Keep The Learning Going This Summer
How many times have you heard “Mom, I’m bored…” this summer? It seems that the anticipation of summer break is oftentimes the best of times, and once the kids are at home without their friends – the boredom sets in. Here are some smart strategies from the staff at Greatschools.com to keep the learning going this summer:
Summer vacation can be either a learning wasteland or a learning paradise. The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games, but with a little ingenuity and planning, the summer can be transformed into a time to stretch the mind, explore new hobbies, learn about responsibility and build on skills learned during the school year.
Keep the Learning Going
Teachers spend an average of four to eight weeks every fall reviewing and reteaching material that students have forgotten during the long summer break. Many students lose the equivalent of one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer and do not score as well on standardized tests as students who continue to learn during the summer. The effect is cumulative: Each summer a student isn’t learning adds up and can have a long-term impact on overall performance in school.
That doesn’t mean that children should be doing math worksheets and studying vocabulary lists to preserve the skills they have learned during the school year. Summer is the perfect time for children to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere. “You don’t want your kids to think that learning is only something that happens in places called schools,” says Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. “Rather, you want them to grasp that learning is fun and can go on all the time, anytime, anywhere, with handy materials, not only based on the instruction of an actual schoolteacher. The summer is a great unstructured mass of time to try out new things and explore interests that don’t necessarily fit into the school curriculum.”
Learning can take place whether you are taking a trip to a far-off place or spending the summer in your own neighborhood. But be careful not to over-plan. “To avoid boredom, a child has to learn to be motivated on his or her own, to a certain extent, and that is an acquired skill,” says Perry. “If every time your child says, ‘I’m bored,’ you step in with a quick solution, they’ll never learn to develop their own resources. But do provide some options. Just don’t try to instill learning. That’s not how it works.”
10 Fun Summer Learning Activities
Here are some activities to get your child started on a summer of learning fun:
Grow the biggest zucchini in your neighborhood
What better way to learn the basics of science and how things grow than to plant your own garden? You can start with seeds or small plants. Talk about what plants need to be hardy: air, water, sunlight and nutrients. Vegetables are especially fun and educational to plant because your child will learn where food comes from and will also get to eat the end product.
Clip, paste and write about your family adventures
A family vacation is a perfect opportunity to create a trip scrapbook that will be a lasting souvenir of family adventures. Collect postcards, brochures and menus from restaurants and tourist attractions. Encourage your child to write descriptions of the places you visited and tell stories about your family’s escapades. Or suggest a scrapbook on your child’s favorite sports team or a chronicle of his year in school. The scrapbook might contain photos with captions, newspaper clippings or school mementos.
Many photo-sharing Web sites, such as Shutterfly or KodakGallery, will help you (for a fee) create professional quality photo books, where you arrange the photos and write captions.
Young children can make their own puppet theater. Begin by cutting off the finger-ends of old gloves. Draw faces on these fingers with felt tip markers and glue on yarn for hair. Or glue on felt strips to create cat, dog or other animal faces. Then your child can create a story that the finger puppets can act out. For older children, find books containing play scripts for young people (see “Helpful Books” sidebar)and encourage your child and friends to create their own neighborhood theater. They can plan a performance, make a simple stage at the park or on the steps of someone’s home, create playbills and sell tickets.
Make chocolate mousse or build a bird feeder
Toy stores and craft shops are full of kits for making things, from bird feeders to model airplanes to mosaic tableaux. These projects teach children to read and follow directions, and offer the added benefit of creating a finished product. Science experiment books encourage children to observe and ask questions while providing hours of hands-on fun using scientific concepts.
What child wouldn’t be inspired to bake cookies or make chocolate mousse? A cookbook geared for children is a good place to start. Ethnic cookbooks provide an excellent way to explore the food of other cultures, and open up conversations about how people do things differently in other parts of the world. Children are much more likely to eat something strange if they make it themselves.
Paint the picket fence, baby-sit or volunteer at a soup kitchen
Even young children can learn to be responsible by helping to set the table, take care of a pet, clean out a closet, wash the car or paint the picket fence. Ask your child to be your energy consultant and help find ways to conserve energy in your house. Outside summer jobs and community service help children learn to be punctual, follow directions and serve others.
