Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Activities: Practicing Writing with Your Preschooler/Kindergartner

Yesterday I talked about how to beat the summer blahs. Structured activities are a great way to do this, and they don't have to involve a lot of prep or work.

One activity I plan to do with Alex, who just finished a year of preschool (and will be heading off to kindergarten in the fall) is helping him with his writing skills. In school this year, every day when the preschoolers arrived, they were to get out their name books (which had a picture of the child on the front). Inside were places to practice writing their names.

So this summer, I'm going to do the same, but with all of the letters of the alphabet to help Alex get ready for kindergarten.

Creating Custom Printouts for Your Preschooler or Kindergartner to Trace

At KidZone.ws, you can create custom tracing papers that can be used for practicing writing. This is especially helpful if your child is still working on the basics of writing. Here you can choose block, script or cursive writing (which is great for your older kids) and you can type in exactly what you want, so you can create pages with your child's name on it (first and last) or whatever you want them to learn. 

Writing time will be included every day on the daily schedule. Hopefully this will be a fun activity for us to work on together.

What activities are you going to work on with your kids this summer? I could definitely use some ideas!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Beating the Summer Blahs with a Daily Schedule

Now that summer vacation is here, school is no longer there to help with the daily schedule. When summer hits, it's easy to fall into bad habits like sleeping in, wasting days not doing much, and not keeping a good schedule each day. Rather than falling into bad habits, create a schedule for your kids to help them keep their brains and bodies active throughout the summer months.

Making a Summer Schedule

Of course, this is just one idea for something you can do every day during summer vacation. Think of what else you want to do this summer to keep up a routine. For kids ages 5 to 7, a sample schedule may include:
Wake-up and get dressed
Eat breakfast
Clean up breakfast (have child clean up his or her own dishes)
Brush teeth
Clean up bedroom or spend time cleaning up something together in house (picking up living room, dusting, etc.)
Take a walk or spend time outside togetherPractice writing
Color/art project/drawing
Read books together
Lunch time
Lunch clean up
Quiet time (i.e. playing quietly on own, looking at or reading books on own, watching some TV, etc.) This is a great time to get stuff done you need to get done!
Snack time
Dinner prep (have your child help get dinner ready). Afternoons are also a great time for play dates or going to the park.
Dinner clean up
Bedtime routine (brushing teeth, getting on pajamas, reading a couple more books, etc.) I often use this time to just talk with Alex about his day and about how he's feeling and what's going on in his head. It's great one-on-one time if you can swing it (though it's hard depending on how many kids you have and their ages).
Of course, you should always be flexible when it comes to your schedule, but if you have a general routine to follow, it will help prevent the summer blahs.

Scheduling Summer Activities

Another great way to beat the summer blahs is to get out your calendar. Decide on some things that you want to do this summer, such as visiting the local zoo, taking a camping trip, visiting at nearby state or national park, taking a day trip to the water park or even trips to the local pool. Decide on what days you're going to do these activities throughout the summer months.

By having a firm schedule for these activities, you'll have something to look forward to throughout the summer and as the dates for the activities get closer, you'll have motivation to plan for them so they actually happen. This way you won't get to the end of August and realize that school is about to start and the summer was wasted.

On the calendar should be days with activities with you and one of your kids one-on-one. Try to plan something once a week with one child. This way it won't be too overwhelming and you can have a few good mother-child dates throughout the summer.

Summer is upon us. Make it a good one!
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