Books become more meaningful when you can expand the story to a hands-on activity. Here is one extension activity you can do with very little supplies.
You’ll need to read the book Tall by Jez Alborough. (Hint: Stop by your local library and pick up a copy if you don’t own it.) Tall is about a few jungle animals who help a little monkey feel taller than he really is. This is a great book with very few words. You can use the illustrations to talk about what is happening on each page.
Next, get out the blocks or the LEGOs. You will also need a couple small animals or action figures. Now let your child’s imagination go wild. Let he/she build towers as tall as can be (just make sure no one is on the other side in case it falls!). When he/she is done building, place the small animal on top of the tower. Just how tall can the tower be before it falls over? Experiment with different shapes.
This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the tower he/she is building. Ask questions like how tall do you think it can go before it will fall? What kind of tower is it? Why is the animal or action figure climbing so high? What is it the animal is trying to see?
Try to avoid yes/no questions as they require no other answer. To help expand your child’s vocabulary and comprehension of the story, you want to ask open ended questions.
The key to teaching your child throughout the summer months is to sneak in learning experiences while they are having fun. For instance, whether you are swimming at the pool, splashing in a water table, or simply getting ready for bath time, why not play a game of sink or float?
First, you’ll need to gather together a few items. Make sure you have a mix of light and heavy objects. Also, try using two of the same materials in different forms. In my example, I used a ball of foil and compared it to a flat piece of foil. (In my example, we just used a bucket with water tinted a light shade of blue just to see it better.)
Once you have your objects, let your child guess what will happen with each object. Will it sink or float? Don’t forget to ask why! This is a key component as you expand their vocabulary. You can just sort the items in piles.
Now for the fun. Let your child start dropping the objects in the water. Talk about what he or she thought might happen versus what actually happened. Talk about why the objects sunk to the bottom or floated on the top.
By sneaking in a few fun activities while your child is enjoying his/her summer, you are helping to shorten that summer slide and get him/her back on track faster when school rolls around again.
Don’t forget to comment below with the objects you tested!
It’s important at an early age for children to exercise their hand muscles. Those are the muscles that will help them grip a pencil, hold and grab objects, use scissors, open packages, etc. Below if a fun activity you can do on a rainy day or even on the front porch on a sunny day to help exercise and strengthen those muscles.
You will need the following items:
Clothes pins or tweezers/small tongs
pompoms of varying sizes
Label the containers BIG and SMALL. Mix together all of the pompoms. Let your child start picking up the pompoms with the clothes pin or tongs by pinching it. Release the pompom in the correct container.
This activity teaches opposites, strengthens the pinching (fine motor) muscles, and helps increase vocabulary. You can talk to your child about the different sizes and colors of the pompoms, substituting words like large, tiny, huge, etc. for big and small.
As a variation, you could use objects you find outside like leaves, flower petals, stones and pebbles, sticks, etc.
Now the fun begins! Take a little time a read through one or two of the books you have chosen. Talk about the illustrations (don’t be afraid to use the word illustration). Ask your child what it would be like to fly to the moon. Or what he/she thinks space is like.
Next get two giant sponges (the kind used for washing cars). Rubber band them to your child’s shoes. Let them walk around the house. Ask them what it feels like. This is to simulate walking on the moon or on another planet!
Pick up some astronaut ice cream. You can usually find this at a local museum or toy store. Let your child try a couple bites. Explain it is freeze dried. Try other freeze dried fruits from the grocery store.
Pour flour in a large Tupperware container or baking sheet. Drop a rock on to the flour. When you pick it up, explain that you have just made a crater. Talk about what it looks like. Let your child drive little cars or rocks through the flour for fun.
Or make your own moon sand! Materials Needed: 6 cups play sand (you can purchased colored play sand as well!); 3 cups cornstarch; 1 1/2 cups of cold water.
Don’t forget to comment below with some of your favorite out of this world activities!