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

By — U.S. Department of Education
Updated on Jul 2, 2010

Math Activities

Laundry Math--Sharpen skills by doing a necessary household job. Ask your youngster to sort laundry--before or after washing. How many socks? How many sheets? And you may find a lost sock as well.

Napkin Fractions--Make fractions fun. Fold paper towels or napkins into large and small fractions. Start with halves and move to eighths and sixteenths. Use magic markers to label the fractions.

Weigh Me--Teach estimating skills. Ask your children to guess the weight of several household objects--a wastebasket, a coat, a full glass of water. Then show children how to use a scale to weigh the objects. Next, have them estimate their own weight, as well as that of other family members, and use the scale to check their guesses. Some brave parents get on the scale, too. 

Science Activities

Ice Is Nice--Improve observation and questioning skills by freezing and melting ice. Add water to an ice cube tray and set it in the freezer. Ask your child how long it will take to freeze. For variety, use different levels of water in different sections of the tray. Set ice cubes on a table. Ask your child how long they will take to melt. Why do they melt? Place the ice cubes in different areas of the room. Do they melt faster in some places than in others? Why?

Float and Sink--Encourage hypothesizing (guessing). Use several objects--soap, a dry sock, a bottle of shampoo, a wet sponge, an empty bottle. Ask your child which objects will float when dropped into water in a sink or bathtub. Then drop the objects in the water, one by one, to see what happens.

What Does It Take to Grow?--Teach cause-and-effect relationships. Use two similar, healthy plants. Ask your child to water one plant and ignore the other for a week or two, keeping both plants in the same place.

At the end of that time, ask your child to water the drooping plant. Then talk about what happened and why. Plants usually perk up with water just as children perk up with good words and smiles from parents.

Children are eager learners: they are interested in everything around them. These easy-to-do activities encourage children's active learning and those wonderful words of growing confidence, "I can do it."

Think of these as starter activities to get your ideas going. There are opportunities everywhere for teaching and learning.

Take a little time to do a lot of good!

These home learning "recipes" have been tested and developed by Dr. Dorothy Rich, author of MEGASKILLS ®, for the National Education Association. Reprinted with permission of the National Education Association and The Home and School Institute, 1994.

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