5 Ideas for Keeping Language Arts Skills Fresh Over Summer Break

Following on the heels of contributor Amy Anderson”s wonderful post on letter writing from Wednesday, here are five more ideas for keeping your child”s language arts skills fresh this Summer.

With a grin on her face, my eight year old declares, “Mooom, I ain”t gots nothing to do.” She does this on purpose, of course, knowing that her words will make me cringe as if she had scratched her fingernails down the chalkboard.

While I know she is speaking this way just to tease me, this does raise the issue of the potential for languishing language arts skills now that summer vacation is here.  She made such progress during the last school year, and I don”t want to see those skills fade over the break before school begins this fall.

Seeking to keep our language arts skills fresh and ready for the school year ahead, I”ve been making sure that certain activities and grammar exercises have been a part of our summer time fun.

Perhaps a few of these will be a hit with your little scribes as well.

1. Mad Libs

One of our favorite games for grammar and parts of speech review is Mad Libs. These books are available in a wide range of themes. There is even an iphone app and an now as this classic game adapts to these modern times.

Playing with a pencil and paper is still our favorite way to enjoy Mad Libs, and sometimes we don”t even use an official book, but make up our own.
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Create a Letter-Writing Kit for Kids

The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let”s Explore.

Every day, my daughters excitedly walk to the mailbox and check to see if they received any letters. There is just something special about receiving a hand-written note in the mail. I love it, too!

Writing letters is a wonderful way to maintain connections with family and friends. And, letter-writing provides meaningful reading and writing practice.

To make letter-writing a regular part of our weekly routine, I put together a kit with all the supplies we need. Toddlers and preschoolers can use a kit like this alongside mom or dad, and older kids can develop independence with all the helpers and fun inspiration.

We keep our letter-writing kit in an inexpensive plastic envelope from the office supply store. I added a ribbon handle, just for fun. It”s portable, so the girls can take it to their desks, or we can throw it in the car when we”re heading out on vacation. A basket, caddy, or small suitcase would work as well.

Here is a peek at all the goodies in our letter-writing kit: [Read more…]

Straightening Out a Bumpy Day

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck. Portions of this article originally appeared in April 2010.

Having a bumpy day is what my swim coach used to call a very bad day. You know the ones: the days that start out a little tense and slide right down into miserable before we know exactly what went wrong. The days where all  the roads seems uphill and covered in potholes all day long.

When our kids our younger, these bumpy times can often be straightened out with a quick hug, a cuddle, and a bit of sympathy before the tears are dried and the next, happier, moment arrives.

But, with older kids sometimes the bumpy days are a bit more complex. Friends disagree, siblings fight, feelings get hurt.  Maybe something happened that made them feel angry or embarrassed.  Perhaps your child doesn’t even know why she is upset, she just is.

Growing up isn’t easy, a fact we parents can be guilty of forgetting.

However, there are some ways a parent can try to help straighten out a bumpy day and offer some moral support to our big kids, too.

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Let's Talk: Kids and Community – How Will Your Kids Be Involved this Summer?

The following post originally appeared in May 2010. With Summer just around the corner, and many of us making plans for the warmers months, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the concept of getting our kids involved in our local communities. The comments are open for discussion. – Kara

We live in a computer age, and for some aspects of that I am thankful.  I feel lucky to be able to contribute as a member of the blogging communities, message forums, and email loops I am a part of.  I enjoy connecting with other parents through Facebook and Twitter. But what about my local community?

Am I being as involved with my physical neighbors as my virtual ones?  I hope so.

If your climate is like mine, the warmer weather and increased free-time in the summer months make unplugging from the computer and being more active in our neighborhood communities possible.  The joke in my rural Indiana neighborhood is that as the snow melts we can all remember what our neighbors look like again without all those hats and scarves and giant parkas.

My kids and I already have plans for being active in our local community this summer, including:

  • Visiting the weekly Farmer”s Market
  • Enrolling in the library”s Summer reading program
  • Taking swim lessons
  • Participating in our neighborhood yard sale
  • The

But I”ve been feeling convicted to do more this summer.  I”ve been pondering what it means to be a good local citizen and how to get my kids involved.

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Mother’s Day Reminders

The following is by contributor Rae Grant of My Little Hen.

I‘ve been thinking about how I want to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. I’ve been a mom now for over a decade. While I love it, and it ranks as one of the best choices I ever made in life besides marrying my husband, I do sometimes feel that I am on the merry-go-round of life. Sometimes it’s dizzying, twirling and endlessly busy. Staying at home or going to a job, making a nice dinner or ordering take out, cleaning the house or hanging out and going for a quiet walk. No matter what walk of life we are on, we moms have so many demands and choices to make!

Celebrating Mother’s Day is a great opportunity step off the merry-go-round. It’s a chance to relax and regroup about our role as caregivers and how we choose to take care of ourselves.

Moms are on the job a 24/7. This time commitment lasts for years and for some, a lifetime. As a mom, one quickly learns that our kids take top priority and many of our own personal and long-term decisions and choices end up revolving around the needs of other people. That giving is what makes women good mothers, yet it is can also be what takes the life and fire out of motherhood.

Quite frankly, it can make a soul tired.

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