It’s time for month two of our summer activities list! See how on the ball I am? (For just this once–don’t get used to it!) If you’re wondering about the other parts of this series, part one can be found here and part three is here!
And now, on with the show!
Day 31 – Color of the day: Orange! Try to find something orange to wear, look for orange objects throughout the day, and serve oranges for a snack!
Day 32 – Rhyming time: Rhyming is a skill that kids need to learn, but can be difficult for them to catch on to (I know this from experience). Start out by reading rhyming books, such as Green Eggs and Ham. Point out the words that rhyme as you read. “Do you hear how house and mouse sound the same?” I also really like this blogger’s list of other good rhyming books.
Day 33 – Have your child work on writing his/her whole name (first and last) in capital and uppercase letters. A lot of kids have names that can be abbreviated (Katherine can be Kate or Katie) and it’s okay if they write their abbreviated names, but it is also important that they be able to write their full name as well. My oldest has a name that can be abbreviated, and is most of the time. Many of you know he was diagnosed with autism nearly three years ago. He was placed in an early childhood preschool program for children with autism. A year later he was moved (by the school district) to a general education preschool setting. We were beyond thrilled when that happened! One of the things the evaluator told us tipped her off that my kiddo was cognitively ready to move to a general ed setting was that he could write his full first name by himself (he hadn’t yet learned to write his last name, although he is able to now). I’m NOT implying that a child who can’t write his full name by now should be in special education or anything like that! I am saying that this is a skill that kids are expected to learn and so it is good to practice. My kiddo still occasionally misspells his last name, so it is something that we continually work on with him. You can make a customizable worksheet for your kiddos here. If you’ve got a young one wanting to learn, this is a great way to get them started writing!
Day 34 – Play catch together! Nothing fancy, just have them practice throwing a ball one-handed and catching it using just their hands (rather than using their whole arms). It’s okay if they aren’t great at it, just help them practice!
Day 35 – Time to draw another picture with lots of details. Ask your child to draw a picture of his/her house. Encourage them to include details that are unique to your home. Is there a big tree out front? Lots of windows? A red front door? Again, the idea is for them to draw a detailed (rather than generic) picture.
Day 36 – Science time! Talk about plants. You can make it is a simple or as complex as you want. A good place to start is with a discussion of what plants need to grow. You can also talk about simple parts of plants and different kinds of plants. Some great books about plants and flowers can be found here. If you’re able, visit the nursery and buy some seeds and soil so that you can grow your own plants! This is a good learning experience, but you have to be careful because kids can get overzealous with caring for their plants. My son had a little plant he was growing and, because it needed sunlight, he kept moving it so it was constantly in direct sunlight. I finally convinced him to stop so that the seedlings didn’t get scorched, but their eventual demise came from him overwatering them. Just be warned!
Day 37 – Work on helping your child learn his/her phone number. This is a really important thing for them to know, not for kindergarten necessarily, but for their general safety. They are not too young to start learning this! However, it can be a little tricky, and it is definitely a multi-day project. The important thing is to take it slow, make it low-pressure, and to keep reviewing it. To teach my son, we started out with a note card with his phone number on it like this:
(Not my real number, btw)
We would help him practice saying his phone number using the card for help. Then, one by one, we would do another card with one of the digits removed, like this:
We’d ask him to say the number using the card as a prompt and the last number from memory.
Then the card changed to this:
And so on.
Eventually all the numbers on the card were gone and he had it memorized. Of course it took lots of practice, but he got it! Practice in short bursts and your child will catch on quickly! Another cute idea for teaching this can be found here. Be sure to review their phone number with them regularly—it can be easy for them to forget!
Day 37 – Play Dominoes. You don’t need to worry about making it into a “real” game. Just have them count the pips on the Dominoes and try and match them up. (Also, did you know those dots on Dominoes are called pips? I didn’t until just recently!)
Day 38 – Shapes of the day: Square and Cube. Review the differences between 2-D and 3-D shapes. Look for squares and cubes in the environment. Practice cutting out squares and make a paper cube. For a snack you can have crackers and cubes of cheese. Yum!
