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Category: #schoolasummer (page 1 of 3)

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 31: Teaching Kindness

Parents often urge their kids to “be nice” or “be kind” to others. And young children frequently display spontaneous thoughtfulness and empathy. But general tendencies and general exhortations are just too…general.

Young children learn best when given concrete, specific examples and instructions. And so we’ve come up with a list of fifteen tangible ways in which kids (and adults) can practice kindness in daily life

1. Include others in play
2. Include others in conversation
3. Listen
4. Forgive
5. Give the benefit of the doubt
6. Share or take turns
7. Speak well of others
8. Help out, lend a hand
9. Offer a hug
10. Laugh at jokes
11. Say yes to invitations to play or talk
12. Think of others and how you might be able to help them
13. Try not to criticize
14. Give compliments
15. Say thanks and offer appreciation

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 30: Making Weather in Your Kitchen

In preschool, most kids start learning about science with the “daily weather report.” You remember it: one of the kids goes to the window and reports back to the class what the weather is, and then the teacher adds it to the daily calendar. It gives our children a tiny glimpse into the fascinating science of meteorology.

If your kids have the weather bug, here are two science experiments to encourage them…

Make a rainbow: It couldn’t be simpler to make a rainbow that is projected on your wall or ceiling. All you need is a clear glass container (a wide-mouth jar or juice glass is perfect), a mirror that is small enough to fit in the glass, a flashlight, and water. Fill the glass with water and place the mirror inside at an angle. Shine the flashlight on the mirror and you should see a rainbow. If you don’t, try changing the angle of the flashlight or the mirror (and, of course, turning off the lights will help too).

Make lightning: Push a thumbtack through the center of an aluminum pie pan turn the pan upside down (the sharp end of the tack should be pointing up through the bottom of the pan). Push the eraser end of a pencil (use a pencil with a new eraser) onto the thumbtack until it stands straight up. Place a styrofoam plate upside down on a table and have your kids rub the bottom of the plate very quickly with a piece of wool fabric (a wool sock works great). Use the pencil as a handle and put the aluminum pie plate on top of the styrofoam plate. Have your kid touch the aluminum pie pan with his finger. Was there a shock? If not, have him rub the styrofoam plate with the wool again. Once he’s feeling a little shock, turn off the lights before he touches the aluminum again.


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 29: Brain Teaser of the Day

Can you find seven number words hidden in the paragraph below? As an example, the word eight could be hidden inside one word, like height, or across two words, as in sleigh tonight. Good luck!

Where has the fat worm gone? He was wriggling away from my reel even before I had the hook on it! If I’ve lost him, I’ll be sorry. This evening I came prepared with reel, line, and bait hoping to catch plenty of fish. It’s not often that a worm of ours gets away.

#schoolasummer #brainteaser

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 28: Summer Fading? Ideas on How to Maximize Family Time

Great ways to maximize family time before the kiddos go back to school.


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 27: The Value of Writing Letters

Long distance friendships are a different affair for our children than they were for us. When kids can connect from across the world in an instant through multiple media, what reason would any child have for writing letters, much less waiting by the mailbox for one? What is the value of letter writing in the age of video-chat, texting, and social media? For young children, especially, there are numerous benefits and much appeal to trading notes with friends across distances via the good old postal service. Among them:

It’s good writing practice. Learning to express oneself fluently in writing is important in every respect. Kids who are motivated to write out of friendship and for fun are getting that much more

Letters call for patience. A lot of recent research on achievement focuses on kids’ ability to delay gratification and to stick with tasks even though they may not see immediate results.

Putting thoughts on paper requires more reflection than whipping off an email or text, and helps kids organize their own thinking.

The slow and steady nature of a pen pal relationship can help kids begin to understand that friendship is not only about fun in the here and now, but can take many forms, and transcend time and space. #schoolasummer

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 26: Graphic Novels for Kids

When you spend countless hours reading books out loud to your young children, you hope they’ll grow into avid independent readers. But best intentions and efforts aren’t everything. Some kids are just more reluctant readers than others.