Become the family’s junior travel agent
Half the fun of a trip starts before you get there. Involve your child in the planning by practicing how to use a map to find cities and tourist attractions, and how to estimate distances. If you are driving, work with your child to figure out how many gallons of gas it will take to get there and estimate the cost. If you are flying or traveling by train, check travel schedules and costs.
Research your destination in books and on the Internet. If you are going to a different state, look up information about the state, such as the state flower, state bird and interesting attractions. Have your child write to the state tourism bureau to ask for information.
Visit a jelly bean factory or a glassblowing studio
Whether you are going on a trip far away or staying close to home, seek out places where children can learn how things are made. In San Francisco, you can visit a teddy bear factory; in Arkansas, a glass blowing studio; and in Hawaii, a macadamia nut factory. To learn about some of these options, see our “Helpful Books” tips on this page.
Turn a museum trip into a treasure hunt
Get your children excited about visiting a museum by exploring the museum’s Web site and taking a virtual tour. When you go to a museum, take into account short attention spans and don’t try to cover a whole museum in one day. To make them less intimidating, start in the gift shop and let your child pick out some postcards of paintings or objects on display. Turn your museum trip into a treasure hunt by trying to find those paintings or objects in the museum. Look for interactive exhibits and for periods of history that your child has studied in school.
Get stickers, tattoos and comics for free
Composing a letter helps build writing skills and can be especially rewarding when your child gets a reply in the form of a cool free item. The book, Free Things for Kids, suggests more than 300 places you can write to get such items as stickers, temporary tattoos, comic books, magazines and sports memorabilia. Some of the items cost a dollar or less, but the majority are free. The author has been writing about “free stuff” for years and is considered an expert in the field. The book, updated annually, also includes Web sites to check out for free downloadable software, ezines or other items to send for by mail.
You can help your older child build citizenship skills as well as practice his writing by encouraging him to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or a local government official about an issue he is concerned about, such as building a bike path or renovating a local playground.
Become an investment guru or a math wizard
Summer is the perfect time for older children and teens to learn about the stock market and the value of investing. A good way to get started is to investigate publicly held companies that teens are familiar with, such as Apple Computer, eBay, Nike or Tootsie Roll. The Motley Fool “Teens and Money” Web site is devoted to helping teens learn about saving and investing. Your older child might also want to join a Junior Investor program to learn more about the stock market. It is also possible to help your teen get a head start on high school math by doing math puzzles.
Now that you’ve got a list of things to do – and half the summer is left to conquer these ideas – it’s time to gather the kids AND their friends and have some fun while learning!
7 Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe At The Beach
This article was written by Patrick Quinn, Writer and co-founder of Life of Dad, the Social Network for Fathers
Patrick is an experienced lifeguard with great life experience in the perils of families in danger at the oceanfront.
Take a moment to review this very informative article for your families safety for this summer and all of those ahead:
When you go to the beach (or anywhere) with your kids, YOU are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to their safety. Gone are the days when the beach meant that you can sit in a chair and read a book, or take a nice nap in the sun. You now have to be constantly on guard. If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. If your child is in the water, you should be ankle-deep right behind them at the absolute minimum. A 10-second glance away could be all it takes. Consider the lifeguards a final option when all you have done to keep them safe has failed. Do not rely on them or anyone else when it comes to the safety of your kiddos.
Here is a list of things to run through before you head to big blue with the kids:
- Know your swimming limitations. Please take note that I’m not saying “DISCOVER your limitations.” If you think the water might be too rough for you, then I assure you that you are right. Err on the side of caution always. Don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation, especially when you are with your kids.
- Be especially cautious in unfamiliar waters. By most standards, I am an excellent swimmer. However, new bodies of water present new challenges that I might not know about and don’t want to discover when I’m in it. Always investigate the place you’re entering first. Ask locals, scope out potential problems and stay out if you’re unsure. If it’s a hot day and you see a delightful-looking area of water that is free of other swimmers, assume there is a reason for it. There might be a riptide, polluted waters or it might be off-limits for some other reason you are not aware of.
