A chapter of Fable Haven shared by flashlight in a dark tent can make a great memory for all ages. Listening to a great audio book together on the way up the mountain helps the miles zip by, especially if an interesting discussion comes about as a result. Simply searching on the internet can bring countless ideas like these for quality family time and fun together this summer.
If you’re like many parents, you’re looking for those ideas that will give you the most ROI; return on investment of all resources, including energy, patience, and enthusiasm, (with returns of progress in all the ways we hope our children will grow and learn).
We parents may look for ideas that don’t cost a cent, that maybe include 1-100 people, that can be done inside-outside or far-away, that can include ages 0-92, and many other factors taken into consideration. We may be working on an ingenious plan for today or looking ahead towards a long-awaited, humongous family reunion.
Perhaps these suggestions can trigger more ideas that are just right for your family to do together. You may also want to see more activities and games listed at the end of the Reading Horizons E-book How to Help Your Struggling Reader.
1. Set up treasure hunts with clues to be found and read in search of a particularly exciting reward. Turn the tables on the struggling reader that hides from reading – by hiding the reading from the child!.
2. Present a drive-up-type restaurant lunch through an open window of the house, with great menus and cardboard signs. Invite friends.
3. Collect trivia on favorite sports teams, stars, musicians, etc. (or how about an ancestor?), and make scrapbooks or simple video documentaries.
3. Help make a simple children’s recipe collection; save in a file or binder, or publish an actual book online. Illustrations can be drawn or free clip art used. Put together a joke collection or maybe some tongue twisters. Books can be printed off, kept, and/or shared. Videos can be made of the stand-up comedian doing his work. Try collecting poetry or writing poetry as you learn about how to do that best.
4. Play board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly. Boggle, Concentration, and MadGab are also good reading games. Consider ongoing summer tournaments and desirable prizes.
5. If the desire exists to learn a foreign language, begin by labeling lots of simple household items and places with little written words taped-on.
6. Access all the wonderful resources at the local library, including opportunities for volunteer work for older children.
7. Go on a nature hunt. Make descriptive lists of items to find and collect in an egg carton or basket.
8. Plan a weekly book-sharing club. Each attendee can tell about their favorite book read that week. This can also be done over the phone/internet with Skype-type connections, (Reminder: that venue provides ways to regularly read to loved ones who are away). An older child can tape-record or video themselves reading good books for younger children to enjoy. These tapes can be shared at children’s hospitals or under-privileged families’ assistance places.
9. Choose subjects on which to become “resident experts”, such as with certain animals, responsibilities, hobbies, or another language, country, etc. Example: the young weatherman or anchor newswoman can take the role seriously and publish a regular daily or weekly email or short video clip to family members and friends.
10. Visit zoos and museums. Using a camcorder, a child can be a reporter and produce a documentary of the experience. Read and gather information posted. Imaginary names can even be assigned to the zoo animals based on what is learned. Or, going another direction, a fictional story could be written about the animals’ pictures that are taken.
11. Make mini-magazines with original material to distribute to family and friends. Maybe include artwork. Selling ads are certainly a possibility, too!
12. Learn stories from the lives of ancestors. Write down or record and distribute at a family reunion. Original pictures can be drawn for illustration, or copies of family pictures can be included. Grandparents can be interviewed on tape and the short stories transcribed into a written history.
13. Regularly write in journals or diaries, both individual and family, especially when special events occur. Make sure there are interesting pages and paper-types to write on. Varieties of colors, textures, and mediums for writing can make it more appealing. Write letters and thank you notes. Send postcards while away.
14. Keep blogs. Follow blogs of interest and comment on them.
15. Utlilze time in the car for games, (such as the Alphabet game while watching for billboards or the license plate game), singing, reading aloud, or listening to great literature on audio books.
16. Watch for favorite comics in a daily newspaper; collect and save in a simple scrapbook to share.
17. After watching DVDs or videos of old/new musicals, look up the words to favorite songs on the internet in order to enjoy learning them together. Find and download instrumental accompaniments – you can even video-tape a karaoke event or your own version of a musical!
18. Make mini-office lapbooks. These would be good for traveling or summer homeschool-type routines.
19. Make a cardboard box town. Label what places and things are. http://www.theimaginationtree.com/2011/05/small-world-play-cardboard-box-town.html For older children, lots of boxes can be used for buildings, and sidewalk chalk can be used for drawing roads.
20. Make and label a continent map. http://theadventuresofbear.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-make-your-own-continent-map.html
21. For pre-schoolers, alphabet pasta and tweezers used to make words can be great for fine-motor skills.lOlder children can write sentences and paragraphs. They may want to use cut-out words from magazines to make birthday cards and scrapbook pages.
22. Write big block letters for pre-schoolers for them to copy the letter formations with wiki stix, or glue and pasta, glitter, etc. These can be used for simple posters announcing an event.
23. Tape “word-family parts” onto Legos for building words. Or make wood blocks and paint bright-colored alphabet letters on them for building words. Make three-word family printatbles.
24. Make a home-made family word box together.
24. Put thin magnet-strip pieces on cut-out words from magazines and newspapers. Place a wide assortment of both simple and complex words on the refrigerator for forming random communications as family members walk by.
25. Help write a short script for a play together. Prepare simple puppets out of stray socks or paper bags. Tacking drawn or cut-out pictures onto popsicle sticks works. Pass out the scripts with assigned parts. Present from behind the couch or a cardboard box theatre, etc.