I Want to Play Outside Today!

Both children and parents are probably very happy for the break from the busy school routine. But learning shouldn’t stop when school is out! Did you know that in addition to all the reading activities you can do during the summer, you can also turn math and science into fun-in-the-sun activities?

To keep young minds active this summer—as well as their bodies—check out some of these outdoor activities to do with your kids. They are a good way to use language and motor skills to play and bond with your children, and at the same time reuse materials you may already have.

Make a giant game (see pictures below)

  • Board games use counting and simple addition. For Snakes and Ladders, all you need is a tarp and some masking or duct tape to make a giant portable board game. Dust off your real game, or download a printable one, and copy it onto your tarp using the tape as the squares. The kids are the playing pieces! You can take it camping or to the park, or play in your own backyard.
  • Use bowls, plates, or Frisbees to create a toddler bean bag toss game.
  • You can also make an outdoor kerplunk with pvc pipe or doweling and a plastic clothes hamper.

I love all of these ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

Fun with Water

  • Set up a water table outside in the grass. Fill it with different sizes of cups and spoons, sieves and bowls as well as sponges, and play in the water. Just have fun with language that comes naturally to you when talking about amounts—more than and less than, empty and full, squeezing and absorbing.
  • Create a water sensory table/tub with water beads, sponges, or toys. Also talk about what floats and what sinks, and why. Try to predict what will happen when you add an item to the water.
  • Balloon piñata can help with motor skills and coordination, and it’s a fun way to cool down in the hot sun.

Most importantly, share your enthusiasm and language with your children and watch them blossom! What were your favourite summer activities? Try some with your own children! Often the best ones use supplies found at home, without buying expensive ‘one time’ purchases.

At the Centre for Family Literacy, we believe that children learn best through play. For more literacy fun and resources, please download our free FLIT app, available at Google Play and the APP store, and follow us on Facebook.

How to Avoid the Dreaded “I’m Bored” this Summer

The dreaded “I’m bored!” is just around the corner as school is out for the summer. Although many families still have a routine for summer (maybe daycare or day camps), it can also mean a lot more time spent with the kids. Holidays are taken. Maybe your work is at home or you’re off for the summer. As much as we look forward to the changes summer brings, too much free time can result in “I’m bored” coming up again and again. It doesn’t take long to realize that some sort of routine is needed.

One of the things I’m using at home to combat that dreaded phrase is a Summer Challenge (click the link for printable activity ideas and instructions).

My young daughter and I put a list of activities into a jar and pull one out whenever we need something to do. The challenge can be used on many different levels. For younger children you can keep it simple. Older children can be more involved in the planning of an activity, which we have learned can be more fun than the activity itself.

When I first described this idea to my daughter she was right on board! We love making lists, and pulling ideas out of a jar is a really fun way of checking off a To-Do List! We found a dollar store jar and decorated it for our ideas. I cut the strips of paper and she was so excited to read through each strip before she folded it and added it to the jar. She is already hopeful for her favourite ideas to be pulled first. Such anticipation!

She even wanted to add some of her own ideas to the jar. I thought “why not,” as long as I approved them first. Her list so far: pulling weeds (what a wonderful idea!); going for a walk in the field with gopher holes; and, chasing butterflies.

We have already begun. Lucky for us the weather cooperated for challenge #38: sitting around a campfire. Of course we enjoyed s’mores and told stories as well. What an excellent kick-off to summer with the kids!

For more fun ideas, download our free Flit appIt gives you over 125 fun literacy activities, recipes, games to do with your young children, and tips to add to your parenting tool box.

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Watch a video demo of the app.