Date Added: June 24, 2009 As school doors close and the summer is upon us, it is important to keep our children engaged through enrichment activities. There is no need to wrack your brain to come up with ideas. We have condensed the ideas from some popular websites for you to review and choose from.
Summer Activities for Kids With Learning Disabilities: Making Wise Choices
Date Added: June 24, 2009 Figuring out the right balance of activities for your particular child is the key to a successful summer break. As summer vacation gets closer, are you trying to decide between improving your child's academic study skills or developing her talents? Perhaps you'll want to do a little of each. Here are some ideas to discuss with your child.
Basic Academic Study Skills Summer allows your child a chance to learn in a less structured setting where her needs can be addressed in unique and creative ways. Computer keyboarding, for example, is an important skill for all young kids to develop. Learning keyboarding skills can give her an alternative to the difficult process of writing. Summer can also be a good time for your child to try out assistive technology. Many are specifically designed to help kids with learning disabilities (LD) work around their challenges.
Physical Activity Physical activity is important for good health and energy. If your child is well coordinated and likes team sports, she may enjoy programs through local recreation departments. Group activities also may strengthen social interaction skills. If your child doesn't like to compete or follow team rules, she may be more comfortable with individual sports, such as swimming, hiking, skating, miniature golfing, and bicycling. If she has problems with attention or self-control, karate can be a good choice.
Arts and Sciences By participating in art, drama, or music classes, your child may discover and use special talents and build self-esteem. Look to your local recreation center and community theaters for class offerings. Understanding her special interests can guide you in planning summer outings to enhance learning. Consider taking her to museums, libraries, art galleries, aquariums, planetariums, concerts, and plays. Your backyard and local neighborhood open up a world of possibilities for science activities. Public library resources offer suggestions, as well.
Instruction One of the biggest problems parents of a child with LD face is whether to continue basic instruction during summer vacation. She may need a break right away but could use a "jump start" from tutoring a few weeks before school begins in the fall. On the other hand, if she's just starting to make progress in a specific area when school lets out for the summer, it may be wise to continue instruction. Your child's teacher can give you suggestions for fun activities to strengthen skills she's learned. Reading If your child struggles with reading, there are many ways you can help build skills at home. Take advantage of summer reading programs at your local public library. Whatever activities and programs you chose for your child, remember to read to her to build vocabulary and instill a love of literature. Older kids may enjoy listening to books on tape. Time should set aside for her to read, as well. Her teacher or local library staff can help you find books or magazines of interest written at her independent reading level. Since reading aloud is one of the best ways for kids to improve reading skills, encourage her to read to younger children or older relatives.
The Choice is Yours Your final decision should be based on a variety of factors, including family schedules, time, cost, and your child's feelings. Remember that summer should also be a time to enjoy your child, so find time to laugh and play together.
By Jan Baumel, M.S.
Five Ways to Keep Learning Going During School Breaks
Date Added: June 24, 2009 By Terri Mauro, About.com When the kids are home for school vacation, they may want nothing more than to turn their brains to neutral and take a break from learning. If you want to keep them learning and growing over those precious days off, you'll need to be sneaky. These five articles from the Parenting Special Needs site will give you tips on making smart use of that idle time.
1. Play a game. Card games and board games and games you make up can be great ways to sneak a little knowledge in when your child least suspects. Make War a calculating challenge, flash cards a competitive sport, and Candyland, dreaded Candyland, a chance to reinforce color learning. "Games for Fun and Learning" has more ideas and strategies. Let the games begin!
2. Start a reading routine. An uninterrupted span of school-free days or weeks is a perfect time to get started on a routine of reading regularly with your child. It doesn't have to be a battle or something you send her to do in her room in sulking solitude. "How to Start a Reading Routine" can give you some ideas for turning reading time into tolerable, even enjoyable, together time.
3. Turn on the computer. Stores and catalogs are full of educational computer games, but often they don't work well for children with special needs. Kids with language and learning problems may not be able to follow complicated storylines, or figure out what to do on screens cluttered with options. They may need reinforcement in more basic or more specialized skills than general-interest software can provide. Our list of Educational Software can help you find ones that will really turn the light on.
4. Have a nice chat. Young children soak up all the language you can give them, and benefit from being talked to in ways that help them talk more. That's especially true for children who are struggling with speech and language issues. In an excerpt from her book "Teach Me How to Say It Right," speech and language pathologist Dorothy Dougherty helps you find new ways to turn simple conversation and interaction into informal speech therapy for your child.
5. Get moving. While you're focusing on education, don't forget about physical education. Finding ways to exercise together will be good for your health and your child's, and keep idleness from taking over those days off. Consult "10 Ways to Work Out with Your Child" for products that will get the two of you moving in ways that will be fun and fitness-promoting.
10 Weeks of Summer Reading Adventures for You and Your Kids
Date Added: June 24, 2009 By: Reading Is Fundamental (2000) It's not hard to help your children keep their interest in reading and learning during the summer break. Here are ten weeks of suggestions to encourage your children to open books even after school doors close.
Children acquire skills throughout the school year, but they can lose ground if learning stops during the summer break. Fortunately, learning never has to stop. Children who read throughout the summer gain skills, can start the new school year with a better understanding of language and the world around them, and discover the joy of reading. The more they like to read, the more they will read. It's not hard to help your children keep their interest in reading and learning. Children learn through a variety of activities, and almost everything we do presents an opportunity to read. When you're eating breakfast, read the cereal box; if you're in a restaurant, read the menu. Read the newspaper with your children and discuss what's happening in the world. Reading every day, even if it's for just a few minutes, improves children's ability to read and learn all year long. Here are 10 weeks of activities that involve reading and related skills. There's no special order, and you don't have to do everything listed in a particular week. Just pick the ones that look interesting and fun!
