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Welcome to part three in our three-part series on easy, research-based ways to incorporate reading and writing into your summer schedule through 1) movies!, 2) family field trips, and 3) naturally engaging writing experiences.
“Aww, Mom, do I have to?” No parent wants to hear these dreaded words all summer, but if you want to keep your kids engaged in academic activities, it’s par for the course. Right?
The key to summer learning is keeping it real. Take writing, for example. Now, if you sentenced your children to an essay on their summer vacation, you’d be begging for an “Aww, Mom.” But, if you create a family scrapbook about your vacation and write catchy photo captions together….well, now you’ve just made writing a whole lot more fun. Here are some of our favorite summer writing ideas that are kid tested and mom approved.
1. Shopping Lists
These count! Writing practice of any kind is valuable, particularly for elementary students. Get your child to record your grocery list while you dictate. Or make a list of things you need to buy for a family picnic. Or an upcoming birthday party. Or your beach trip. You can vary this idea by creating lists of things you want to do that day, places you want to visit in your hometown, and friends your child wants to have over soon. Make it even more motivating by posting a blackboard or whiteboard in the kitchen, and encourage your child to make their lists there. No kid can resist chalk.
2. Family Scrapbooks
Give your child the camera and let them document your life! You can put the pics in a pre-made scrapbook from the store…or create your own by printing the pics, gluing them to construction paper, and stapling it into a book. Just tell your child there’s one rule: they have to write a caption (in a complete sentence) for every picture they include! Some fun scrapbook themes: Our Vacation, A Day in My Life, A Day with My Best Friend, or The World through My Dog’s Eyes.
Pick a favorite neighbor, relative, or friend, and write a good ol’ fashioned paper-and-pencil letter to them. Brainstorm ideas with your child on what they might include in the letter, such as summer activities, sports, trips, etc. This is even more motivating if you can secure a written response from the recipient of your child’s letter. And, if your child is artistic, give them art supplies and have them create their own stationery!
4. Family Skits
Write a family skit together. Come up with a story (or reenact your favorite book or movie scene), and then write it up as a skit, giving each family member a part. Put on the performance together after dinner one evening. Guaranteed hilarity.
Post author: Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.
How do you inspire writing over the summer? Share your ideas by posting a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win a School Box gift card!
Coming next: I Have Extra Time with My Students. Great! Now What??? by Kristin Woolums