If your family is like most with young children, the last several months have tested your patience. Trying to work from home while keeping your kids engaged and everyone healthy is a challenge. Fortunately, some things are opening up again in most areas. For now, here are some fun things to do with your family this summer, while also maintaining continuity with Montessori Preschool Winnetka principles.
Explore the Beach
While the City of Los Angeles has made it more difficult to enjoy the beach, you can still experience the sand and sun. Teach language by encouraging your children to distinguish between wet and dry sand, or between water and land. Math can be taught by counting the waves or using seashells as counting tools. Let your children compare the shapes of the shells with the animals that live in them, using cards. As a practical lesson, teach them to dry off properly and remove sand from their feet before getting into the car. Lastly, talk about what kinds of places have beaches, and let them explore those through world maps.
Have Fun in the Garden
One thing the city can never close is access to gardening. Consider planting some flower pots or letting them help you in the vegetable garden. For language exercises, encourage kids to identify every color in the garden. Math can be taught by grouping plants. How many are in a row? Did you get six flowers in a pot? What if there is more than one pot? Practical skills can including weeding, watering the plants, and picking vegetables. Teach science by showing them what happens when we don’t weed or water the plants. Finally, some principles of geography can be taught by letting them observe water runoff.
Read to Your Children
Most young kids love to be read to by their parents. Maybe you could read a story about another culture to them. For instance, there are many books that tell African folk tales. Or, pick from an assortment of books that might help your child cope with the current health crisis. Language skills might include learning to express emotions. Or, they can learn to ask intelligent questions. Pull the kids in by including topic-appropriate toys like a doctor bag or set of plastic animals. Also, depending on the topic of the book you might be teaching practical skills at the same time. Just be sure and let the kids explore as you read.
Try Some Baking
If your child loves to get his or her fingers dirty, try baking with him or her. Baking is a very tactile experience, and in some ways it can be precise. Mess up the recipe, and you can end up with a hockey puck rather than bread. One thing we like about baking is that kids learn science almost in spite of themselves. Of course, producing an edible is a life skill, but so is cleaning up the mess afterwards. They’ll learn some language and math skills by having to understand something about weights and measures. Geography includes into and out of the oven, refrigerator, and mixer.
Plan a Celebration
Even for young children, this year has resulted in disappointments like missing their friends from school. Some may have even missed their friend’s birthday parties. So, you might consider throwing a “party” for the family. Let your child help plan the celebration along with you. For instance, maybe they want to have purple balloons and a clown. So, dad can dress up in a clown suit and act silly. If kids can’t come over (or you aren’t comfortable with that yet), have friends check in over Zoom or Facetime. This way, you can have a huge social event while still maintaining social distancing.
Finally, present your child with a certificate showing that he or she has completed the educational activities you’ve planned for the summer. That should help make this a summer to remember in a positive way.
Little Wonders Montessori One’s goal is to develop confident, competent, self-disciplined and driven individuals, who can work cooperatively for the benefit of society.