Week 1: Celebrate summer
Write a list of things you want to do this summer. Don't forget to include reading!
Make a chart to keep track of all the books you read this summer.
Write down on your calendar the time the sun sets today.
Start a summer scrapbook. Include souvenirs of any trips you take, photos, ticket stubs, and projects you work on during the summer.
List all the books by your favorite author. See how many you can read this summer.
Swap books with a friend. Keep sharing books throughout summer.
Take a walk. Write about or draw the things you see that show summer is here.
Week 2: Keep in touch
Make a personal phone book. List phone numbers and addresses of your friends and relatives.
Design your own stationery and write a letter to a friend.
Start a journal with a friend or relative. Take turns writing in it all summer long. You can even do this by mail or e-mail.
Write a letter to your favorite author. A librarian can help you find a postal or e-mail address.
Draw a picture postcard of an imaginary place. On the back, write a message. Mail it to a friend or relative or put it in your scrapbook.
The first U.S. postage stamps were designed in 1847. Be a philatelist. Design your own stamp.
Word game! Invent a code (A=1, B=2, for example). Send a message in code to a friend.
Week 3: Discover recipes for fun
List all the ice cream flavors you can think of. Now put them in A-BC order.
Invent a recipe for a cool summer drink. Write it on a recipe card. Serve the drink to your friends.
Go to the library and find a cookbook. Make the most interesting dish in the book.
Read the directions on a box of gelatin. Ask a parent if you can help make dessert tonight.
Work up an appetite by reading a story about food. Make and eat the food you read about.
Word game! How many smaller words can you find in the word watermelon?
Week 4: Travel the world
If you are going on a family vacation this summer, read about your trip. Mark your travel route on a map.
Pretend you are going to visit another city, state, or country with a friend or relative. Write to the tourist bureau for more information. If you plan to visit a foreign country, write to the embassy. Visit the library and find books about the place you want to visit. Or search online for information. Plan your itinerary – and don't forget to check the weather!
Pick an important news event from another city, state, or country. Find as much information on the topic as possible – read newspapers, listen to the radio, and watch TV news. Talk about what you learned.
Word game! Look for out-of-state license plates. Make a list of all the state names and slogans. Decide which ones you like the best. Ask friends and relatives which are their favorites.
Week 5: Enjoy the great outdoors
Pick wildflowers and press them between the pages of a heavy book until the end of summer.
Plan a backyard camping trip with a friend. List all the things you will need to survive.
Plan a family 'booknic' at your favorite outdoor spot, such as the beach, a park, or the woods. Pack lunch and plenty to read.
Collect shells at the beach or rocks along a trail. Use a nature guide to identify them.
Find something small enough to put in your pocket. Write or tell a story about it.
Look for shapes and designs in the clouds. Draw them.
Word game! Make a list of words to describe fireworks.
Week 6: Visit fun places
An animal has escaped from the zoo! Make up a story about it. Tell it to a friend or family member – or write it down. Add pictures, if you'd like.
What museums are close to your house? Are there any old, historic buildings in the area? Find these places on a map. Find out what is on exhibit at the museums and why the old buildings are important.
Go back in time and pretend you lived in – or did business in – the oldest building in your area. Write a story about how you spent your time.
Make a list of zoo animals. Sort them by different categories, such as type of animal (mammals, fish, etc.) or coloring (green, brown, striped, etc.).
Visit the zoo with friends or relatives and find the animals on your list.
Visit a museum or historical building with friends or relatives. Write a list of things you see that you didn't expect.
Word game! Think of the softest animal or the oldest thing you've ever touched. Write a poem about it, but don't use the word soft or old.
Week 7: Become a publisher
Make your own joke book. Collect jokes and riddles from your family and friends.
Cut out pictures from an old magazine or catalog. Write a story about them.
Create a rebus story (a story that uses pictures to represent words). Write a short story, and then substitute pictures (that you draw or cut out) for some of the words.
Start a round-robin story. Write the beginning, then ask friends to add to it until it has an ending.
Week 8: Watch the skies
Learn what birds live in your area. (Birds are described in books called Field Guides.) Wake up early to go bird watching and list the birds you see.
Which constellations can you see on a clear summer night? Look at the sky using a star guide to help you find the constellations.
People have been looking at the skies for generations. Ask a grandparent or a much older friend to tell you a story about his or her childhood.
The first UFO was reported in 1947. Read a science fiction book in honor of it.
Word game! Baseballs also fly through the sky in summer. Find a list of baseball teams in the sports section of the newspaper. Put them in A-B-C order.
Week 9: Design something big
Invent a tool to help you do chores more easily. Draw a picture of it or make it from some old junk.
Read aloud the names of some of the cars in the classified section of your newspaper. Design a new car and name it.
Walk around your neighborhood and look at the houses. Design a house that would best suit your lifestyle.
Design your own board game and write the rules.
Everything we use was designed by someone. Start a collection of things you like, or add to a collection you already have. Use a guide to learn the value of your collection.
Week 10: Honor summer's end
Remember the wildflowers you pressed between the pages of a heavy book? Remove them, and put them in your summer scrapbook or paste them on heavy paper to make a bookmark.
Review the chart you made to track the books you read this summer. Pick new books to read.
Notice what time the sun sets today. Compare it to the time the sun set during week one.
Make a list of the supplies you need for school. Start shopping.
Plan an end-of-summer celebration. Write a list of the 10 best things you did this summer. Design a menu of your favorite summer treats.
Word game! Summer days are the longest days of the year. List the longest words you know.
You can also download these activities as a colorful two-page PDF (696 k)* called Summertime Reading Adventures from the Reading Is Fundamental site.