I should have posted this earlier in the year, at least before summer started. This is a copy of an article I wrote that has appeared on some other sites. I was asked why I didn't put it on my blog....so, here it is. In the orginal article there are fancy graphics and the ideas are numbered. I could not get any of that to transfer over.
The topic I was orginally asked to write for was "Ways to Help Students Not Forget Over the Summer". But, these are things that can be done at home year around.
Play Math BINGO, I made mine from the plain (inside) cardboard on cereal boxes. I made squares and put numbers in each square. On small pieces of paper I wrote out all the multiplication facts through the 12's. The caller reads the problem, such as "6 x 6", and the kids look at their card. If they have a 36 on their card, they cover it (we use pennies as our covers). You could vary this game according to your child's math level for addition or subtraction.
Keep a critter's notebook. Each week or every few days, add a new animal or insect. You can add coloring sheets, research the animal in books or on line and write a report about it. My kids are older so their book is divided into the various animal kingdoms, and each animal is put behind the proper tab. You can take this with you when you visit the zoo and take animal pictures to add to your pages or to create new pages.
Discuss various businesses and call ahead to arrange for field trips. My kids have visited the bank, post office, grocery store, feed store, vets office, doctors office. By asking for a tour, you get to see the "back rooms", have inventory and business practices explained to the kids on their level. Many businesses, such as banks and the post office also have free literature to give to kids.
Have the kids shop. This uses home-ec, finances, math skills. Give them each a list, money and have them look for coupons and the best deals.
Discuss nutrition and have the kids each plan a menu for a day or week or month (depending on their ages). Then, they can shop and cook or help cook what they picked. Menus must meet the food recommendations.
Build medical models. We have built several skeletons and various organs. Older kids can learn the names of the bones. Get a newspaper end roll from your local paper. Lay out a long piece. Have the kids lay down and you can trace their body. Then they can color it all in. Little ones put on their face and clothes. Older kids draw in their organs and bones. Can be hung on their bedroom doors when finished.
See if your local library has a summer reading program, or a kid's book club. Read out loud together as a family. Also read a book, then see if the library has a movie of that book. You can discuss how it was the same and different. Learn the books of the Bible
Watch "Mr Smith goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart in it. It's an old clean movie that describes how the government works. Pick out several presidents and study them.
Find some educational place mats in the housewares area at Walmart. They have for 99 cents ones with the presidents, solar system, map of the world and more. Rotate them out every few days.
Get a free state map from your license bureau. Look up interesting areas in your state and then visit them in person or on line. Do you have a state park nearby? Visit the ranger station. It is free at most parks.
Have kids gather leaves. Take rubbings and then look up and find out what the leaves were from. Learn animal tracks, poisonous snakes and plants, then take what you learned with you and go camping.
Find the oldest cemetery around you and visit it. Read the tombstones. Who was the oldest? Who was the youngest? What is the oldest grave you can find? If you find a lot of people died the same year find out why? What illness or weather pattern killed them?
Work on family genealogy. Take the kids to visit older family members. Have them tell a story and have the kids tape record or video it to save for future generations.
Small kids can learn over the summer the months of the year, to tie their shoes.
Visit your local police and fire departments. Most will show kids the trucks, cars and give them information. Then come home and have kids create a safety drill for your home. Make maps and mark exits, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
Have kids learn to make butter, bake a loaf of bread or some cooking lessons.
Teach kids to sew. Start with a simple project such as a pillow.
Have kids take apart nonworking and unplugged items such as old clocks, radio, TV telephones and see what is inside.
Make a crystal radio.
Get a microscope and study bugs, pond water, hair, leaves, skin cells.
Visit your state capitol. Learn about your state and your state flag.
Contact your local conservation office and get posters of local wildlife, plants, trees, fish.
Study fish types and then go fishing.
Work puzzles. That uses the same brain cells that math problems use.
Watch such TV programs like "how is that made", and the history channel. If you watch Little House, notice and discuss how their life is different from ours today.