Your child wakes up on a summer day hoping to swim and play outside, only to find that it’s cloudy and raining. He instantly complains of utter boredom and resorts to planting himself on the couch and playing with just about any tech gadget he can find. Yet rainy summer days are great days for reinforcing learning and preventing the all-too-common summer slide. Try some of the ideas below.
Create a Family Book Tree
Creating a family book tree is a great way to encourage reading over the summer (especially on rainy days) and serves as a fun family activity. To make one, cut out a large tree using green and brown construction paper and hang it on a wall. Then cut out small colored circles to use as hanging tags for the tree. Every time someone in your family reads a book, that person should write their name on a tag and hang it on the tree so everyone can see the books they’ve read. Try setting up a family competition, where the person who reads the most number of books in a week (or month) and has the most number of tree tags gets to select a movie or special restaurant for the family to go to.
Rainy days are great days for fun science experiments! Trying growing crystals, an activity that will please most youngsters. It’s a fairly quick experiment too; in just a few hours, you can create fascinating crystals that your kids will enjoy touching and gazing at. To make them, stir together a half cup of Epsom salts with a half cup of hot water and one drop of food coloring in a mixing bowl. Then leave the bowl in the fridge for roughly three hours. Take them out and, alas, you have crystals! Analyze them with your child and note their shape, size, color, and any other interesting characteristics. Your child may even be motivated to learn more about crystals. If so, look up articles about crystals online or take her to the library so she can pick out books to read about them.
Play a Story Writing Game
To encourage writing over the summer, play a fun story writing game. To play, the first player draws a picture of an image on a large sheet of paper or white board, which serves as the writing prompt. Then that player writes the first line of a story on a paper and passes that page to the next player. Player 2 writes the next line of the story, player 3 writes the third line, and so on. Keep moving from one player to the next until the story is complete. For instance, if the prompt is a picture of an a zoo, player 1 might write, “My family took a trip to the zoo.” Then he’d pass the paper to player 2, who might write, “We first saw the lions and tigers when we went inside,” and the third player might write, “The tiger roared so loud that my ears hurt!” Try adding some silly sentences for some added humor. The funnier, the better!
Make a Milk Rainbow!
Making a milk rainbow is a fascinating experiment to watch and a great way to take advantage of a rainy day. To make one, pour a half cup of whole milk into a small shallow dish, then add drops of different colored food coloring. Dip a q-tip into a bowl of dish soap, then back into the milk on a spot where there’s food coloring, and watch how the colors explode in front of you! For some added knowledge, tell your child that the liquid dish soap is interacting with the fat molecules in the milk, forming the beautiful milk rainbow.
Play Board Games
When kids are stuck indoors, it’s easy to resort to electronic games. Try some “old school” board games and your child will see how much fun (and educational!) they can be. Play Scrabble to practice combining letters to form words – a great way to reinforce phonics and spelling skills. You can also play Boggle, where you shake letters on a game board, then form as many words as possible in three minutes. Bananagrams is another fun one, where players are given a series of tiles with single letters on them. They must connect letters vertically or horizontally on a flat surface to form words using the tiles. These games serve as great family time and help stimulate conversation and learning.
During the summer, rainy days are inevitable. Prevent your child’s boredom and gravitation towards mindless tech toys, and have some enjoyable family time with these indoor activities. Your child will have fun while continuing to learn, helping him to ultimately jump-start the new school year.