Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Learning Station: The Activities

Benjamin Franklin said:
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

This summer, we are taking Ben's advice and doing both!  We are writing in multiple languages, drawing what we see,  going places to tell about, and discovering all that is life!

In my last post, I told you about our Summer Learning Station.  This station is the center of our summer fun and schedule.  We post the work that we've done, pictures of fun that's been had and maintain our schedule for the day.

In an effort to make plenty of activities available to my angels, I have placed a variety of worksheets and other activities in manila folders to keep little hands busy when the "I'm bored" alarm starts to sound.  So far, it has worked!  In fact, first thing in the morning, my angel is at the board working on something from a folder while mommy sneaks in an extra few minutes of sleep.  Yeah!

Here's how is works:

  1. Select topics that interest your child and which you would like them to work on this summer.  Be sure to mix up the topics, make them fun, and not to be overly academic.  We are working on the following topics: Language, Bible, Math, Craft, Music, Reading, Mystery
  2. Inside of each folder, place one activity that your child can complete independently.
  3. Hang the folders somewhere convenient.  The child should be able to reach them his/herself and sit nearby to work on the activity.  We used a clothesline with clothespins.
  4. Be sure that the child has easy access to the supplies needed to complete the activity.
  5. Let the child know what to do with the completed work.  We colored one side of our clothespins green to indicate an incomplete activity and the other side red to indicate a completed one. When the work in a folder is finished, it is placed back into the folder and hung on our clothesline with the red side of the clip facing out.
  6. Periodically, I go through the folders and check the completed work. That work is then replaced by another activity of the same topic and re-hung on the line with the green side of the clip facing out.  I try not to rush and replace the completed work to quickly.  I want to encourage my angels to try some of the topics that may not be their favorites.

Our Folder Topics
(and a few ideas)

"Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own."
Jahann von Goethe

I placed a quote on the outside of the folders to inspire my angels.  Even those who can not read are curious to ask what it says.  For the really little ones, try drawing an inspiring picture on the outside of the envelope. Or better yet, have them draw one!

In the "Language" folder, I place activities such as:
  • handwriting practice sheets 
  • foreign language activities 
  • meaningful writing tasks like addressing postcards or writing letters
  • Alphabet games
  • Starting and Ending sound puzzles

"Art is both creation and recreation."
Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937

I have a very crafty angel and this is the folder that I use to push those creative limits.  I use this folder to inspire the great creator within all of us, and my angel, too!

In the "Craft" folder, I place activities such as:
  • cutting or folding practice
  • color by number or watercolor sheets
  • create-a-craft items (These are a random of collection of items that I place in the folder.  Angels are instructed to use all of the items to complete a task like make a card for Grandpa or build a house for your favorite stuffed animal.)
  • tracing activities

"Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33

Math is not just the ability to recognize and manipulate numbers.  It is the ability to use logic and problem solving to complete a task.  Activities in this folder will work on both recognizing and manipulating numbers as well as logic and problem solving skills.

In the "Math" folder, I place activities such as:

"God gives us each a song."
American Indian Proverb

The benefits of learning music have been proven repeatedly through the years, yet, we still stifle the music that lies deep within each of us.  Help your children discover a love for sound and express themselves in song (whether it be a perfect one or not).

In the "Music" folder, I place activities such as:

  • Match the note values:  match the note on the left with another note of equal value on the right
  • Identify the instruments
  • Musical App time:  "MyClassicalApp", "Jellybean Tunes", "Seuss Band"
  • Turn on children's music and dance with scarves, instruments etc.
  • Make an instrument:  Place the items needed and picture or word instructions on how to make it themselves.  Better yet, take the time to make instruments with your children for this activity.  (see "Homemade Instruments" on; "9 Easy to Make Musical Instruments" by
  • Name that tune: Using one line of written music, name that tune.

"Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life."
Mortimer J. Adler

Reading unlocks the door to worlds unseen. Reading allows us to see inside the imagination of others.  Whether you love fiction, nonfiction or don't really love reading at all, help your children develop a love a reading that will empower their future.  Read with them this summer so that they will seek to read throughout the school year.

In the "Reading" folder, I place activities such as:

  • Complete comprehension activities for a book or book chapter read.
  • Place a book in the envelope and ask your angel to read it to you aloud.
  • Crossword puzzle.
  • Word or Letter search
  • Sight Word activities
  • Punctuation activities
  • Sentence Structure activities

"I've read the last page of the Bible.  It's going to turn out all right."
Billy Graham

A solid love of the Lord comes through a deeper understanding of who He is.  This folder is designed to help our little ones develop a relationship with the Lord and a desire to study the Lord's Word more.

In the "Bible" folder, I place activities such as:

  • Bible storybooks
  • Drawing activities to depict a story studied
  • Ask little ones to identify behaviors that are pleasing to the Lord
  • Activities to help recognize activities that are helpful to others

"Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand."
Neil Armstrong

This is a place for me to put activities that are just plain fun and interesting.

In the "Mystery" folder, I place activities such as:

  • Puzzles
  • 3D drawing pad with glasses
  • Treasure map leading your pirate to hidden booty (small treasures frozen in an large ice block with warm water and basters to help them remove the bounty)
  • Cooking activity
  • Movie
  • A chart to help identify them identify rocks from the yard

I hope that these activity ideas motivate you to try something new this summer, even if you do not make an activity board as we did.  The key to our desire for learning is a true understanding of how much we do not know.  And, in the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The more we study the more we discover our ignorance."  

This summer study hard and discover your ignorance!

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