- Recognize a Riptide. Riptides (sometimes called “undertows”) are channels of water that flow from the beach out to sea. You have all of these waves coming in and they have to go back out to sea somewhere. The water is pushed to the side by the waves that are behind it until it finds an exit. This is usually in a spot that’s deeper than the surrounding areas and when the water rushes out, it forms a channel and makes it even deeper. Take a second to watch the water before you go in. Is there a section of the beach where the waves just aren’t breaking? Does the whitewater that’s rolling in mysteriously disappear in a section? That is the deeper water. Waves break where the water gets shallow. If they aren’t breaking, it’s deeper there and you should move your kids somewhere well away from it because chances are, that’s the spot that’s pulling out to sea. What looks to you like the most serene patch of water can very well be the most dangerous. Also, don’t swim very close to jetties or piers. Riptides often form next to them as water is forced out to sea.
- Know how to get out of a riptide. Riptides can be very scary if you’re in one. You swim and swim and swim towards shore, but either make no progress, or get farther and farther away. If you’ve never been in a riptide, imagine swimming to the end riptide-diagram of your pool, only you’re swimming uphill and the water is pushing you back. There is a very simple solution to this. Swim parallel to the shore, not towards it. The riptide might only be a few yards wide. Once you’re out of it, getting to shore will be relatively easy again.
- Talk to the lifeguards before you go in. This is a surprisingly simple thing to do that most people overlook. When it comes to the ocean, they know more than you might ever know. They are the experts and you should respect that. Ask them where the safest place is for you and the kids. Have them point out dangerous spots (they’ll know where they are and where they form with changing tides). If you’re not a strong swimmer, let them know and ask them to keep a particular eye out for your children. If you show them that you are making an effort, they will make an effort for you as well.
- Recognize when someone is in trouble. When someone is in desperate need of help, they cannot call out, they cannot scream. They simply go under. I’ll leave this quote from it here: “Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”
- Assign a guardian when you are away. There are obviously going to be times that you can’t watch the kids. You might have to go to the bathroom or feed a parking meter. A mistake that many people (especially those in groups) make is assuming someone else is watching the kids. They are there with eight other adults, so someone is looking out while you’re away, right?? The problem that arises is that every other parent is also assuming someone else has their eyes on your kids. When you need to leave, assign someone specific to watch your children. Tell them “You are in charge of them until I come back. DO NOT STOP WATCHING THEM UNTIL THEN.” Be firm about it. If you don’t give someone this responsibility, you can’t assume that someone is going to just naturally take over.
So please take caution this summer. Watch your kids at the beach, at the pool, heck, even near the mall fountain. Once you know what to look for and what to look out for, you can spend time on the beach passing that knowledge on to your children. They will be safe while you’re with them and armed with the lessons you give them, they’ll be safe in the future when they are on their own.
Love You To Pieces
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14th this year. You’ve got an audience of one to create for and little kids (and big ones too) love to surprise their special someone with a gift that is straight from the heart. Mother’s Day poems and hand-made cards are gifts that she will always treasure from such little hands. Take a look at this very simple card that can be made from items that you have on hand in your home:
Love You To Pieces!
Card For Mom
Create a card that is adorable and super simple. This easy craft can be created by preschoolers with a little help from an older sibling. This simple design sends a clear and colorful message using construction paper, glue stick and a marker/pen. Everyone has these materials on hand so this is a simple and fun activity.
- 1 sheet white or light colored construction paper – folded into a trifold
- 2-3 sheets of colorful construction paper – torn into small pieces
- glue stick
- crayon, marker or pen
Step 1: Fold the light colored construction paper into a trifold (as seen in picture above).
Step 2: Write a message to Mom with a heart, flowers, or a drawing of yourself on the folded paper.
Step 3: Using the torn construction paper and glue stick – decorate the card in the most creative way!
Step 4: Sign your name…and give it to your mom on that special day!
Sign Up For Summer Camp 2017
Summer vacation for kids doesn’t mean that learning has to stop…it just means that learning gets a big more FUN!
At Apple Tree Learning Center we pride our self on our always new and creative summer camp curriculum that is designed for all ages. The weekly camp themes provide the campers with learning, social interaction, and a confidence that will launch them into a successful school year at summer’s end.
If you are looking for a Summer Camp home for your child, contact the center nearest you to learn more about Apple Tree Learning Center’s 2017 Summer Camp!
How To Choose The Best Child Care For YOUR Family
Child care is an important foundation for your child’s future and ultimate success in life. Every family should make their choice for their child with great care. research, and an open conversation – as partners – with those providers that they are considering. Your choice for child care needs to offer children a stimulating, nurturing environment which will help prepare them for school and to reach their potential. The partners in child care that you choose will play a key role in achieving the well-being and healthy development of your children.
