Thursday, June 12, 2014

Outside Planting Activity

I realize that it's not exactly planting season these days, but for kids who spend most of the year in a place with no dirt and a backyard full of rocks, planting in a real garden is a huge deal. Even if they won't see their final product, they at least get a pretty good kick out of planting pumpkins. 

We found an unused raised bed at Mimi and Pop Pop's house so we decided to fill it! If you don't have a planter, you could easily use a flower pot. 

After pulling the weeds out of the box, and giving it a little TLC, we put in holes . 

Then we counted our seeds and put them in.

Then you have to water, and boy, there isn't anything more fun than water and a watering can.

And then, Henrik found some poles that had numbers on them. It was his idea to put these next to his seeds so we could see how much they grow. If you don't have a pole with centimeters measured out, a ruler will do. 

Then, every week, you can calculate (in your journal or on a home made graph) how much your plant has grown. It's a great way to start to learn numbers, the growth of numbers and how to make a simple chart.

Easy Summer Homework To Do Every Day

Summer means spending days at the pool, being outdoors, and picnics every day, but it also means we need something to keep our kids in "school mode" so they can keep practicing their skills. This is especially important for pre-school aged children who will drastically grow over the summer months. This is the first summer, now that I have a four year old that I've decided to have mandatory writing and reading time. Yes, even the two year old is involved.

For just a few dollars, you can get a notebook for your children to write in every day. If they can't write a sentence, just have them write a little bit each day.

Day one, we had Henrik write all of the names of his family members and draw a picture of them.

I'll have him do this every month of the Summer so we can see the progression and practice our skills even more. Plus, these are adorable keepsakes to have around when they are older.

The other thing we are doing every day is keeping a Summer Journal. Each day we write a sentence of the best, or worst part of our day. I am writing the sentences for now, but at the end of the summer Henrik will start writing them. After the discussion of our day, and the sentence is complete, I have each child draw what they told me about. The boys like this homework. It's a great way to recall their day, it's a great way for them to think about the things that are important to them and will be fun to look back on the summer.

Remember, you are doing this WITH your child, so encourage them to really think about what they are drawing. Ask them questions like, "what color was that...?", "what shape do you need to make to make a...?". Encouraging them to draw is one thing, like with our two year old. Basic shapes and putting eyes on faces is huge developmentally, but for our four year old we can challenge him a bit more.