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Get prepared for summer fun

By Staff
Mom's Corner with Michelle Blaylock
According to my kids, summer begins on May 25. There's no point in explaining the actual season, which, according to the calendar, doesn't begin until June 21.
As far as they're concerned, it begins the second they walk out of the school on May 25.
Yep, it's summer break. That wonderful time of year when we get to spend large quantities of quality time with our kids.
OK, quit rolling your eyes at me.
I actually look forward to summer break.
However, I overheard a mom saying that she dreaded the summer because her kids drove her crazy.
Kids can do that. I think it's part of their mission in life.
Nevertheless, as I've said before busy kids are happy kids.
Let me share some ideas with you to help you have a great summer with your kids.
(OK, how about just survive the summer?)
I think kids do better when they know they've got a special treat of some kind coming. For example, sit down with a calendar and plan several treat days.
They don't have to be big extravagant affairs. Just something out of the ordinary. I like to use things like picnic in the park with friends, have a sleepover and let each child invite one or two friends, set up a game day and play a variety of games, call parents and plan a day to meet at the pool. It's also great if you can plan one or two bigger treats, as well. These could be things like going to a zoo, museum, water park, etc.
One problem will be the kids constantly asking when is the next treat day.
So get ahead of them, hang the calendar somewhere they can easily see it, and mark off the days.
When they ask how many more days, you can tell them to go check the calendar.
By the way this is a good way for younger children to practice calendar skills, counting and reading.
Speaking of academic skills, that's another problem most of us face during the summer, practicing those skills that our kids learned during the school year.
Studies show that kids can lose a grade level over the summer. Teachers encourage parents to have their children practice.
Have you ever tried to get a child to sit down with a textbook over the summer?
My suggestion is to combine it with daily living.
Let me give you some suggestions.
Take your children to the grocery store with you. Preschool kids can recognize colors, match a picture on a coupon to the item, or count the number of items on a list (within reason of course).
Older kids can help by keeping a running total using a notepad and pencil. T
his activity can be adjusted for the skill level, such as not requiring younger kids to multiply, but including that for the older kids.
At home include things like following directions. Turn it into a game by seeing who can remember the directions accurately.
Another way to keep their mind active is to send them on a scavenger hunt--only give them the items to find verbally. See who remembers the most items.
You can have the kids work on fractions by helping you cook.
This is also a great activity for following directions and reading.
There are also many computer games that review skills according to grade level.
One online site that I like is www.funbrain.com. There are many more.
I use only the free ones. I don't use the ones that charge a fee.
One favorite activity of mine covers reading, math, history, and science.
Start by reading one of the "Little House on the Prairie" books.
Then you can make bread and discuss things like why settlers made their own bread, read a recipe, measure ingredients, and talk about why the bread rises.
Pretty cool, huh?
Of course, I haven't even mentioned things like Vacation Bible School, camps, going to the pool, and just spending time together.
There are so many ideas that I'd love to share with you, but simply don't have the room. Just remember that your child will only be this age once, so look for the joy in what they can do and enjoy doing it with them.
If you have a suggestion, tip, or question, please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640;
or e-mail:
mom'scorner@juno.com.

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