Summer Camp guest post by Amy of Teach Mama.
It has been hot, hot, hot here in the Nation’s Capital, so aside from spending time in the comfort of our air conditioned home, we’ve been doing a lot with water lately. Washing bikes, watering flowers, running through the sprinkler or washing toys, for the last few weeks, water is a must-have in any form. And what I’ve found is that fun summer learning can be shoved in just about any part of our day, whether we’re indoors or out, slathered in sunscreen or cool in our basement.
I’ve also found that just like when you add glitter to a craft activity, my kids get nuts crazy when water and squirters are involved in play.
Here’s the super-cool skinny on how we kept cool with the ABC’s - Alphabet Letter Splash:
First, I wrote the alphabet on our fence. I wrote the uppercase letters on the top row and lowercase letters below it.
And I said, Okay, Cora, I need your help over here! Grab the squirter and make sure it’s full of water!!
She and Brady, our pooch, joined me at the fence, while Maddy and Owen checked out what we were doing.
I said, Awesome. Okay, I’ve written all of the letters of the alphabet on our fence, and I’d like for you to show me what you’ve got up there in your ole brain. Can you squirt the letters of your name? Think about what they are, then find them on the fence, and squirt those babies!
She squirted her letters–just a little–and I told her what a super job she did.
Now, I want you to totally squirt the next letters until they erase–so you’ll really need to use your muscles. Can you squirt either the letter ‘M’ or the letter ‘I’? / ‘O’ or ‘D’ / etc.
Once she did a few sets, I called for Owen to head over.
I said, Okay, Owen, I know you think you know all of the letters of the alphabet, but let’s see if you really do.
As a starter, let’s see if you can squirt the lowercase letters of your name. Ready? Go!
He squirted super-speed style, and then he looked at me like I asked him to eat an M & M.
Right on. You did that Lightning McQueen quick. Now I’m going to give you two words. You squirt the letters in whichever word you want. Okay? Squirt the letters in either the word ‘cat’ or the word ‘log’ / ‘map’ or ‘stop’ / ‘Brady’ or ‘Maddy’/ etc.
Then Maddy joined in the fun.
I said, Okay Maddy, your turn! Let’s see if you can remember some of your old spelling words. . . can you think of any that you learned this past year?
She immediately said she couldn’t (and I couldn’t either) but then I remembered. How about ‘mathematics’ or ‘chocolate’?
She squirted the letters for ‘chocolate’ and then she said, I think I just want to squirt what I want to squirt, Mom.
And that was totally cool with me.
It’s often hard for parents to squeeze in learning during the summer months, but it’s so important that we do what we can to help our kids avoid the summer learning slide that sometimes occurs in the off-time from school. Even little activities like this Alphabet Letter Splash count–they get kids talking about letters and letter sounds and thinking about how they all fit together and will help build a solid foundation for literacy learning.
And it can be done with just about anything! Try it with numbers, the names of family members, sight words, you name it–it can be squirted and kids will have a blast!
Amy Mascott is a Reading Specialist, literacy consultant, freelance writer, former high school English teacher, and mom to a crazy-cool 7, 5, and 4-year-old. She is the creator of Teach Mama, a site that paves the way for a modern lifestyle of learning, empowering parents to take a stronger role in supporting their children’s education. Amy created We Teach as a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas, and grow into better educators—no matter the classroom.