Summer is here, and across the land you can hear moms raising their voices to the heavens, asking that age-old question: "What am I going to do with these children all summer long?"
Despair not, mothers of the world! Summer is a time when moms can work with their children to improve reading skills, letter recognition, motor coordination and just have some old- fashioned fun! Set aside some time each day, or every couple of days, for a "kids-n-crafts" time. You use this time to supplement what they've learned in school the past year or to hone their hand-eye coordination. It can also be a fantastically fun time for some bonding!
Stock Up on Supplies
Be prepared for the summer by planning well in advance. Often you can find craft supplies such as construction paper, card stock, markers, crayons, glue sticks, child-friendly scissors and colored yarn on sale during the winter months. Stockpile these items in preparation for the summer craft times.
You'll also want to save up a nice collection of stencils, patterns and lettering fonts that you can print out as needed. If you build up your assortment of design bundles and font collections by purchasing a few at a time over several months, by summer you'll have everything you need right at hand.
Crafts and Projects Ideas
There are tons of craft ideas and project suggestions for children of all ages across the internet, from written instructions to slideshows to demonstration videos. Here are some suggestions along with links to detailed instructions and a few great sources for design aids.
Giraffe collage. This is great for pre-school and kindergarten children and requires just a few simple craft supplies, including construction paper and brown paint. Your children can cut out the shapes with your assistance and make their own giraffe portrait to hang on the fridge or their bedroom door.
Paper plate frog. Another favorite project for pre-school and kindergarten children, this paper plate frog is simple to construct with lots of fun included. You'll need simple supplies like dessert-size paper plates, green paint, markers or crayons and construction paper. With your help to cut out designs, this bonding time is invaluable.
Create your own motto. This is a great project for older children. Have your child pick their own personal motto, then immortalize it into a wall hanging for the bedroom. Gather your simple supplies like colored paper and a bundle of great fonts. With glue, scissors and some personalized decorative touches, the framed result can adorn the bedroom wall for years to come -- or until your child changes mottos!
Alphabet cards. Preschool children need to learn to recognize letters, and those in kindergarten or first grade will benefit from reinforcement of what they've learned over the school year. Alphabet cards are a great way to do this. You can even make your own stickers for use with this activity (see #3 above.) Print out letters using different fonts to help the child learn different ways the same letter may look.
Summer Family Fun
These are only a few suggestions for fun crafting times with your children this summer. You can take these times to show your little ones that good times can be had without electronic devices or spending a great deal of money.
Making something can be entertaining, educational and fun -- all at the same time!