School’s out for summer and the family deserves a break. Your kids probably do not want to think about homework or projects.
Still it’s important to keep learning in the back of the mind. Even if children do not wish to read books or study vocabulary words, there are sneaky ways to encourage kids to write, think and develop their minds while they are just doing their normal routine or going on summer outings. Try these seven suggestions to have your kid earn brain power without even realizing it.
- Write a review- Children love to give their opinion. When they start to give it, have them write it. Have kids state what they like or don’t like about anything they are experiencing. It could be the food at a restaurant you visit. Perhaps the summer’s most anticipated film didn’t measure up to your child’s expectations. Encourage your opinionated son or daughter to share their thoughts on paper. Help them form complete sentences or even use a new word.
- Pick three- Have your kid choose three things to discuss. It could be three of their favorite songs. Choose three of their favorite superheroes. Select three favorite colors or ice cream flavors. Start with three and see where it leads. Then find out why your child made that decision. You’ll learn more about your kids and it will be fun, informative brainstorming session. Tell your child to suggest a topic for you too so you can play along.
- Design a place- What kind of house would your child build? Or would it be a castle or an airport instead? Help your kid design it, draw it and build it with construction paper or blocks. Ask your child the questions to start the senses. What will the site look like, smell like, feel like, sound like and perhaps even taste like? What is the texture and materials used in constructing it? Have your children consider these notions to help with thought process, transitions and putting things in order. Whether they realize it or not, they are building the foundations for writing.
- Make a list- Recruit your family’s help in making a list for the day or the week. What things should you do? What groceries do you need? What special toy does your child want for his birthday or for a holiday? Start the list now and have your child write it if she or he can. Help them spell words and write letters correctly if necessary. Or you can type up the list on a computer. This is great writing practice and possibly a big help for moms and dads too when they are tired or out of ideas.
- Silly sentence- What’s the wackiest thing your kid can say? Tell your child to be as silly as possible within a sentence. Can you use each word with the same consonant? Or how about each word with a vowel? What sounds can you repeat? Each of you can compose one funny statement per day. Then by the end of week and end of the summer, read them all. You may have the makings of quite the comedy!
- Today’s rhyme- Have your children say, Similar words today. Make it a fun game, Where words sound the same. Tell your child for every rhyme, You’ll give him a dime. With a limit of fifty cents, And only two hints. When it becomes too long, Just put on a song.
- Sit and talk- The simplest way to spark creativity among kids is to force them to stop moving, slow down, sit next to you and have an open discussion. Ask them what they are thinking about. Invite them to talk about their day or share a story about a friend or something they observed. You could have an oral storyteller on your hands and not realize it. Let kids speak freely with their thoughts. Then you can always help them transfer it to writing later.
The Magnificent Seven of Writing
These magnificent seven suggestions are hidden ways that I promote writing in my family. I can use these prompts no matter where we are, what we are doing or what time of the year it may be. Try these or similar ideas to round up your own rowdy bunch of smart, creative kids or to defend the honor of your intelligent home.