Our daughter is entering 3rd grade in the fall. We've been hearing that 3rd grade is much more difficult than previous grades, which has us a bit worried. Our daughter has been doing well in school, but she's not an A student (she's average or slightly above average). We can't afford a tutoring program or a slew of private camps. What else can we do this summer to help her prepare for 3rd grade?
It sounds like your daughter will be fine, especially because she has you watching out for her. There are a few things you can do with her this summer that don't cost anything:
Check out the public library. Get her a library card if she doesn't have one already. Spend some time looking through the books. Have her select some she can read on her own and others you can read to her. Research shows that there is a direct link between children who read at least 30 minutes daily to doing well in school. Also encourage her to read different genres such as biographies, science, historical fiction, fantasy, etc.
Get into the kitchen. There is a lot that can be learned by cooking and you get some free help! You can have your daughter look through recipe books, make the grocery list, help you find the items at the supermarket, cook the meal, server it, and then clean up. If you are having a family gathering and the recipe needs doubling, have her do the math to figure out the new ingredient amounts.
Go on a nature walk. Explore your backyard, neighborhood park, or anyway that is free to the public. Talk about the things you see. If she is like most kids, she will have lots of questions for you. The ones you don't know the answers to, go home and look up or the next time you are at the library, check out a book that could answer the question.
Pull out the map. It could be just a local map. Have her plan the route and then follow it. If you have a long trip planned, have her play co-pilot. She can tell you which way you go and watch for sings and landmarks.
Keep a journal. This can either be done the old fashion way with a notebook and pencil or on the computer. Just select the way she will feel more comfortable. Encourage your daughter to write down her thoughts about the adventures you have experienced. She can draw pictures, add photos, etc to accompany her writing. Have her share your stories with anyone who will listen - including grandparents, neighbors, aunts and uncles. Writing is something that will increase more as she gets older. So starting now is great practice.
Hopefully, this will spark a few ideas. Just remember that summer is also a time to play and unwind - so be sure to enjoy!