10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 28, 2013 4:43 AM by Lynne Hoffman RSS

As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?

Jane Brown Master
Currently Being Moderated

Think ahead to fall: your new students are taking their seats. What stimulating summer interests and activities do you hope they will report? What prepares them best for the eotk that lies ahead in the new semester?

  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thinkfinity offers many wonderful interactives to engage students in learning during the summer.  The hands-on format of these activities makes children think they are playing games so they are learning while having fun!


    Alphabet Organizer The Alphabet Organizer enables children to create a calendar-style ABC  chart or letter pages for an alphabet book. Younger children can print  the letter pages and draw pictures of things that start with each  letter.


    Comic Creator The Comic Creator invites children to design their own comic  strips. Their creations can be just for fun or as part of more  structural learning activities: planning writing activities, before- and  after-reading activities, and responding to books.


    Crossword Puzzles Children can solve ready-made puzzles designed around  grade-appropriate topics. Solving a crossword puzzle can teach new  words, the meanings of those words, and how to spell them. They also can  jump into the driver's seat and create their own puzzles.


    Student Interactives Browse thousands of student interactive games by grade level and subject  area and watch your child get excited


    Fractured Fairy Tales This interactive tool gives children a choice of three fairy tales to  read. They are then guided to choose a variety of changes, which they  use to compose a fractured fairy tale to print off and illustrate.


    Zap Great game for all ages that tests one's audio and visual skills.


    No Where to Hide In this activity, there are green and orange  bugs (analogous to the moths in England) that live in green leafy trees.  As in real life, birds eat these bugs—usually the ones they can see the  best. Located close to the bugs is a factory that spews out pollution  that turns the trees orange. This affects how well the birds can see the  different colored bugs, thereby impacting the survival of the bugs.


    Monster Bugs and other Scholastic Games There are drawers  full of bug parts in the Friz's lab!  Put the parts back together to  create bugs found in nature OR create new bugs of your own!


    Number Cruncher This Science NetLinks interactive challenges  students to consider mathematical equations to get from one number to  another in a math maze.  (might be a little advanced for age 7)


    A Touch of Class This is an interactive activity in which  students classify various plants and animals, including organisms such  as a frog, jellyfish, venus flytrap, bat, human, and seaweed.


    Lunar Cycle 2:  The Challenge The primary component of this tool is an online  activity in which students "drag" moons to their correct places in lunar  cycles.


    I hope some of the interactives from Thinkfinity will provide fun and education for your children.


    Lynne Hoffman

    Verizon Thinkfinity Community Host

    • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
      snituama Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Here is a sampling of Projects from EDSITEment's parent agency, The National Endowment for the Humanities.  These NEH Connections are sure to be a hit with both the parents and kids!  Topics cover the US as well as World Culture and History!  Note that many have EDSITEment related resources available under EDSITEment Connections. 

      A link to the NEH Educational Game resources can be found here: http://edsitement.neh.gov/neh-connections/databases-educational-gaming  with interactives sure to keep young minds engaged! 

      Shelley, EDSITEment


      Websites for Teachers and Learners


      Teaching the Middle East

      Scholars from the University of Chicago developed, and master teachers tested, this resource to provide an overview of Middle Eastern cultures and their contributions to the world.


      NEH News Archive


      An archive of recent NEH Projects and Events in the NEWS



      U.S. State and Territory Online Encyclopedias


        This collection of free, authoritative source information about the history, politics, geography, and culture of some of the states and the territories.



      Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives


      Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives aims to inspire people to come together to read, see, and think about classical literature and how it continues to influence and invigorate American cultural life.


      View EDSITEment Connections


      Crafting Freedom Materials


      Crafting Freedom Materials is a comprehensive NEH-funded resource on the African-American experience during the antebellum period. For teachers of social studies, language arts, and other humanities subjects.


