usually nod, smiling, pretending to understand. Density and physics are not my fortay. These experiments are the perfect start to some learning and, more importantly, fun on both the kid level and Whitney level.
3. I like to experiment with paint, and A loves to help me. I am not a very analytically person. I am visual. It makes me sad that teachers and schools are cutting visual arts from their programs. They simply can not squeeze it in with all the testing that needs to happen, so bringing it in during the summer seems perfect. Melissa and Doug posted a great blog about Art Appreciation. The plus to this project: New fresh refrigerator decor!
I will be pinning projects all through the summer and would love to know the projects you love as well.
How are you going to keep the troops entertained and the learning going this summer?