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Summer Home Learning Recipes for Parents and Children Grades K-3

By — U.S. Department of Education
Updated on Jul 2, 2010
"Parents and families are the first and most important teachers. If families teach a love of learning, it can make all the difference in the world to our children."

Richard W. Riley U.S. Secretary of Education

Educational research has made it clear that parents who are actively involved in their children's learning at home help their children become more successful learners in and out of school. During the early adolescent years, adult guidance is especially important.

Here are some reading, writing, math, and science Home Learning Recipe activities. These have been developed by the Home and School Institute. Parents of young children in prekindergarten through third grade find them to be easy and enjoyable ways to work with the school--using materials they have at home to build their children's skills.

Reading Activities

Sorting and Stacking--Teach classification skills with dinnerware. Ask your child to match and stack dishes of similar sizes and shapes. Also have your child sort flatware--forks with forks, spoons with spoons. This is like recognizing the shapes of letters and numbers.

Telephonitis --Give your child practice in reading numbers left to right by dialing a telephone. Make a list of telephone numbers your child can read--for relatives, friends, the weather bureau--and have your child make a call or two.

Let 'Em Eat Shapes--Cut bread into different shapes--rectangles, triangles, squares, circles. Make at least two of each shape. Ask your youngster to choose a pair of similar shapes, then to put jam on the first piece, and to place the second piece on top to make a sandwich. This is a snack plus a game to match shapes.

Dress Me--Increase your child's vocabulary. Teach the name of each item of clothing your child wears--shirt, blouse, sweater, sock, shoe--when your child is dressing or undressing. Also teach the body parts--head, arm, knee, foot. Then print the words on paper and ask your child to attach these papers to the clothes in the closet or drawers. Make a pattern of your child lying on a large sheet of paper. Tack it up. Ask your child to attach the words for the body parts to the right locations.

Hidden Letters--Build reading observation skills with this activity. Ask your child to look for letters of the alphabet on boxes and cans of food and household supplies. For example, find five A's or three C's, or any number of letters or combinations on cereal boxes, soup cans, bars of soap. Start with easy-to-find letters and build up to harder-to-find ones. Then have your children write the letters on paper or point out the letters on the boxes and cans. 

Writing Activities

Disappearing Letters--Promote creativity and build muscle control with a pail of water and a brush. On a warm day, take your children outside to the driveway or sidewalk and encourage them to write anything they wish. Talk about what they've written.

Comic Strip Writing--Use comic strips to help with writing. Cut apart the segments of a comic strip and ask your child to arrange them in order. Then ask your child to fill in the words of the characters (orally or in writing).

And That's the End of the Story--Improve listening skills and imagination. Read a story aloud to your child and stop before the end. Ask the child how the story will turn out. Then finish the story and discuss the ending with the child. Did it turn out the way you thought? 

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