      View EDSITEment Connections


      Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible


      The words of the King James Bible ring out today in books, poems, popular songs, speeches, and sermons. Visit Manifold Greatness for the story of one of the most widely read books in the English language.


      View EDSITEment Connections




      Virtual_Oaxaca is a virtual representation of Oaxaca, the city, surrounding archeological sites, and arts communities. Created by teachers in an NEH-funded Summer Institute. Plan a lesson, watch a video, and peek at Oaxaca on Second Life. More to come!



      Great Chicago Stories


      Read historical fiction stories that illuminate Chicago's past. Use the Interactive History Map to look closer at artifacts from the collection of the Chicago History Museum and to explore locations throughout the city from each story. Build further on your experience with classroom activities.


      View EDSITEment Connections


      Picturing U.S. History


      Picturing United States History, an NEH-funded project is based on the belief that visual materials are vital to understanding the American past. The website provides online "Lessons in Looking," a guide to Web resources, forums, essays, reviews, and classroom activities to help teachers incorporate visual evidence into the classroom. The site also serves as a clearing house for incorporating visual documents into their U.S. history, American studies, literature, and other humanities courses.


      View EDSITEment Connections


      Natural Law, Natural Rights, and The Constitution


      NEH funded online archive of educational resources on the history of natural law, natural rights and American Constitutionalism designed and written by scholars associated with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.



      Remembering 9/11: NEH Archive


      The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) marked the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th with a series of events and opportunities for remembrance and reflection across the country.



      Making the Wright Connection


      Making The Wright Connection is an online community of, and clearinghouse for, scholars and teachers of the works of Richard Wright (1908-1960), the author of such major works as Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, and Black Boy. Website includes podcasts of lectures by some of the world’s foremost scholars of Wright.



      Indians of the Midwest


      This site highlights recent research of scholars who have provided new insights about the cultures and histories of Indian peoples in the Midwest.


      View EDSITEment Connections


      Literatures, Religions, and Arts of the Himalayan Regions


      The products of this NEH-funded Summer Institute for School Teachers offers a wealth of curricular plans and interactive ideas for the classroom. Topics cover a variety of disciplines: history, geography, literature, religion, art, and environmental studies for every grade level.

  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    bhilferty Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    We're excited to share ReadWriteThink's Bright Ideas for Summer at http://www.readwritethink.org/bright-ideas/. These activities are designed for students advancing to grades 2 to 8 and center on many of the interactive resources students are already familiar with from ReadWriteThink.org.


    One suggestion is to have teachers model some of these summer activities in class before school breaks so that students can go home and "teach" their parents how the activities are done. Other ways to share the activities are to:

    • E-mail parents a link to the Bright Ideas for Summer page.
    • Print the page and send it home with students as part of a summer learning packet.
    • Share a link to the page via social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
    • Post a link on your class website.


    The activities suggest that parents post their children's work in special groups designated within this community. That way, kids have the opportunity to publish their work online and feel a sense of pride! Links to the community groups are within the activities and also available on the main page. 


    We hope to see lots of student writing this summer! Please help us spread the word to teachers and parents. And let us know if you have any questions.

    Bridget Hilferty


    Executive Editor, ReadWriteThink.org

    International Reading Association


  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    rstockda New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Science NetLinks is happy to share its collection of Summer Science Fun activities. We suggest books to capture the attention of readers of every age. We offer computer games and activities to fill rainy afternoons or days when going outside just isn't an option. And we propose hands-on activities that kids will find fun and that will teach them about the science that surrounds them in the everyday world.



  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    mabell New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    I would add the use of www.wonderopolis.org to these great suggestions. Wonderopolis is a "living" resource, meaning it is new and fresh each and every day. This could be a fun way to start every day--whetting children's natural curiosity. Or make the Wonder topic a center for dinner-time conversation. If today's topic isn't to your liking, browse the toolbar for topics to your liking or use the search engine to find something more specific. And there will absolutely be something new to check out tomorrow. 


