By Leslie Lindsay
It may be summer break in most areas of the country, so your classroom is bound to be shifting a bit. Instead of neat rows of desks lined up in your neighborhood school, your child’s classroom is now the playground, the nature trail, the swimming pool, or perhaps a friendly day camp.
There are plenty of ways to “sneak” in summer learning without being overly teacher-ly. Here are some ideas uncovered in just the last few days for little or no cost to you.
- Michaels Craft Stores have two summer tracks you may be interested in following. Track One: Kids Club. Meets every Saturday, starting June 1st and going thru July 6th. For ages 3+, kids can benefit from a 30-minute hands-on crafting activity (all supplies included) with a Michaels staff member and bring home a craft. ($2/child). (Examples: Father’s Day Card, Father’s Day Duck Tape Frame, Silly Shells, 4th of July Hat, and Summer Games). All classes run every 30 minutes from 10-12noon.
- Michaels Craft Stores Track Two: Passport to Imagination. Explore the 7 continents and their amazing landmarks and icons in this 7-week voyage “around the globe!” For just $2 and 2-hours, kids can participate in a crafting adventure Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays beginning June 17th. You must register to join the fun and reserve your spot. www.Michaels.com/Passport
- Check your local library! Remember those fun summer reading book programs from your day a child? Chances are, your library is still doing something similar for this generation. Our library hosts a reading group, book logs, suggested titles, and small prizes for achieving certain levels. Libraries often have low-cost or no-cost afternoon and evening programs designed just for kids and families.
- You may also consider hosting a pee-wee book group. Pick a theme or a classic title geared to your child’s ages and interests. Invite a few friends (3-4 is a good number to start) and get reading. Parents, you read the book, too! Pick an interval that works for you–meet weekly (or twice weekly) to discuss your progress, or when the book is complete. Make it fun! Bake, draw, paint, or craft an activity to go along with your book. (At our house, we’re planning to read several chapter books about 3rd grade). For younger kids, try a series of picture books like Fancy Nancy or Thomas the Tank Engine. Double-duty: get reading hours for that library summer reading log while spending time with friends!
- Panera Bread offers a BIT Kids program. That’s Baker-in-Training. Great for scouts and other service-minded groups, but also for kiddos who love to bake! Reservations must be made in advance, classes are typically 1.5 hours and require a minimum of 10 kiddos ages 5-12 years. An adult chaperone is also required to stay for every 5 children.
- Gather up a group of friends from your kiddie book group, neighbors, or moms and tots group. For more information, http://www.panerabread.com/about/bit/
More ideas coming up next week! For now–it’s summer–keep it fun, fresh, and educational! Class dismissed…