Awhile back I was talking to one of my friends about how we were going to spend our summer with our kids. While we have plans for vacations and trips of course, its those normal days I was dreading. You know the mornings, the ones where you agree to turn on the cartoons for only a half-hour so you can wash the breakfast dishes and before you know it two hours have gone by. Every time you reach for the remote, there is your zombie faced child pleading, "Mommy, just one more show pleeez!" Or those afternoons when suddenly and without warning every single, solitary toy in the house is out without seconds?
I'll admit last summer I had too many of those days.
I promised myself this summer would be different.
My girls always seem to do better with structure. Maybe its a twin thing since we tried to get them on the same schedule from day one merely as a survival tactic. But twins survival aside, I really do think most children strive with structure. So as I started thinking about how to structure our days, I kept several things in mind. First, I wanted fun to be foremost- after all it is the summer. But who says we can't have fun and learn something too? Practicing and reinforcing all those skills they learned in preschool was also at the forefront of my plans. This is the summer we countdown to kindergarten (sniffle, sniffle.)
So I dove into researching all kinds of activities we could do this summer and almost immediately themes started to emerge. Once I discovered I could link each theme to a trip or a place we plan to visit this summer, there was no holding me back.
Who wouldn't want to make your own fossils before a trip to the dinosaur park? Or whip up a batch of homemade butter before visiting the county fair? Or read all about the creatures that live in the ocean before heading to the beach?
With our trips and corresponding themes planned out, I made a list of types of activities I thought each unit should have. For each theme, my goal was to have the following:
- tons of books to read, non-fiction and fiction
- science experiments
- nature observations
- art projects
- creative snack ideas/ cooking recipes
- games for practicing literacy and math skills
- printables for printing/cutting practice
- computer games and activities
- and most importantly- the field trip!
I also raided the dollar stores and dollar bins at stores like Target, Jo-Anns and Michaels for extra fun little activities like dinosaur eggs and butterfly puzzles. These containers help organize those little extras and supplies for each theme's activities. Plus they keep them hidden from the girls so I can surprise them later with them.
And much to Mr.Cabin and my mailman's chagrin, Amazon is my new best friend and I cannot wait to read all of these new books with the girls. We've been reading to the girls everyday since they were born but most of our books are fiction. Its been fun beefing up our non-fiction. I can't wait to see all the new things they are going to learn.
Even though I tried to plan most of our activities out, one last priority is flexibility. I want to stay open to where the girls' natural curiousity and wonders will take us. Bottom line is I want them to love learning and understand that learning is a life-long process that will never stop. Of all the gifts we wish to bestow upon our children- knowledge is one of the most precious.
I hope this will be a summer very well spent.
Stayed tuned...we're starting off with a dino-mite adventure!
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