Often, these are children for whom decoding complex words is a big effort. These are the kids who may not read with fluency until third grade. The trouble for these “late readers” is that the books they are able to decode, their so-called “just right” books, are often boring for them. This group of kids has no trouble grasping complex stories and themes, but they stumble on long, unfamiliar words and get discouraged when they try to read the chapter books their peers love.

What can we do for this sort of kid? Graphic novels! These art-filled stories entrance formerly reluctant readers with both thrilling plot lines and complex characters; they also contain challenging syntax and vocabulary, but the pictures keep kids engaged even when they must skip over words here and there. Ready to get started? Here are our very favorites…

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
The Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale

For kids who are a bit older:
Bone by Jeff Smith
Ghostopolis by Doug Tennapel

For kids who love the Wimpy Kid series:
The Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger
The Creature from My Closet series by Obert Skye

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 25: Learning a New Game

You don’t need elaborate game sets or one of those huge, inflatable slides to have fun in your backyard this summer. You already have the makings for a fun day in your kitchen and garage (and maybe a quick trip to the store). Learning a new game is a great way to spend an afternoon together. Here’s two we think you’ll love… Balloon Tennis: This is a simple, yet fun balloon activity that is sure to bring out the tennis star in your little one! Take small paper dessert plates and tape then to the end of a paint stir stick to create your tennis “racquet.” Blow up any size balloon for the “ball.” Use a jump rope to divide the “court” in half and see how many times you can volley that balloon across the line before it hits the ground. You can also use the plate racquet to keep the balloon aloft or you can play a tennis game of doubles or triples, depending on how many children there are. Noodle Hockey: Grab a bunch of pool noodles and a medium-sized ball. Depending on how many players you have, set up either one goal or two. How big the goal is depends on how easy you want to make the game. From there, it’s easy. Use the noodles like hockey sticks and try to get the ball into the goal. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the game, let someone play as goalie. #schoolasummer

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 24: Making Sun Prints

Ready for an easy art project today? We have just the thing for you!

Sun Prints

For this art project, you’ll need a sunny day, a few leaves (or other objects), and some construction paper. You can also buy special sun print paper at your local craft store, but we’ve found that inexpensive construction paper works just fine. Place a piece of construction paper in the sun. Have your child arrange leaves, sticks, keys, rocks, even plastic figurines on the paper. Leave the paper and objects out in the sun for an hour or two. The sun will fade the paper around the objects, leaving the area under the objects dark. The possibilities are endless, and the mess is minimal!


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 23: Small Businesses for Small Kids

Are your kids ready to start a small business this summer? Lemonade stands are great, but that’s not the whole scope of business ideas for young entrepreneurs. We know kids who have “doing” businesses, like house (and fish) sitting, and who have “making” businesses, like making and selling friendship bracelets. Here are some questions, courtesy of the Girl Scouts, to help your kids figure out where to start…

– What do you like to do?
– What type of chores do you do well?
– What do you like to spend your money on?
– What do you like to eat and drink?
– What types of things do your parents ask you to do for them?
– How much free time do you have to run your business?
– How much time can your parents or friends give you with your business?
– Would you rather do something to earn money or sell something?
– Do you want to earn money to buy something soon, or do you want to earn money so you can save up for something special?

We like these questions because they ask the kids to think about what they are good at, what they enjoy, and what they hope to accomplish. Aptitude, enjoyment, and aspirations—all important to any worthwhile project. Once your kids have answered these questions, they’ll be well on their way to starting their own business and learning so many great skills along the way.



31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 22: Brain Teaser of the Day

Hink Pinks are rhyming words that match a silly definition. We’ve done the first one for you. See if you can figure out the rest…

1. paperback thief = book crook
2. lengthy tune
3. space to keep a sweeping tool
4. light red beverage
5. 50% giggle
6. rodent’s cap
7. tight carpet
8. angry father

Now see your kids can come up with their own!



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