Day 39 – Uppercase and lowercase letter review. I found this awesome (and easy) way to review this here. It is perfect for when you have older and slightly younger learners!
Day 40 – Have another author and illustrator day. Review what an author does and what an illustrator does. Pick several books from one author/illustrator duo (meaning the set of books all have the same author and illustrator) and several from another author/illustrator pair. Have your child see if they can separate the books by authors and illustrators using the illustrations as their clues. Then read them, of course! It’s okay if the author and illustrator are the same person, just point that out to your child. They might be a little confused at first, but they’ll get it. This little activity might also be a bit easier if you can pick books with stylized illustrations—Eric Carle and Sandra Boynton books are good ones.
Day 41 – Review counting to 100. Make a fun activity out of it! If you happen to have a marble run, roll 100 marbles down it. Count 100 pom-poms and have fun throwing them up in the air. Make a Cheerios (or Fruit Loops) necklace out of 100, or do the same with beads. If you do make something like that, ask your child to guess how big they think the necklace will be after they’ve put 100 of your material on the string.
Day 42 – Draw a line on the ground outside using sidewalk chalk. Have your child practice walking toe-to-toe on the line and see if they can maintain their balance! Then your kiddo can practice jumping over the line. Jump forward over the line and then practice jumping side-to-side over it.
Day 43 – Discuss patterns. Identify patterns that your child might see in everyday life, such stripes on the American Flag. Have your child make their own Very Hungry Caterpillar by cutting out and gluing colored circles in a pattern. Have a red circle for the head and different shades of green for the body. Help your child put the greens into a patterned order to make the body. Accessorize your caterpillar with googly eyes or however you choose!
Day 44 – Start asking critical thinking questions when you read books to your child. Make another trip to the library and have your child pick some books that she’s never read. When you read them, identify the title and ask, “What do you think this story is about?” Have your child make predictions based on the title and what she sees on the cover.
Day 45 – Work on sequencing. Make a meal (or a snack) together and then afterward, ask your child to tell you three things you did in the order that you did them. “First we cracked the eggs, then we stirred the eggs, then we put them in the pan.” If three is easy for your child, try increasing it to four or five.
Day 46 – Practice cutting. See if your child can cut out basic shapes on his own without any lines to guide him. If this is difficult, you can help her out by drawing a shape and then having her cut. Once the shapes are cut, glue them to a paper and see what kind of picture you can create!
Day 47 – Okay this might seem kind of icky and/or weird, but it is important and one thing we are definitely having to work on this summer. Make sure your child can wipe himself/herself after going to the bathroom. My son still has difficulty getting himself clean after a bowel movement and we’ve gotten into a bad habit of over-helping him with this. But he is old enough to do this and he needs to do it on his own before he heads off to kindergarten so it is something we are practicing with him! (Again, this is more than a one-time “activity”.)
Day 48 – Practice very simple addition. The idea isn’t to teach your child math facts, it is just to get her familiar with the concept of adding. The best way to do this is with something hands-on. My kids LOVE this game and this one. Even my three-year old can do it (although she needs help with the bigger numbers), and it is a great way to get them familiar with how adding works. It is also good one-to-one correspondence practice! I also loved this idea for making a giant abacus in your bathtub!
Day 49 – Color of the day: Green! Green is easy! Have your child wear green, read Green Eggs and Ham, and you can even make it if you want. Go on a walk outside and look at all the green things in nature.
Day 50 – Practice jumping rope.
Day 51 – Practice sorting. Usually the simplest way to start this is to practice sorting by shape, size, and color. You can purchase attribute blocks or you can just make your own out of paper. All you need to do is cut different shapes out of paper in various sizes and colors. I started my son out simply. We had big, medium, and small squares, circles, and triangles in red, yellow, and blue. And I had him sort them first by shape, then by color, then by size. My kids also love these attribute bears. If your child already gets the sorting idea or is a little more advanced than this, you can make it a little harder by having them sort things that aren’t totally similar. An example would be sorting various buttons. The buttons might not be all the same size of “large” or the same shades of blue, but have your child sort them according to what makes sense to them. The idea is to have them look for identifying details in different objects, even if those details don’t look exactly the same across objects.
