It’s 1990 something and it’s finally the last day of school. You’re wearing your favorite summer outfit, you’ve finally mastered your bangs and your matching scrunchie is the perfect accessory for that high side pony you’re rocking on this hot day. Your jellies are keeping your feet on point and you’ve just reapplied your favorite Lip Smacker.
The box fans are blaring and the moment you’ve waited for all year is almost here. Before you can wave goodbye to those cinderblock walls of misery, you are tasked to clean out your desk on this shortest school day of the year. Life. Is. Good. You toss your pencil grippers, Hello Kitty erasers and battered 64 box of Crayolas into your bag and day dream of sleeping in, soaking up the sun and popsicles. Sleeves and sleeves of red, orange, blue, green and purple push up popsicles to be enjoyed while basking in the summer heat, beaming down on your toes as you hang upside down from your monkey bars. Running through the sprinkler barefoot, and bicycle rides with friends. Catching lightning bugs at night and movies on the floor in sleeping bags. This is what your Lisa Frank heart is made of.
Nowhere and I do mean NOWHERE, did your plans involve the likes of LEARNING, SCHOOL, MATH or READING. Not in your dreams but, your mother’s dreams? Oh, yes! While you were planning out your glorious days of summer-time freedom, she was thinking up ways to keep you out of trouble and on your math skill toes. Some of our moms gave workbooks, some gave reading lists and some signed their children up for summer school.
Like, NO WAY!!
Yes way, girl. YES. WAY.
Fast forward to the future and oh, how the tables have turned. And though huddled around sleeping bags late at night, you swore up and down to never be like your parents, we are now moms ourselves. It happened. Not only do you own mom jeans but you’ve also said things only your mother said. You’ve said those things TO YOUR KIDS.
Put down that popsicle because now, you’re the mom.
Okay, seriously though, have the popsicle. Have two. Have some chocolate chips as well.
You’re the mom after all!
Along with the simple joys of motherhood, comes the responsibility of keeping our kids on top of their hard earned skills they’ve mastered throughout the school year. Whether traditionally schooled or homeschooled, us mamas are always searching for ways to keep learning fun during summer and our little angels out of trouble-sometimes out of our hair!
So moms. Now that you’ve embraced the fact that you have become your mother…
Here are 10 ways to trick your kids into learning this summer.
1. Crafts. Raid the dollar store, use your craft store coupons and stock up on summer craft kits and supplies. Coloring books and gel pens. Stickers, markers, pom-poms, glue, googley eyes, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaner, water paints, colored paper, etc. Open up a wonderful world for your children to explore and express their creative side. Art is learning. Shhh…it’s our secret. But goodness gracious, for the love of all the things, stay away from the glitter. I repeat, DO NOT BUY THE GLITTER.
You’ve been warned.
2. Scavenger Hunts. Send them on a scavenger hunt through the backyard or around the house. They’ll be using their problem solving skills and won’t even realize it. Write clues and hide them everywhere. Have the clues lead to a new dvd or one you’ve secretly rented that the kids have been wanting to see. Add a package of microwave popcorn and some movie theatre candy with it. Go ahead, be the cool mom. What’s better than finding candy? Quality time with the family! Turn it into a movie night.
3. Summer Reading Program. Haul the kiddos to your local library to sign up for the summer reading program. Watch how quickly your kids are motivated to read when the rewards at the end of a long reading challenge are free ice cream, movie tickets or bowling.
Moms everywhere look on, rolling their eyes, thinking back to the time little Sally threw a temper tantrum on the floor because she didn’t want to read the boring book that you lovingly gave her to celebrate the end of school. You know what I’m taking about.
Well played library. WELL PLAYED.
4. Summer clipboards filled with fun and colorful worksheets from Education.com. Pick up a clipboard from the dollar store, one for each child, and head over to Education.com to print out some fun and engaging worksheets that your kids will love doing.
Print out several at a time and tuck them into the clipboards, having them complete their sheets throughout the week. If by the end of the week, their work is complete, they can earn an ice cream sundae night or a trip out for yummy treats! Or, whatever you choose! They’ll enjoy the work, the rewards and you’ll be relieved that they’ll be learning at the same time!
Summer matching worksheet answer key:
Visit Education.com for more quality reading and word recognition activities just like this one!
5. Teach them to bake your favorite dessert. Or it could be a boxed brownie mix. Or cupcakes. They’ll be practicing direction following skills, reading fractions, performing food science and mommy will get someone else to make her favorite treat for her. Win- win! Dessert is served!
6. Teach them to make a simple dinner. Another win-win! You’ll help them unleash their love of cooking, learn some kitchen skills and have a meal or two under their belt. Whether it be spaghetti or crockpot chili or something else; they’ll feel accomplished and you’ll get a night off in the kitchen…hopefully on a regular basis!
7. Create nature journals. Get some notebooks from the back to school sale or put together simple 3 ring binders with 3 hole punched computer paper. Before heading into nature, let them decorate their journals to their hearts desire. Send the kids to the backyard to observe nature and record what inspires them, into their nature journals. They can draw pictures, write thematic words, poems or whatever they want to include. Anything they collect such as flowers or leaves or sticks can be taped or glued inside. Once they get the hang of it, take a family hike and bring their journals and some crayons along.
8. Make a book about their summer. Staple some paper together or buy some little blank books from the craft store. Have them record all the fun things they do along the way. They can turn it into a story or keep it as a summer journal of sorts. They can even tape ticket stubs, photos or brochures inside from all their summer fun.
9. Let them plan a day trip and do all the research. Whether it be a long drive or a local spot, have them research it online and plan the day on paper. Make it an educational trip or just for fun. No matter which, they’ll be practicing some practical life skills in the process. Take a family trip and journey together on the adventure they’ve planned.
10. Have family game nights. If you’re up for a long night, break out the classics like Monopoly, Clue or Life. There’s always Scrabble or Bananagrams for spelling fun. Play a family favorite or something new, bought just for the occasion. Keep it simple with Uno or Yahtzee. For younger kids try The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel or Go Fish. Whatever you play, they will be strategizing and learning at the same time.
Pass the popcorn you sneaky, snacky mama!