Here are a few things you should look for in learning environment for your child:
- Laughing, reading and talking which builds language skills.
- A comfortable place where your child can explore and learn.
- Teachers learning new ways to help your child succeed.
- A safe, healthy and exciting place.
- Music, art, science and play activities that increase school readiness.
- Your child feeling good about himself or herself.
- Family involvement.
- Teachers that listen to children and parents.
- Children having fun together and being respectful of each other.
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself once you have visited a child care center:
- Which child care should I choose so that my child will be happy and grow?
- Which center can meet any special accommodations for my child?
- Are the teacher’s values compatible with my family’s values?
- Is the child care available and affordable according to my family’s needs and resources?
- Do I feel good about my decision?
Your child’s Early Education is critical to his or her development and future success in school and life. Apple Tee Learning Center sets requirements for early childhood educators to promote the best learning environment and safest setting possible for your child. We love our Apple Tree families and look forward to welcoming new members in the weeks to come!
How To Help Kids Love Learning
Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
It’s well known that Einstein was never one for the classroom. While he excelled in many of his studies, school left him frustrated. He eventually dropped out of school when he was fifteen. His personal value of school aside, Einstein had something beyond the book of knowledge that drove his ongoing discovery of the world. He had grit, curiosity, and a thirst for learning that drove his brilliant advances in science and mathematics.
While we know that most of us don’t have an Einstein living under our roof, we do want our kids to have that same thirst for knowledge. As parents, we hope that our kids will discover a passion within them for a lifetime love of learning.
This love of learning starts at home in the environment we create for our kids at each phase of their life. Here are a few ideas to consider as you help your own kids value their education and develop a passion for discovering something new about their world.
LET THEM ASK QUESTIONS
At some point around the age of two or three, kids will start asking “why?”—all the time. And this pretty much doesn’t stop until they learn how to Google or ask Siri and don’t need to ask you anymore. As frustrating as all the “why” questions can be at times, asking questions is a good thing. Wonder and curiosity is something built within our DNA, but it’s something that must be cultivated throughout our lives. Giving kids a chance to ask questions, and tapping into their natural sense of wonder, lets them know that questions are an important part of learning and discovery.
ENGAGE THEIR INTERESTS
Let’s be honest. Not every kid loves school or learning, especially when they struggle with certain subjects. Other times, kids simply don’t have an interest in what they are being taught. Some gravitate towards math and science, while others excel in the humanities. Play to your kids’ strengths and engage their interests. Find way to help them learn what doesn’t interest them as much by tapping into what makes them tick. All kids are wired for fun, so make it fun. When we engage their interests and play to their strengths, we encourage a life-long love of learning in an area where they might have long term success as an adult.
We once had a teacher tell us that she actually likes when kids make mistakes because it gives her insight into how they’re learning and what she needs to do to help them succeed. When kids realize everyone makes mistakes when they are learning something new, and it’s part of learning, they will begin to value the process. Kids won’t be afraid to experiment and try new things when the weight of perfection is lifted. So create a culture in your family where everyone is trying new things, and where failure is okay. Even if you don’t succeed the first time—or the tenth time—you’re learning and growing, and hopefully having some family fun along the way.
It’s hard to expect our kids to value learning if we don’t demonstrate that we value it in our own lives. Talk to your kids about what you’re discovering as you read, complete work projects, or have compelling conversations with others. Learn something new and bring your kids in on the process. Ask questions and look things up together, read books or watch TED talks together, and discuss over dinner. Make learning a regular part of your home life.
INTERACT WITH THEIR TEACHERS
Even if your kids seem to be doing well in school, reach out to their teachers. Volunteer in the classroom. Find out what your kids are learning and have meaningful conversations about school. Other than home, school is where they spend most of their time. So partner with teachers to help your kids have the best experience possible. This also builds bridges with teachers, so if something comes up that needs to addressed, you have some relational equity that will help you navigate those conversations well.
You may discover your own way of helping your kids value learning. How ever you do that, always keep the spirit of fun. Learning something new will help you become better at whatever you do. That’s something to celebrate. Help make learning enjoyable and something your kids will strive to do the rest of their lives.
Early Bird Registration Starts February 1st!
