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Because the pandemic created such a strange learning environment for children everywhere, it is more important than ever to practice their skills at home to build them up to where they ought to be within their grade level. For years before the pandemic, I used to get so frustrated because our family wanted to go on fun vacations and enjoy family time together during the summer, yet I also wanted to keep my kids thinking and learning and not going backwards in their academic skills. Practicing those skills is even more important now that kids have had such a strange school year and also if you have students who struggle with conventional learning in even normal conditions.
Combining Learning with fun
This summer, I have 3 of my grandsons with me, as well as my 3 year old granddaughter. I am the Summer School Teacher for the month that they are here. We do school every morning for 2 hours. And while learning and getting caught up is our main focus, their grandpa and I want to do some fun things with them as well. We are trying to color in more experiences found on our Adventures With Grandparents Chart. We have planned a trip up to a favorite creek, perhaps a camping trip and we want to spend some other days up in cooler temperatures than we have in Phoenix. (It is going to hit 107 degrees this week!)
It is still possible to keep learning and basic skills fresh in their minds even when you are having a fun family time. As a matter of fact, when you combine learning with fun, those are lessons that will definitely stick in a child's mind better than any other. I wrote about one such example last year when I had a grandson and granddaughter with me for summer school.
Of course, a lot of practice can happen orally and visually as you experience the fun moments of Summer. But, I have also created some ways to have my grandkids do some hands on writing and sort of scavenger hunt type activities that help them practice the areas that they need the most help in. I am going to share with you the worksheets that I made for my grandkids to use, and you can print and use them as well. Mainly though, I want you to see that you can take some of the things that YOUR kids need to practice and tailor the activities to their needs. Here is the first example:
My grandson has trouble with initial sounds in speech. He usually substitutes the "f" sound. My granddaughter, as age 3, has trouble pronouncing "s" blends. This page focuses on the "st" blend and the "f" sound. Plus, all of the children can read, follow directions and make observations. Of course, a lot of conversation needs to go along with these activities. Grownups need to be active participants to encourage the learning!
I create my worksheets on Google Draw and save them in the Drive. I can easily reopen them and add different tasks in each box. This one is for us to take to a favorite creek and do when we are taking a lunch break from swimming in the creek. If you want to download this page, click on the button.
Here is another example of a simple math page for younger children:
One of my grandsons is 13 years old. He is autistic and has a language processing disorder. He loves Science and reading non-fiction. So, I needed to provide him with something more on his grade level. He reads very well but needs practice with comprehension and connections when he reads.
Since we will be going up to Wet Beaver Creek, I did a little research and found out about more of the "science" of the area and put together a packet of information that he can read and look at as we go up there. Click on the pictures for the pdf of the photos. Click on the button for the written information. If you live in AZ and plan to go to Wet Beaver Creek, you can use this with your kids.
The informational page also covers the concept of "Leave No Trace." That is something that I will let my grandson help teach to his younger brothers as well. When he gets a chance to teach, information stays with him better and "Leave No Trace" is something we should all understand.
It didn't really take a ton of effort to put these things together for my grandchildren. There are always websites that cover the attractions that you may be going to where you can get the info that you need. To tell the truth, it was all a bit of an education for me as well! In the long run, the effort will definitely be worth it.
So, get out there and have fun and keep learning as well!
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Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!