Motherhood

Can Summer Reading Be Fun?

At the beginning of the summer I was contacted by a lovely woman named Holly from Education.com asking me if I was interested in checking out some fun learning activities to share here on the blog.

I love the idea of learning activities, of being That Mom Who Does Projects With Her Kids even though my style is much more being That Mom Who Puts Her Kids In Front Of Netflix So She Can Do Her Own Projects.

Plus I’m already overcommitted, have been flaking on other things (sorry Rivka whose beautiful questions I STILL have not answered!), consistently live in the world of potential instead of the real world where there are time constraints among other things.

So of course I said yes, I’d love to do it.

It took me a while, but last week I actually had the wherewithal to go to Joann Fabrics and get the necessary supplies.

What You Need:

  • Styrofoam circle
  • Scissors
  • Yellow paint
  • Black marker
  • Summer vocabulary list
  • Paint brush
  • White poster board (I got yellow)
  • Place mat
  • Knife

My plan was to do this project with my kids after camp on Tuesday. You know how plans are, though. A dear friend of mine from Baltimore is in town for only a few days and Tuesday afternoon was the one time we could get together.

When was I going to do this Education.com activity? Stress!! Well, it just so happened that Tuesday morning came and one of my kids was feeling a little under the weather. No fever, just malaise. He didn’t want to go to camp, so I kept him home.

We went to the post office, to the car wash, to Target, and then it occurred to me: WE COULD DO THE PROJECT!! He’s going into first grade, so this would provide good reading practice. And it would be so much easier with just one kid as opposed to four.

Amazing. And thankfully, he had perked up and was feeling pretty good. After lunch, we embarked on the mission of getting it done.

What You Do:

1. Put the place mat beneath the Styrofoam circle.

(I also had him put on an old t-shirt to serve as a smock)

2. Have your child paint the top and sides of the Styrofoam circle yellow.

3. Set it aside to dry 

(It took a while to dry so we found ways to be productive while we waited)

IMG_8887
Any excuse to use the hose, really.

(We skipped these next two steps)

4. Turn the Styrofoam circle over and let him paint that side yellow as well.

5. Set it aside to dry again.

6. This step is all you. Carefully make a shallow cut all along the center of the Styrofoam circle perimeter. This is where your child will later secure the vocabulary triangles.

 

 

IMG_8895
You can’t see it, but I’m using a little sharp knife there. It has a yellow handle!

7. Don’t let him put away the paint just yet! Have your child paint the poster board yellow. Let it dry.

(We skipped this step, too. Yellow poster board FTW.)

8. Now, let him use scissors to cut triangles from the poster board. He should make at least thirty yellow triangles

(I traced triangles onto the posterboard first and then he cut those out. We ended up with eighteen – nine could fit around the circle and then nine to be the red herrings. Yellow herrings. Whatever)

9. Have your child write single words or phrases from his summer vocabulary list on about half of the yellow triangles.

10. Without him peeking, write random vocabulary words on the rest of the triangles. These words should have nothing to do with summer.

(I had him come up with summer words and then I wrote them on the triangles. I figured if all the summer words were in his handwriting and all the non-summer words were in mine, it would be too easy)

11. Put all the triangles on the table.

 

IMG_8885
not sure why these yellow triangles look so green…

12. Ask him to stick only the summer words into the side of the Styrofoam circle. You can verify his work and discuss his choices.

(This was a lot of fun. I spread the triangles on the table and he would read each one aloud. It was perfectly educational!)

IMG_8906IMG_8919IMG_8904

13. As he places each “sunbeam” into the circle, quiz him on the word’s definition.

(We did not do this at all)

Verdict: This was a fun project that encouraged reading and that my son really enjoyed. Definitely a great rainy-day activity. He’s already asking to do it again!

 

And check out Education.com for about a gazillion other activities. This was an educational experience not only for my son, but also for me. I will definitely try something like this again!

Here’s the list of supplies and steps all in one place for easy reference:

What You Need:

  • Styrofoam circle
  • Scissors
  • Yellow paint
  • Black marker
  • Summer vocabulary list
  • Paint brush
  • White poster board
  • Place mat
  • Knife

What You Do:

  1. Put the place mat beneath the Styrofoam circle.
  2. Have your child paint the top and sides of the Styrofoam circle yellow.
  3. Set it aside to dry.
  4. Turn the Styrofoam circle over and let him paint that side yellow as well.
  5. Set it aside to dry again.
  6. This step is all you. Carefully make a shallow cut all along the center of the Styrofoam circle perimeter. This is where your child will later secure the vocabulary triangles.
  7. Don’t let him put away the paint just yet! Have your child paint the poster board yellow. Let it dry.
  8. Now, let him use scissors to cut triangles from the poster board. He should make at least thirty yellow triangles.
  9. Have your child write single words or phrases from his summer vocabulary list on about half of the yellow triangles.
  10. Without him peeking, write random vocabulary words on the rest of the triangles. These words should have nothing to do with summer.
  11. Put all the triangles on the table.
  12. Ask him stick only the summer words into the side of the Styrofoam circle. You can verify his work and discuss his choices.
  13. As he places each “sunbeam” into the circle, quiz him on the word’s definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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