    Teachers might want to provide suggestions for ways parents can use Wonderopolis. Take the list of vocabulary words and select one or more to try and use multiple times throughout the day--according to experts, you have to use a word 30+ times to actually "own" it. Every Wonder has suggested activities for kids and parents to "Try It Out" in some fun and interesting way. And there is always a link to a great parallel Thinkfinity resource from partners such as Science NetLinks, National Geographic, EDSITEment, Illuminations or ReadWriteThink.

  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    mintjello New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    This is a great list. I would humbly add my own site, the Thinking Skills Club (http://kids.thinkingskillsclub.com) as a worthwhile summer activity, especially if they're going to be playing computer games anyway.


    I'm a Cognitive Science student at U of Toronto and an instructional designer... I've gathered online games that can also support development of specific mental skills and organized them into a kind of cognitive curriculum (so that kids don't just play the games they're good at!). These are fun games, I don't allow any boring games on the site (nor violent, nor sexist/racist), i.e., games kids will want to play. To be sure of this, I run an after school club at my sons' school (8 and 11) to test them (well, a couple of the memory ones are kind of boring, to be honest, but other memory games (e.g., Penguin Diner 2) are favorites).


    For instance, a very good friend of mine had a daughter in Gifted, but at 9 yrs old she was still a slow reader. My friend had done everything possible re: therapies and testing; she was insistent that it wasn't a phonological problem (separating sounds) and told me there was just one test she did really poorly on - I mean really poorly - and that was the RAN test (random automatized naming), which is very simple test where the child reads a row of numbers (or letters, there are two tests) and is timed. I did some research and found that in these cases, visual processing (and possibly audio) was impaired by an infinitisimal amount, like hundredths of seconds, something only revealed in reaction time studies, but it was a kind of stumbling block that made a huge difference. I found an online game - Up Beat - in which visual and audio responses need to be fast and coordinated, based on music - very similar to Guitar Hero, if you know that - and told her to ask her daughter to play it as much as she could over the summer. Fortunately, she loves music (plays piano) and played it for many hours. A few months into the next school year I called to see if there was any progress with reading, and my friend said (to my astonishment and delight!) that her problems had been cut by about half, and she was reading for pleasure for the first time. Now, it may have been a natural development, who knows, but I must say I was  encouraged that such games could be effective.


    Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to give you a perspective on what it's all about, and why I'm excited about this approach. I've love to get comments from this group.


    Mitch www.thinkingskillsclub.com

  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    alsachs New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Personally I think one of the most important things you can do is keep your child reading over the summer. It's unrealistic to assume a child is going to want to spend their summer studying or visiting museums, but reading doesn't have to be purely educational. Try to get his/her attention by something that interests them. Is he a baseball player? Buy him a book about the history of the MLB or the biography of his favorite player. Is she into fashion? Get her a subscription to a fashion magazine! One of my highest recommendations is to try to get them into comic books. I've read about them being used to help get low level readers interested in reading. It may not be as "academic" as you hope but getting them to read for pleasure is a huge win.

  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    mintjello New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Three big obvious items missing from this list so far:


    1. Physical activity! Healthy kids' brains and bodies are ready for learning if they get enough exercise. Sports camps, running, canoe tripping with the family, whatever.
    2. Commune with nature! There's also recent research that supports connecting with nature as being a basic human need that promotes wellness and learning readiness. Go to the cottage, hike the Bruce Trail, or bike the Leslie Spit are a few options.
    3. PLAY! Play is great for developing and maintaining cognitive connections. Make sure they have free time (even if you have to force the controller out of their wee hands) to explore their minds, preferably with playmates who can surprise them.




  • Re: As an educator, what would you recommend to a parent to keep their children engaged in learning activities over the summer?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Common Sense Media just posted a list of 25 Cool Things Kids Can Learn Online (for Free!) that includes links, videos, and instructions for family fun projects!  (June 21, 2013)


    Which ones do you think your children will enjoy the most?  Have fun!

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