Playtime Before Homework Time

Playtime Before Homework Time 300 199 admin

Ok, school may not be the same as being stuck indoors, but it can feel like that for kids. Kids need to balance brain work with physical play. After a long day at school, many kids need to get their energy out before sitting down to homework.

Several experimental studies show that school kids pay more attention to academics after they’ve had an unstructured break to play freely without adult direction.

Playtime does not need to be hours long, as researchers also found that playtime between 10-30 minutes is optimal between academic tasks.

So, break the mold!  Allow your children some time to play before sitting down to homework.

Summer Learning Ideas

Summer Learning Ideas 150 150 admin

Over the years, parents have shared how they’re working to combat summer learning loss at home with us. We’d like to share some of our favorites with you. If you’re looking to spice up your summer learning routine, try these fun, easy summer learning ideas for parents at home!

Bell Work – We continue the concept of “bell work” each morning. Simple activities that kids do while mom makes breakfast.

Create a Code – We created a code by giving numbers to letters. We wrote secret notes to each other and put them in secret spy locations only known to note writers.

Neverending Story – We choose a silly sentence to begin a story, like “On a green planet in the middle of a frozen galaxy…” Then every family member adds a few new sentences to the story. My kids could go on for hours.

Driveway Division – We do this on the driveway with chalk – all level of math drills between my 2nd grader and 5th grader. I ask what is 7×2 or what is 5+10? They have to write out the problem and solve it. We keep track of who wrote it and solved it the fastest. Fun on the driveway and kids love competition.

Quote Book – I wrote down funny things the kids said during the week. Over Sunday dinner I read the quotes and they had to guess who said it. The next week, the kids kept track of the funny things we said – plus their own silly statements!

Chalkboard Quiz – We do math drills on the big chalkboard downstairs. They each have to write the math problem as I say it and then solve it. “What is 7×7?” They like to compete and it is especially fun on a rainy day.

Consider a Summer Program – Camps offered by schools, YMCAs, universities and local groups are an affordable way to explore new opportunities.

Books, books, books – Fill your home with books. You can find a great selection of books at the library, garage sales, and thrift stores. Set up a book swap with your friends and neighbors.

Ask Questions – Encourage your child to investigate the world. Ask how he thinks the barcode works at the grocery store. Ask why she thinks her book ended the way it did. Ask what he plans on doing after lunch. Then listen!

Quiet Time – Set aside time several days a week for quiet reading and study.

Choose Educational Computer Games – The internet can be a safe place to find educational math, science and language arts games.

Keep a Schedule – Daily routines during the summer provide structure and balance.

Practice Math – Measure recipes, guess the total at the grocery store or have a math fact race. Include children in trip planning and time scheduling.

Fireworks over Saint Louis

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks Safety 425 282 admin

Fireworks are a traditional Fourth of July Activity. Look up fireworks and your city name and you are sure to find a free show nearby.

If you choose to light up your own display, know your local and state ordinances for fireworks.

And ALWAYS enjoy fireworks safely!

  • Know your fireworks; Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

Amazing Things

Amazing Things 259 194 admin

Finding safe, interesting web content can be a challenge for elementary learners.  National Geographic Kids offers all of the amazing people, places and things of the grown up version but downsized for kids.

Use the articles and activities as inspiration for a journal entry or an online vacation!


Memorial Day Summer Kick Off!

Memorial Day Summer Kick Off! 300 225 admin

Teaching the meaning of Memorial Day to your children can be a challenge.

To many Americans, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but to military families the meaning runs much deeper than a BBQ.

The simplest thing you can do is to explain that Monday is a day set aside to honor those who died in military service.  Many families choose to celebrate the holiday by displaying patriotic decorations or thanking current service members.

This weekend, to kick off summer AND celebrate the meaning of Memorial, try one of these activities…

  • Send a card or letter to soldiers through A Million Thanks at 17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355, Villa Park, CA 92861
  • Create a Memorial Day craft using ideas pinned on the Fun Activities for Kids board at www.pinterest.com/thinkstretch
  • “Plant” flags on a lawn, in a cemetery, or anywhere you have permission!

Get to Know ThinkStretch!

Get to Know ThinkStretch! 150 150 admin

Maybe you’re looking for something for your son or daughter to do over the summer months. Maybe you’re looking for a way to keep your child up to speed during the long break between two grades. If that is the case, you’re in the right place!

ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program exists to help your students transition from one grade to the next without losing valuable skills. ThinkStretch isn’t all drills and exercises like some workbooks, though – the ThinkStretch program encourages your student to learn through experiences and experiments, through conversations and creations. Unlike other programs, ThinkStretch is fun!