Tweet! Tweet! Calling all Appletree Learning Center families!!! Save money on next year’s school registration with this Early Bird Savings Special. Information is being sent to you with all the details. Be sure a seat is saved for your child. Offer ends on February 17th!
What Words Will They Remember?
When it comes to parenting, it can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude and control your tongue throughout the day as you handle all of the responsibilities of family life. Speaking positive words over your children is important. Your voice of encouragement and a positive outlook on finding the good out of life will instill confidence and optimism in your children at all ages.
Certainly words can become meaningless when they aren’t followed with action, but nonetheless, words have great power. You can choose to add more positive ones to your days. Coming up with a few encouraging words for kids or positive phrases to say regularly tips the scales towards the kindness you want your kids to imitate. You never know the words of encouragement from you that your kids will carry with them for years.
‘Tis The Season To Have Some Fun With Candy Canes!
Candy Canes are a staple of the holiday season.
Check out this website with a alot of fun candy cane activities to keep you and your family busy this season.
Here is one of our favorite activities from the list to get you started!
Candy Cane Scented Playdough
It’s that time of year to make candy cane scented playdough! This activity can become YOUR family’s tradition to officially start off the holiday season. Every time you and your kids make a new batch of this peppermint-scented playdough you will be amazed at how much more festive the holiday season becomes. Here are the ingredients to get you started:
-1 cup flour-¼ cup salt-½ Tbsp. vegetable oil-1 cup water-1 tsp. cream of tartar-1 Tbsp. Peppermint extract-Red food coloring
Courtesy of: http://whereimaginationgrows.com/
Secrets To Keeping Your Family Healthy This Winter
The days are short, the nights are long, and it’s beginning to chilly outside. Here’s are a few tips to ensure your family stays healthy and happy this cold and flu season.
Start Each Day With A Healthy Breakfast
It seems like everything gets a bit more difficult in the morning when it’s cold and dark outside. Don’t let the cold air keep you from whipping up a healthy breakfast for your entire family! You’ll need to bypass that sugary bowl of cereal – it just doesn’t have the kind of high-octane fuel anyone needs to make it through a demanding day. It’s smart to choose a protein-and-vitamin-packed breakfast that can be pulled off with little effort. Opt for simple, nutrition-loaded fare like eggs (keep a couple hard-boiled eggs in the ‘fridge for days you’re running late), milk, cottage cheese, whole grains, fruit, and yogurt. Want more ideas? Check out these quick-and-easy breakfast favorites.
Wash Your Hands
In case you sustain any lingering doubts, the science is in: hand washing helps ward off illness. Danish research found that kids taught proper hand washing techniques and required to wash three times a day missed 26 percent fewer school days and had 22 percent fewer illnesses than kids who weren’t trained or required to wash. Be sure to talk to your entire family, and remind them of the importance of washing their hands with soap and water – as well as using antibacterial lotion when soap is not available. Better safe that sorry!
Avoiding colds? Don’t avoid the cold.
Your parental instincts may be telling you that to keep kids healthy, you should keep them safely out of the cold. But that can mean long hours staring, inert, at a screen, which has multiple negative health implications for your child. As long as they’re dressed warmly, don’t hesitate to take a foray into the great outdoors — or even a quick jaunt to your local park. According to the National Wildlife Federation, spending time in nature offers a wealth of health benefits for kids, including helping to prevent sleep deprivation, as children need to be outside in natural daylight to regulate their internal “sleep clocks.”
Celebrate the family dinner!
If you haven’t gotten around to instituting a regular sit-down family dinner, winter is the perfect time to start a tradition of familial, cozy meals. Not convinced? Here is a great explanation of why the family meal will up your child’s happiness and healthiness quota, not to mention her GPA. Along with serving a nutritious meal, learn how you can serve up brain-enhancing conversation and make the entire dinnertime experience — from set-up to clean-up — easier for you and the kids.
Get More Zzzzz’s.
If your New Year’s resolution to make sure the kids get a good night sleep have fallen by the wayside, time to do a sleep check at your house. There’s plenty of reason to ensure your children are getting the rest they need. Researchers have found a link between sleep and cognitive abilities. One researcher found that sixth graders who lost just an hour of sleep performed at a fourth-grade level. Other studies show a link between getting enough sleep and higher grades.