Parents often want to know what they can do to best help their child learn. The most meaningful learning activities are not flash cards or planned lessons, but experiences the parent and child can share and enjoy doing together. Most parents know this intuitively, but life has a way of getting so busy that we may not get around to acting on our best intentions. Try doing one of the activities described below each week for 10 weeks this summer:
- Week 1: Give your child measuring spoons and cups of various sizes to play in the sand, pool or a tub of water. Encourage him/her to predict how many small cups/spoonfuls it will take to fill a large cup, etc.
- Week 2: Take your child to the library to get his/her own library card (You will have to sign for it). In addition to the books he/she chooses, check out and read a book to your child that you enjoyed as a child.
- Week 3: Go on a nature walk together. Examine plants, flowers, moss, etc. close up, and talk about what you see. Beth Schmidt Park has a nice trail through the woods for this activity.
- Week 4: Bake muffins together. Have the child count out blueberries or raisins to put in each muffin.
- Week 5: Make a game of teaching your child his/her full name, parents’ names, address and phone number. Practice at mealtime or in the car.
- Week 6: Find a quiet place for bird watching. Have your child make a mark on paper for each bird you see. Listen together to the sounds the birds make.
- Week 7: Give your child opportunities to sort things by like attributes – “Pick up all the red toys first” or “Put the small shells in one pile and the large ones in another.” You can also do this without physical objects – “How many things can you name that are made of wood (that are square, that are alive, etc.)?” This is a great waiting game.
- Week 8: Have your child look for the first letter of his/her name wherever you go this week – riding in the car, shopping at the grocery store, or in magazines in the doctor’s office.
- Week 9: Play a rhyming game – “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with …”
- Week 10: Encourage your child to copy his/her name in the sand, in flour on a cookie sheet, or with chalk on the sidewalk. IMPORTANT: be sure to model capitalizing only the first letter and writing all others in lower case.