Day 52 – Play Hi Ho Cherry-O together. This is a fantastic game for kids. It helps them practice counting, one-to-one correspondence, and can even help with fine motor skills. The players each have a colored fruit to pick, so it can help with color recognition, too.
Day 53 – Introduce punctuation to your child. Show them what a period, question mark, and exclamation point are. You can introduce a comma as well if you choose (but in my mind, commas can come later). Point them out in books and use inflections when you’re reading to demonstrate what each punctuation mark does. I LOVE this idea for making punctuation a little more fun!
Day 54 – Introduce days of the week. True story: my son used to drive me crazy when we had an exciting event coming up because he had NO concept of time. If he heard that his birthday was close, for example, he would pester me every day about it. Even though I would say things like, “Your birthday is in seven more days,” to him it was still imminent because he didn’t understand what a day is—and he would get frustrated when we told him it wasn’t time for ___ yet. We would seriously have to keep things secret until the day of! Now that he knows the days of the week (and is learning the months of the year), my life has gotten a lot easier! I really like these days of the week worksheets. You can make your own and customize with things that correspond with your schedule. It really helps if you can think of at least one thing that is specific to each day. For instance, we go to church on Sunday, on Monday a certain therapist comes to our house, on Tuesday we have a social skills group, Wednesday we have a standing play date, and so on. Every morning my son asks what day it is and then we talk about what is happening that day. Having each day defined by a regular activity helps my son keep track of what day we are on, what to expect that day, and what’s coming up. This video has a little song about days of the week as well. It is a good idea to have a calendar and, each day, point out the day, talk about what day of the week it is, what you’re doing that day, and so on. Once they catch on a little to how days work, you can start saying things like, “On Friday we are going to grandma’s! Today is Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday, and then it will be Friday. That is the day that we will go to visit grandma!”
Day 55 – Practice working with zippers. Make sure your child can zip his pants on his own. It is also good practice to have him practice zipping a zipper that isn’t already started, such as on a jacket. Help him zip a zipper from beginning to end. Even though it may not be jacket weather, it doesn’t hurt to start practicing!
Day 56 – Read a story that is new to your child (it may be library time again!). Ask critical thinking prediction questions, such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or, “How do you think he will solve this problem?” The other night we were reading Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. My kids were having a little bit of a hard time understanding that Kitten was NOT seeing a bowl of milk in the sky, but that he was seeing the moon instead. So we talked a lot about what the full moon looks like, why Kitten thought it was a bowl of milk, what a reflection is, how still water can reflect things the way a mirror does, and so on. As a parent, it can sometimes be hard to comprehend why your child doesn’t understand some of these concepts—it can even feel a little frustrating at times! (For me, at least!) Just know that this is age-appropriate and normal. It is not so much important that they be able to answer your questions correctly immediately, but it is important that they be able to think about what they are reading!
Day 57 – Have a weather day! This would be best if you can do this on a day when you are having weather that is unusual for your area. Talk about the different kinds of weather and a little about weather phenomena. For instance, you can talk about rainbows and how they are formed or about rain and where it comes from. Go outside and observe the weather for that day!
Day 58 – Help your child identify the first letters in words where the first sound is easily identified. Show them an apple and ask, “What letter does apple start with?” If they need help, accentuate that first sound in the word. Letters like C and X are tricky. You can sometimes identify x at the end of words, and you can also talk about the different sounds x can make. C obviously makes two sounds and your child might get it mixed up. No worries though!
Day 59 – Play hop scotch! Help your child write numbers in the square, identify the numbers they are hopping on, and practice hopping on one foot!
Day 60 – Work on tying shoes. This is a popular method for teaching this skill. Don’t sweat it if it takes a while!
That takes care of month two! I hope you enjoy some of these ideas and have fun doing activities with your kiddos all summer long! If you like these ideas, feel free to share! And for more tips, previews, and insider info, be sure to like my Facebook page!