Thursday, June 13, 2013

Super Smart Summer Plan

Happy Summer, Friends!
Are you ready to have your little ones to yourself all day?!  Are you excited about all of that down time that summer brings?

I'll be honest, I was a little nervous about my summer with three little ones (ages 5 1/2, almost 3 and 4 months) all to myself all. day. long...

The relaxed schedules and the free time could be a blessing or a curse.  I could either sink or swim this summer... survive or thrive.  I desperately wanted to thrive!  I wanted to look back on this summer with fond memories and another smile wrinkle.  What I needed was a plan.  I prayed and asked the Lord to give me some creative ideas and a way to make our summer count.  I can't wait to share with you what we came up with together.

I decided to call this our Super Smart Summer.  It's not really a schedule or a curriculum.  I can't exactly call this summer school, but it has a hint of all of that.  We do activities whenever we have some down time based around a weekly theme.
Usually I lay out an activity the night before and we work on it together while baby Laney takes her morning nap.  Then we go on with our day... errands, pool, hanging out with friends or whatever, but all the while we are in the car or when we have down time I am trying to engage their imaginations.  I ask a bunch of questions about that theme and try to be strategic about fitting it in to our day.
The goal is to learn more about the world around us.  To create a love of learning I have to teach them how to question things... it's not just, "This is a carrot, it's orange." It's more like, "Why do you think God made carrots orange?  If you could be another color, what color would you want to be?  Do you think you'll turn orange if you eat something orange? What other orange things can we eat?"

We also have an incentive program that the kids love.  They can earn stickers for doing things like...

  • vacuuming
  • cleaning their room
  • collecting the trash
  • doing a worksheet
  • reading a book
  • writing a letter (to their grandparents, cousins, the troops etc.)
  • sweep the garage
  • wash the windows
  • mop the kitchen (My 5 1/2 year old LOVED this! We used a Swiffer wet jet)
  • having a good attitude
  • being quick to obey
  • practice writing numbers

When they earn a certain number of stickers they can go shopping at the "Sarah Store."  That's a really fancy diaper box full of LEGO sets, candy, balls, games, toys etc. that I bought ahead of time.  Each item has a different sticker value.  They work so hard to earn stickers and I get a clean house out of the gig... win, win!
So are you wondering what our themes are?  There are 12 weeks of summer, so our 12 themes are:
I've created a Pinterest Board with links to a lot of the activities that I've chosen and the rest have come out of my imagination.  Each week I'll try to share a brief summary of what we're up to.  When the summer is over I will link to all of these posts in the list above (so bookmark this post if you'd like to try to do this next summer.)  I'd love for you to join us.  What do you like, what needs improvement?  I want to hear your thoughts.  On to week one...

Super Smart Summer... "In the Garden" Week

-Watch a time lapse video of a plant/flower

-Pick strawberries
-Visit a flower shop or nursery to learn about the parts of a flower
-Grocery store/ Farmers market to pick out new fruits and veggies

-Grow a sweet potato vine in a jar
-Plant some herbs
-Vote for Veggies- Examine, weigh and taste new veggies.  Put it in a "Like" or "Don't Like" pile

-Letter Garden- Draw letters with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk.  When I call out the letter use the watering can (or spray bottle) to water that letter.
-Bean robots- glue beans on a picture of a robot

-Bean sorting activity- write out numbers using the number and the letters.  Have child glue the correct number of beans to the page.
 -Sort dried beans in an egg carton by size, shape color.
-New fruits and veggies

3 comments: said...

love it!!! :) way to go, girl!

MJ @ 517 Creations said...

LOVE this! My little guy is going off to Kindergarten in the fall (SOB!) so I want to be intentional about this last summer before school starts. I am definitely implementing some of this!! We also have a 6-month old at home, so it'll be great to do things one-on-one while the baby (hopefully) naps. :)

Sarah said...

It is laid back learning at its finest... and the nice thing is you can use a lot of the things you already have at your house! I'm so glad this plan will be helpful for you! Yay!!