Kids need plenty of free time to explore their personal interests in the summer. Finding an English-speaking friend is probably the best summer homework your child can do. Are you worried about your child’s printing and spelling skills? Look for fun games and activities you can do with your child that won’t feel like work. Here are a few ideas to make printing practice fun.
1. Beach Sandman
This game is like Hangman, but instead of using pen and paper, use a stick and the beach!
a. Ask your child to think of an object in English. Your child may need to ask another adult or friend to help with the correct spelling.
b. Tell your child to count the amount of letters in the word. You child will then draw that number of spaces (small lines) in the sand in front of you using a stick. (This game works best in wet sand near the water’s edge.)
c. Guess one letter at a time. If you guess a letter that is not in the word, your child must write the letter in the sand and draw one part of the Sandman (a stick man) near the water’s edge. If you guess a letter that is in the word, your child must write the letter in the correct blank space.
d. Try to guess the word before the water washes over the Sandman!
2. Sugar Writing
3. Treasure Hunt
a. Tell your child to choose 3–5 household items to hide in or outside the house.
b. Have your child write the names of the items on a piece of paper so that you know what you are going to hunt for.
c. After the list is made, close your eyes so that your child can hide the items in your house or yard. (This game is fun for a rainy day indoors or a sunny day outdoors! Make sure to set some boundaries or you’ll never find the objects. Play it while camping, too.)
d. After your child hides the items, start to look for them. Check off each item as you find it so that your child understands the importance of making the list.
Optional: You can also ask your child to make some signs with hints. For example “hot” if you’re getting close to the object or “cold” if you’re moving too far away from it. Other fun hints would be “look up”, “look down”, “go left”, or “go right”. If you have older kids, help them create a treasure hunt with clues for their friends. You can get some ideas here.
4. Memory Challenge
a. Choose 5–10 items and place them in a box. (Choose familiar objects that your child will know the name of in English.)
b. Tell your child you are going to test his memory. Allow your child to look at the objects for a few minutes.
c. Place the box out of sight and have your child write down the items. If your child says he wants to shout out the items, tell him it will be easier if he writes them down so that you don’t lose track of the items. Work on the spelling together.
Take turns being the one who collects the items and the one who writes them down. If you write the words, have your child read them out. How many items can your child remember? How many can you remember?
5. Sidewalk Chalk Notes
If you have a pathway or driveway leading up to your home, encourage your child to write notes for family members or visitors using sidewalk chalk. Here are some ideas:
- a welcome note for grandparents
- a welcome home note for a working parent
- a thank-you note to the postal worker
- a weather note to Mother Nature
- a silly note for a friend or neighbor
- a note to the birds or squirrels
6. Old-Fashioned Invitations
Do you use text messaging to make plans with friends and family members? Why not ask your child to make English invitations instead? Your child can make invitations for a variety of informal summer activities, including playdates, picnics, and sleepovers, as well as more formal invitations such as birthday parties and backyard BBQs. Hand deliver the invitations and be sure to invite your English friends!
7. Summer Memory Page
Create a summer memory page with your child, and add to it regularly. Even if your child is more interested in drawing, you can have her add labels to the memories so that you don’t forget what the pictures are of. Add pictures and words from magazines, too.
Take your child to the post office to buy some stamps to keep at home. Then look for postcards from your own city or other places that you visit this summer. Challenge your child to send one English postcard a week. Make sure that your child does some of the writing. Offer to write the address if your child writes the message.
9. Grocery Lists
Next time you need to go grocery shopping, ask your child to help you make a grocery list. As you hunt through the cupboards and fridge for items you need, ask your child to write down the items that you shout out. Kids who hate going grocery shopping (like my son) may be willing to write a list if it means they won’t have to tag along on the trip. Other kids may get excited about writing the list and shopping if you allow them to write their own treat at the bottom of the list. You can also ask them to plan a meal that they want you to make. Help your child list all of the necessary ingredients. Use a special pad of paper that is only for grocery lists!
10. Play “School”
Even though it’s summer, don’t be surprised if your kids want to play “school” with their friends or toys. Your child will probably want to be the teacher. Show her how to use this simple Worksheet Maker for making printing practice sheets. Your child can write the instructions and the list of practice words. Your child’s dolls or stuffed animals will need your child’s help to fill out the worksheets.
Related on Sprout English
For over 50 printing, writing, spelling, and pronunciation lessons and worksheets, visit our Phonics Cafe! Flashcards and student certificates are also included in this section. Find this week’s Spotlight lesson in the Phonics Cafe – Book 1: M to R.
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