My three-year-old daughter wants so badly to go to pre-school next year. She was sooooooo excited when the pre-school screening rolled around. She had her outfit laid out the night before. I had to fix her hair so she looked like a “big girl.” She even packed a backpack in the event that they asked her to start immediately.
So cute! Right? That’s what I thought. Keep reading….
Not only did she fail her pre-school screening, I think she may be banned from attending any pre-school in our district (and quite possibly the surrounding ones). Though she started off strong with the speech therapist, things started to go south fast when her brother’s screening began and she started showing off for him. (At least that’s what I tell myself to numb the pain.)
She made a run for it (literally) when the vision test started and answered “poop” to every single question that the extremely patient screener asked. I thought I had things back under control after I dragged her (again literally) into the hall and threatened her profusely. She quietly re-entered the room and went to the table where her brother was still being screened and swept all of the teaching materials onto the floor and sealed the deal by blowing a giant raspberry in the teacher’s face.
Needless to say, my son was handed a note stating that he was successfully screened and happily got to choose a book to take home. My daughter got nothing! And, I got more than one of those pitiful “glad that’s not my kid” looks.
So homeschooling it is! (Well, at least for the summer.)
My go-to tool for summer STEM (or STEAM) activities is sidewalk chalk. There are so many ways to have fun and keep kids thinking and moving, using this one simple (and cheap) material. Here are a few of my kids’ favorites..!
This Activity Can Help to Enhance:
– Counting Skills
– Number Recognition
– Sensory Development
– Art Skills/Color Theory
– Spacial Reasoning
– Dimensional Thinking
– Fine Motor Skills
– Observation Skills
– Coordination and muscle development
COST: Practically Free
– Sidewalk Chalk or Homemade Ice Chalk
– Flashcards (homemade or store bought; playing cards work too)
1. Draw a giant dot-to-dot and have them connect the dots. Simple designs are perfect for younger kids and help to teach shape recognition (square, triangle, star).
2. Draw two of each number on pavement or stepping stones. Either call out the name of a number or hold up a flash card and have them jump to the number that matches the card. This is a fun way for little kids to work on number recognition and a great way for older kids to practice their arithmetic, using the appropriate flashcards for their current math level. (TIP: This same activity is great for kids learning the alphabet. You can also draw the first letter of their names and have them find it and use it for their “home spot”.)
3. Draw a number line with positive and negative integers (… -7, -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 5…) and play an addition and subtraction hopping game. For plus they hop to the right toward the positive numbers and for minus that hop to the left, toward the negative numbers. This is the BEST way to introduce kids to addition and subtraction and the integer zero. It will help them to visualize the concept and will stick with them when integers come back to haunt them in middle and high school.
4. Draw a large clock out of chalk and work on telling time. Have your kids use their arms as the little hand and legs as the big hand. (TIP: Building a clock is also a fun sandy beach activity! Draw a clock in the sand and have the kids gather 1 shell or rock to mark the “1” spot, 2 for “2” and so on…)
ACTIVITY ENHANCEMENT IDEA: For further sensory enrichment, mix up a batch of Ice Chalk! It is a super fun way for kids to cool down on a hot summer day.
ICE CHALK RECIPE:
– ½ cup of water
– ¼ cup cornstarch
– ¼ cup baking soda
– a few drops of desired food coloring (or Kool-Aid)
Just mix ingredients in a bowl or easy-pour pitcher. Fill freezable container such as ice cube tray or popsicle molds. And, place in freezer until solid. TIP: Start with primary color, such as red, so you can add yellow to make orange, and avoid the step of rinsing the bowl between some of the colors.
READ ALL ABOUT IT:
Numbers 0 – 25 Flash Cards
Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, & Ha Ha Ha: A Rulebook of Children’s Games, by Jack Macguire
Chalk, by Bill Thomson
Sidewalk Art & Games, by Andrea Labat
Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson