We have had a busy school year and the children have learnt lots of things, filled in workbooks and essentially learnt to write. Now here comes summer – a time to rest and relax in order to refresh ourselves for next year. During parents’ day, a number of parents asked me to suggest activities to be done with their children during the summer months. So, how can you ensure that your children start off the next scholastic year ready to tackle their new challenges?
You can do this by keeping alive all the things that we have learnt this year. I am not a great believer in giving the children lots of workbook tasks over the summer because I believe that the children need time and experimentation to help them absorb all we did during the school year. You can help them by showing them how to use the knowledge they gained in fun activities in their everyday life. Here are some ideas how you can do this:
Playing board games such as snakes and ladders
– using one dice – helps count up to six and co-ordinate pointing to object and counting
– using two dies – helps with all the above up to 12 and to practice addition
Hop scotch – helps in number recognition
Any games where you have to add the total gathered at the end – such as pairs, snap, marbles, skittles/bowling – can help counting up to even larger number (obviously you have to allow you child to count his/her total with your support)
Dominos can help in counting and matching
You can also encourage your child to count whenever the opportunity arises – counting out sweets, fruit, stairs, slices of bread or anything else you are using as you go about your daily life. A trip to the supermarket or greengrocer will present you with multiple opportunities to count.
Letter bingo – helps refresh letter recognition and/or identification of the initial sounds in a word. You can find some of these on http://www.sparklebox.co.uk/literacy/alphabet/bingo.html
I spy (my favourite!! especially on long car trips)
You can encourage to the children to look at labels and signs e.g. “that is apple flavoured juice– look the word starts with a”, using signs at supermarkets showing where items are – let’s find the biscuit aisle. What sound does biscuit start with? Then we need to find a sign with a word starting with b.
Ask them to write their names and whatever else they want to write on their drawings, birthday cards, in the sand or anything else. They can also add a caption to their drawings. This will not look perfect but is a space for the children to experiment. It helps the children understand that writing is a method of communcation, start using is as such and in the process start to build their confidence as a reader and writer. It is important that you praise all efforts.
Lastly, read , read, read and then read some more. Enrol in a library and take your child to choose some books (their choice is important). If your child is a memeber of the Malta Libraries, you can also borrow books to read online – https://maltalibraries.overdrive.com/collection/37625?subject=43&subject=112&sortBy=mostpopular-site. Read fun books to your children, encourage your child to read books with simple words and read books, newspapers or magazines yourselves since your children will aspire to do what you yourselves do. Whether you read to your child or your child reads to you or you go half and half, where you read and allow your child to pitch in when he/she knows a word, it is important that reading is fun and enjoyable. If reading time becomes a struggle, you will need to take a step back and find a different way of going about it.
What books are suitable for your child to read to you? At school we chose books that mostly consisted of words that could be blended. Most phonics series will be good but they all contain “tricky words” (words the children cannot spell out using sound) to a greater or lesser extent. It is a question of trying books out and seeing what words for your child and yourself. My personal favourites still remain the songbirds which we used at school and the Oxford reading tree series pictured below.
You can also find suitable e books on the Oxford Owl web site https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page?view=image&query=&type=book&age_group=Age+4-5&book=&book_type=&series=#
A good series of books to use to share the reading with your child are the books pictured to the left. The parents read through the text and the child decodes the rhyming words.
Don’t forget the numerous web sites with educational games. You will find games tailored to what your child has been learning on the school e learning sites – http://prejuniorareading.wikispaces.com/, http://numeracywikispace.wikispaces.com/, https://stcathsprejuniortopicwork.wikispaces.com/?responseToken=014baf46bbe3d8fae7fbe2b67830c902a. Other sites with good games can be found on the starfall web site http://www.starfall.com/ and cbeebies http://www.cbeebies.com/global/
Episodes of Numberjacks, Umizoomi and Alphablocks can all be found on you tube and are both educational and fun.
Please feel free to suggest any other ideas you have and any educational games you enjoy playing with your children.
Most of all, have a great time this summer and enjoy yourselves in the company of your fantastic children!
I am still contactable over the summer on this blog or my usual e mail firstname.lastname@example.org