Can I say it is so nice to be on summer break? I have been teaching for 18 years and there is not a year that goes by that I don’t look forward to the June calendar! It usually is much cleaner and has less clutter and activities compared to the school year. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t spend time reviewing and learning in our house! I thought I’d discuss a few “skills” parents can work on with their children at home that can have big benefits when their students return to school.
As a special education teacher, I find this is one of those “life skills” that requires consistent practice. I often find myself repeating to my ten year old, “Bring this upstairs, pick up your clothes, and bring down your laundry basket!” Of course, the only thing she remembers is the laundry basket part! Grr! Those multi-step directions still get her!
There are several ways parents can work on following directions at home. One way I find fun and entertaining is to cook or bake with your child. Following a recipe is very important in making good food! ☺ There is a logical sequence to follow. Usually there is a building of directions to produce the end product. With help even little ones can begin to learn there are things that need to be done first, second, third, etc. Start with an easy recipe and work your way up according to your child’s skill level. Break and bake cookies work great for little ones! Point out the directions on the back as well.
The ability to follow directions in a logical manner is a skill that is built on through grade levels. Of course, toddlers will only be able to follow simple, short, and predictable directions. Older children need to work on multi-step directions. Don’t forget to make it fun and purposeful! Other activities like unloading the dishwasher, picking up their room, etc. can help them learn tasks in a logical way!
Summer Writing for Little Ones
I know I touched on writing a few weeks ago, but I wanted to revisit it again as it is such an important skill! Of course, journal writing is an excellent way to practice. However, there are other ways too to help students stay on track. One idea is to take pictures of things around the house, outside, on vacation, etc. Make prints of the pictures and have students write about the pictures. I know our first grade teachers use this task with students throughout the year. Children are able to write because their topic is familiar. They get excited to tell about their adventures!
For pre-school age children, there are lots of ways to practice letter formation. Have your child practice in shaving crème! Spray a table and let them have a blast! I’ve also used salt in a box to have students practice their letters in their name. Spaghetti noodles (cooked of course) make great letters! Grab some letter magnets and put them on the fridge or a baking sheet and have your child practice the letters in their name. Sidewalk chalk is another way to practice! Wikki-Stix are great as they stick to windows, mirrors, etc. They can be found pretty much everywhere. The ideas are endless! Just make it fun!
I hope your summer is off to a fun one! The weather here in the Midwest hasn’t cooperated for a lot! We’ve only been swimming once! Fingers crossed Mother Nature decides to change her mind soon! Have a great rest of the month!
What skills are you working on with your kids this summer?