If you have a child in elementary school, they have probably come home with some sort of summer packet. I’ve seen the “packet” take various forms: from a list of innovative ways to encourage reading to a dull packet of worksheets. Either way, parents and educators alike want to encourage learning outside of school and during a time that has been characterized as the “summer slide.” I hope some of the ideas on how to build a collection will inspire your family to engage in playful learning this summer. Adjust as you see fit for age and your schedule.
- Choose a topic in which your child is interested and then find a space in your home where you can place a table and don’t mind hanging things on the wall.
- Begin building your collection by visiting your local library and selecting several books.
- Find other toys and household items that you don’t mind donating to the cause.
- Use these items in a way that they can explore them with their senses, i.e. what does the flower smell like or what sound do seeds make in a bottle. Also allow them to manipulate the toys or objects so they are using they are able to discover how things work and practice their fine motor skills.
- Build a model, draw pictures and display.
- Add vocabulary words.
- Take it outside of the home and “experience” the topic, i.e. pick flowers or keep a journal of flowers you see during your day.
- Take to the community and visit a museum, local store, etc. Take pictures and post in the collection area.
- Collect, create and display together!
- Keep the collection at their height.
- When they are ready, change it up or expand on the topic, i.e. flowers – gardening – water cycle.
- Let them come and go on their own and edit along the way.
- Have fun!