Float or Sink?

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?

IMG_8711.JPG

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!

 

Practicing Pinching

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.

IMG_8704

You will need the following items:

  • Clothes pins or tweezers/small tongs
  • pompoms of varying sizes
  • two containers

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.

Out of this World Summer Fun

This summer you can go on an outer space adventure without ever leaving the comfort of your house and yard!cartoon girl in spaceship

Before we begin, you will want to pick up a few books about outer space and astronauts from the Library. Click the subject links below for some fun books to read.

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!

On Your Mark, Get Set…READ!

mark on the map Have you signed up for the  summer reading challenge, yet? If you have, great! If you have not, what are you waiting for? We have made the program so simple this year–the only thing you your child has to do is read!

SummerReadingChallenge-kids-teens-banner

If you have children birth to age 18, stop by one of your favorite Stark County District Library locations to sign up, and you’ll receive a map. Your child can mark on the map every day spent reading. There are categories for children birth to age 5 (read to me), age 5 through grade 5 (children), and grade 6 through grade 12 (teens).

For every five days read, make sure to bring your map back to the library to receive a coupon to a local restaurant like Chipotle, North Canton Skate Center, Taggart’s, Chik-Fil-A, and Wendy’s–teens have other coupon choices as well! Once you reach 40 days read, you’ll receive a book and a coupon along with an entry into our grand prize drawing. If your child reaches 50 days read during the summer, he/she will receive a bonus book and coupon along with a second entry into the grand prize drawing. To add to the excitement of summer reading, anyone who completes 40 days read will receive a golden ticket to a special finale celebration!

Participate in our bonus BINGO game to earn more incentives for reading and checking out library materials! For more information, book lists, and printable activity pages, visit our website.

Parents, don’t let your child fall behind this summer…keep reading every day to help them stay ahead when school starts.

Skills to Practice for Summertime Kindergarten Readiness

School will be starting before you know it, but we still have about one-half of our summer left–depending on when you start school. While summer is a time for relaxing and taking a break from studying, it’s also a great time to get your child ready for their first day of Kindergarten because there isn’t any pressure or deadlines.

School-Readiness-Activities-Top-10-Summer-Activities-for-Kindergarten-Readiness-on-Lalymom_com_

Lalymom has a great post on creative and fun ways to practice skills like learning personal information (phone numbers, address, name), following directions, getting dressed independently, strengthening those gross motor skills (running, jumping, etc.), understanding routines, writing and more! She has put together a great round-up of blog posts–so instead of duplicating her efforts, I’m going to post a link to her blog and ask you to stop by at some point this week.

And then I’m going to remind you to stop by your local library to check out a stack of books that you can read with your child to help get them ready to read and get them excited about school!

Summer Fun Weekly Calendar

Every month, we post an activity calendar filled with ideas for you to keep laughing, playing, and reading throughout the month. But as I as looking for some new ideas, I came across a very simple calendar that you can keep on hand for those days that you just need one more thing to do to keep the children active and engaged.

This graphic comes from ReMarkableHome and is a free download. Just click the image to get the larger, printable version.

SUPER SUMMER SCHEDULE copy_thumb[5]

Summer Reading Challenge

Have you signed up for the  summer reading challenge, yet? If you have, great! If you have not, what are you waiting for? We have made the program so simple this year–the only thing you your child has to do is read!

Image

If you have children birth to age 18, stop by one of your favorite Stark County District Library locations to sign up, and you’ll receive a map. Your child can mark on the map every day spent reading. There are categories for children birth to age 5 (read to me), age 5 through grade 5 (children), and grade 6 through grade 12 (teens).

For every five days read, make sure to bring your map back to the library to receive a coupon to a local restaurant like Chipotle, McDonald’s, Taggart’s, Chik-Fil-A, and Wendy’s–teens have other coupon choices as well! Once you reach 40 days read, you’ll receive a book and a coupon along with an entry into our grand prize drawing. If your child reaches 50 days read during the summer, she will receive a bonus book and coupon along with a second entry into the grand prize drawing. To add to the excitement of summer reading, anyone who registers and participates in the program will also have the opportunity to walk in the kick-off Hall of Fame Community Parade.  

This year, our theme is Fizz! Boom! Read! If you aren’t from Stark County, your local library may be doing the same theme (it’s a collaborative summer program). What does that mean? Many of our programs are themed around science and hands on activities this year. (I would definitely recommend visiting the Artful Science program–there’s bubbling glitter!)

Parents, don’t let your child fall behind this summer…keep reading every day to help them stay ahead when school starts.

 

Nature Scavenger Hunt

School is out. It’s finally summer. And the weather is finally acting like it. The best part of summer is playing outside and doing the things you don’t get to do the rest of the year: play basketball, jump rope, play four-square, hide and seek, take a bike ride, visit the park, plan a picnic, etc. Eventually, though, these activities get old. And after day three, you start hearing, “There’s nothing to do outside. I’m so bored.”

The-Word-Summer-Clip-Art

The best way to fix this is to be proactive. Plan activities that can be done throughout the summer. And just because it is summer, doesn’t mean you can’t practice colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Here are some Nature Scavenger Hunt ideas from around the Internet that will make being outside much more enjoyable after the novelty of summer has worn off.

 

backyard-alphabet-hunt-cover-The Backyard Alphabet Hunt from TeachMama.com

Using either a giant roll of paper or several sheets of construction paper, write out the alphabet in big letters. Place it on a flat surface outside: driveway, sidewalk (away from the road), grass, porch, etc. Secure it with something heavy on each end (buckets, rocks, planters, etc.). Then let your children have fun exploring the yard as they look for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. When they find something, tell them to put it under that letter on the large paper. See how many letters you can fill.

 

 

Nature Scavenger Hunt from HowtoNestforLess.comsummer-camp-scavenger-hunt-791x1024

Print out the scavenger hunt from HowtoNestforLess.com and give your child a paper bag, bucket, or other item that can be filled with all of the items she finds. As you walk around your yard, look for the items on the list. This list includes more than just specific items; it asks children to find shapes, colors, and different textures.

 

ss_102094276 Color Spy from Parents.com

Stop by your local home improvement or paint store and collect a few paint chips in various colors. (Usually it’s not a problem–just don’t take hundreds at a time!!) Punch out large holes on each color. As you walk around the yard or park with your child, place different objects in the hole to see if they match the colors. How many matches can you find?