1) Vocabulary - Most any activity comes with new vocabulary for a child to learn! Pick two or three words that may be unfamiliar to them and make a point to use them over and over in different contexts. Never underestimate the words your child can learn. For example, on your family hike, point out some plant names. Discuss trees vs. bushes, talk about the parts of a flower.
2) Sequencing - Most structured activities require that you follow certain steps in a certain order. Teach your child the words "first, second, then, next, and last" while you make cookies or write letters. If you're into apps and really want to focus on this concept - check out the Pictello app.
3) Descriptions - I've worked with lots of kids who know plenty of nouns but when it comes to describing them, they would rather not. :) Discuss words like: sticky, rough, smooth, clean, wet, hot, cold, spicy, sweet, loud, etc. Make a contest to see how many words you can think of to describe something.
4) Predicting - An important skill for social language as well as reading. Ask your child questions about what will happen next: "What is going to happen when I mix these two colors?" or "What do you think might happen if we didn't put a letter on this stamp?" or "What if our boat gets really wet?" or "Those two ducks are going for the same piece of bread...what are they going to do?" Encourage guessing and see if they can start asking you questions in return.
5) Developing Schema - A less-known concept but a very important one for all parents. 'Schema' refers to the child's own database of personal experiences. It is crucial for reading comprehension, as children need to learn to make personal connections to events or places in books. If a child encounters a book about fishing, and they just recently went fishing, they will have a much better understanding of what you need to take with you, how to use a fishing pole, and how you have to sit and wait. Much of those things are not specifically mentioned in books and must then be inferred by the reader. So basically any activity you do with your child this summer is theoretically helping your child's future reading comprehension abilities. Good to know, right? :)
So here's my list: I tried to credit the ideas back to the original blogger/website so be sure to check out the links!
- Watergun Fight
- Water Balloons
- Fly a Kite
- Make cookies
- Read books
- Go on a picnic
- Go to the zoo
- Rainbow Volcanoes
- Puppet Show for Dad
- Write Letters to Family with lots of stickers
- Wash the car
- Giant Bubbles
- Marshmallows and Toothpicks
- Bug Hunt (magnifying glass and tube found at Dollar Store)
- Pillow Fights
- Run through the sprinklers
- Paperboats down the river (or even the gutter when it’s full)
- Archeology Dig (plastic dinosaurs in dirt/sand)
- Visit a farm
- Family Hike
- Learn some new songs with actions
- Mini Golf
- Make a Spotting Scope or binoculars
- Edible Bird Nests (and read "Are You My Mother" just because it's so cute)
- Go to a local splash pad
- Feed the ducks
- Play date at the park
- Get snow cones
- Cut out pictures from Sunday ads and make a collage
- Storytime at the library
- Bike Ride
- Learn some new jokes and teach them to Dad
- Popcorn and Pajama Night