Writing activities over the summer needn’t be a huge hassle! Read for more ideas.
As a teacher, I’m paranoid about the summer slide – that intangible happening where students’ learning regresses during summer months. I’ve seen my own children and their teachers work diligently this past year. I’ve seen the kids grow and complete marvelous, big assignments. Backsliding? Let’s not.
Alternatively, I want my kids to relax. I believe that being bored forces kids to be creative. (My brothers and I put on many plays – complete with admittance tickets and scripts – due to summer boredom). Kids don’t need occupied 100% of the time, and they don’t need electronics the majority of the day.
After several summers with school age kids, I’ve found something of a balance. Sure, it’s not perfect, but experimentation has led me to bring classroom activities home, with fun variations. With a few alterations, these will work for all ages. For reference, my kids are 8, 6, and 2 – and I use these activities with them.
Try these writing activities for kids this summer to prevent the summer slide.
1. Use nature to tell a story.
Practice personification. Write a few sentences giving a tree feelings (how does the tree feel out in the sun all day? does the tree enjoy seeing different types of birds sitting on its branches?).
Younger kids can trace leaves or assemble pieces of nature together. They are still telling a story, in an age appropriate way.
2. Play with sidewalk chalk!
The ideas are endless! With kiddos learning letters, they can trace or practice identification. Older kids can practice spelling.
For some reason, sidewalk chalk makes regular work feel like, un-work.
3. Inspire with big pieces of paper.
I have purchased huge rolls of paper from party stores, and I have also bought larger pads of construction paper. For some reason, the huge pieces of paper inspire lots of writing.
They definitely encourage participation. Each child can write one sentence, and I can add new ideas or ways to transition to a new thought.
Summarize your day at home. Turn the events into a story, complete with dialogue. Put a fun twist on it – turn family members into animals. We normally become a family of bears.
4. Play telephone.
This is a bit like writing a story in a circle, only with the telephone element tossed in. You may need neighbor kids for this, or you may need to participate too.
Ask person #1 (you may need to rotate) to say a silly sentence to person #2. After the message gets to the end of the line, kids should write down the final interpretation of the sentence. Dependent on their ages, ask them to write a few more sentences that elaborate on that first one. Younger kids may find that writing nonsense is fun!
Another option is for you to write the sentence and add their verbal responses. Create the story with their ideas, while modeling writing. It’s helpful for children to see their own parents writing.
I see summer as such a valuable opportunity for kids to think in unusual, personalized ways. You know your kids better than anyone, and parents can prevent the summer slide with simple ideas. These writing activities for kids this summer can be just the beginning! Write a family history or create a scrapbook together; write paper letters to family far away.
Did you see great classroom activities this past school year? Make them better with tweaks – and doing them together at home. Enjoy writing with your children this summer.