Summer is Here!
Time flies when you are having fun- RIGHT! Well, that is how I felt the school year went! This year was the first for me since returning to my professional life after having children and the nine months were hard but unbelievably rewarding! I have a wonderful principal that I adore, my students were extremely ready to try new things and I felt I have gained some amazing teacher friends too! I hope you find time to relax as I am also juggling being a stay-at-home mom for the summer. My kiddos will be having fun in the sun as we live in Florida and the weather is simply amazing. So, sunscreen and bug-spray is on my weekly grocery list <haha>.
With summer here, don’t forget to keep away from the dreaded “Summer Slump”. I have younger kids so of course we practice all the basic necessary skills to build their fluency with letters, sounds, beginning sight words and numbers. However, outside of our house, I really want to make sure that they have a fun and memorable summer. My oldest will be going to Kindergarten this fall and it is really tugging on my heart that he will be in actual “school” – I just can’t believe the time has flown by like this. So, I sat down and wrote out a list of to-do things before August is here.
Below is a list of super fun things to try and are basically or almost FREE so be sure to add onto your to-do list for the next few weeks:
1. Visit your local library and have students register to get their first library card
2. Go to the Lake, Beach or Pool (don’t forget the sunscreen, a towel and your sunglasses!)
3. Check out new playgrounds and have a picnic
4. Head outside for a nature walk, bring a bag to collect found things to make impressions in clay
5. Visit an animal shelter to pet and play – donate old blankets or towels for the critters
6. Have a campfire with smores of course
7. Stargaze in the evening and look at constellations (Here are the Top 5 Constellation Apps for Android or i-Phones)
8. Tie dye t-shirts with old shirts
9. Donate gently used toys
10. Go fly a Kite
11. Make Paper Airplanes*
The Paper Airplane Challenge
This activity is predominately suitable for middle school kids but it can be modified for upper elementary because it simply is just fun to fold and create airplanes! It is a perfect STEM activity if you are looking for a more scientific approach to conducting a quick experiment but the huge PLUS is that it is practically FREE! There isn’t much material required to conduct the experiment other than three pieces of paper, scissors and a ruler to be used to construct the airplanes themselves. With my personal seventh grade classes, we used previously graded papers to re-use, re-cycle and re-duce our classroom waste. It was really fun and the students had a ball folding and messing up <haha> to then play “trashcan basketball” with the damaged airplanes. Are a few attempts each group of paired students were able to create close to perfect airplanes. The designs will be challenging for younger students but EVERYONE can make a basic plane.
After the constructing is finished, make a prediction or a hypothesis to which plane is likely to fly the farthest. Then, have kids measure their foot step to identify the ratio they will be using when the count the steps each plane flew. This is where the ruler comes into play. One person being the “counter” will take a normal step and then a partner will measure their step from tip-toe to tip-toe in inches. This ratio will be used to then calculate the average distance the planes have traveled instead of having large bulky meter sticks or tape measures. Proportions will be then brought into the data tables to cross multiply the ratios of steps to inches. The conversions use simple multiplication which don’t necessarily require calculators! Win-Win!
The Paper Airplane Challenge is fun, engaging and again practically FREE with little material required to identify which plane design will fly the farthest! A simple STEM-related activity to bring learning into your home and check off that summer to-do list!