Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Fun and Learning Games

Here at our house, summers are a time to relax, unwind and be spontaneous. School work is not really part of our summer. I do this intentionally because I feel that we work very hard all year long and we all need time to just relax and have nothing too structured to do. Mom needs down time too!!

At the same time, I want to make sure the kids don't completely forget what they learned throughout the year. So for me, summer is about finding balance. We have lots of free time, with some structure thrown in, and a little bit of fun summer learning too.

I came up with these fun learning games with all of that in mind. Since we like to be outside a lot during the summer, I incorporated some learning fun in your everyday outdoor activities, like playing hopscotch. I've never met a kid who didn't like to play Hopscotch. It's simple, fun, and the kids will get a little exercise out of it too!

Here are some ideas:
1) Hopscotch to practice word wall words. Using my Words out of a Hat game, write one word wall word in each hopscotch square, for a total of 10 words. Mom or kid can then pick a card out of a hat (or bowl) and follow the instructions. For example, if the card says "Find a word with a long vowel sound", then the child will hop to a word that has the long vowel sound and hop back.

Some suggestions to write on the cards (or strips of paper):
  • Hop to a word with a long vowel sound
  • Hop to a word with a short vowel sound
  • Hop to a word that's a verb
  • Hop to a word that's an adjective
  • Hop to a word that's a noun
  • Hop to a word and name its synonym
  • Hop to a word and use it in a sentence
  • Hop to a word and define it
2) Hopscotch to practice word blends. Write a beginning blend on each hopscotch square, leaving a couple of free squares. To make it more interesting, write "take one hop back" and "take two hops forward". Ask the child to toss a stone or bean bag randomly on a square. Then, the child can hop to the square and name a word that has that blend in it. For example, the child hops on -CR, then they can say the word CRY or CRAFT or any other word they can think of.

Some beginning blend suggestions:

  • CR-
  • BR-
  • DR-
  • FR-
  • GR-
  • PR-
  • TR-
  • BL-
  • CL-
  • FL-
  • PL-
3) Hopscotch to practice word families/rhyming words. Write a word from a different word family in each square. Then ask the child to toss a stone or bean bag randomly on a square. Ask the child to hop to that square, read the word and name another word within the same word family. For example, if the word is "tree" the child can say "bee".

Some rhyming words suggestions:

  • Cape/Tape/Ape
  • Chick/Stick
  • Book/Hook/Look
  • Goose/Moose
  • Boat/Note
  • Egg/Leg
  • Heart/Cart/Part
  • Nose/Rose
  • Box/Fox
  • Corn/Horn
  • Yarn/Barn
  • Snow/Bow
  • Hat/Cat/Mat
4) For younger kids, hopscotch to practice the alphabet. Write a random letter in each square. Toss a small stone or bean bag, hop to the square and name a word that begins with that letter. For example, if the letter is "C" the child can say car, cat, or can.

5) If your child is learning a foreign language, hopscotch to practice vocabulary. Write words in the language your child is learning in each square. Then the parent can say the word and the child has to hop to that word. This is great listening comprehension practice. For example, if the child is learning Spanish, the parent can say the word "Nombre" and the child has to listen, understand and hop to the correct word.

6) Another foreign language practice idea is to write the words in English. Child then tosses a small stone or bean bag on a square, hops to the square and says the word in the target language.
For example, the child is learning Spanish and hops to the word "Thank you" in English. The child should then say "Gracias".

How do you incorporate traditional summer fun with learning?

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!