Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fun AND Educational? Complete with photos!

I have been searching around for a long time, trying to find summer bridge activities for the kids that are also a) fun and b) not so easy that they're barely worth doing. I've found some of the readily-available versions, like the ones actually *called* Summer Bridge, and another set called Summer Smarts, but they didn't look terribly fun, and didn't have exercises for every day, which to me doesn't seem like it's establishing a good enough routine. The SB book in particular only had fifteen worksheets in each of three subjects, divided into sections, and they were standard, rote reading and math stuff. Bor-ring. Plus, the initial days were so easy that about half of the book would be a waste. I mean, if your kid has completed kindergarten but is at a risk of forgetting how to count, you're in a dire situation that needs more than a workbook.

What I found, finally, at Barnes and Noble, were these:

I love these! There are two books for each rising grade, one with pages marked with daily activities and another with just fun sheets for them to do. I think what I like best about them is that the topics they cover are varied, like there's math, but also weather and geography and storytelling.

For instance, a few days into the book, rising first grade has this as an activity:

simple alphabetizing and adding the last letter to words, plus suggestions for things to do on your own if you want a challenge

While rising fifth graders get this:
synonyms using hinky pinks and money math

They're different kinds of activities, and are more like a game in a lot of instances, which make the kids more willing to do them. Patrick actually asked if he could do MORE than his two sheets (1 day = one side of a sheet from each book). They're the perfect solution for him, in particular, since he's so far above grade level in reading and math, I was having a harder time figuring out what to do for his bridge activities - to get him the regular 1st grade stuff, which was too easy, or second grade, which might be too hard at the end of the books. Each one also has a reading list suggestion section and ideas for projects you can do at the back of the book. These were about six dollars each, and you can also find them on Amazon.

I also wanted to get some new games to play to help Josie be more fluent in math. She's pretty good at it, but hates learning rote facts, and gets bored easily. I found these:

this is the back of the World Almanac box

The math war is prety self-explainatory, but the World Almanac game looks really fun! It's a box of cards with challenges on them, like the one on the back of the box that shows the pyramid with the dots: you have to use a certain set of numbers, and each side has to add up to the same total, and you can only use each number once. This particular set is for ages 9-11; there was a set for ages 5-7 at the store, but it was WAY too easy for kids going into 1st grade from what I could see, like naming colors and stuff. It seemed like it would be good for preschoolers, though. We haven't actually played with these yet, but I'm hoping to use them at dinner tonight. I really think that Patrick will be able to use them, too, if he works with one of us, and I think he might even be able to use the mult. war cards, too, because he understands the basic idea of multiplication. We do have regular math war cards, too, so we can always use those. Now that I'm looking on Amazon, I don't see this particular set on there, but I do see science ones and geography ones, which I will probably order at some point. They're $10 a box.

Finally, while we were at the store, I found this for my FIL for father's day, and I think it's hysterical:

It is SO funny. It's all about going to the doctor and thinking you're OK and ending up with all these tests and medications and doctors, but told in Dr. Seuss's silly way. :)


Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Taking notes for when the girls are older. I do think you forget a lot over the summer- I know I did. I am thinking now of getting Miss A some pre-school books. I hope they are very self explanatory as I am not a teacher. And the Dr. Seuss book looks like fun! I might have to steal your idea and give it to my FIL.

Kristi said...

I was actually suprised this year because Kaeli came home with 2 math workbooks from her school during the last week. She's pretty good at math, but I agree that kids forget a lot over the summer. I want her to keep practicing. I'm going to look into these! I'm also looking for a good handwriting one because good lord Kaeli's handwriting could use some work!

Cherish said...

Your posts always make me want to be a better mom. These are great suggestions

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I got those Summer Skills workbooks for my kids last year, and they LOVED them. So much that they didn't last even half the summer.

Swistle said...

I LOVE the look of those workbooks! I want to start filling them in myself!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion! Little Bear just finished kindergarten, but we have moved to a new town with BETTER schools, and I want to make sure Little Bear isn't behind when she starts first grade at the new school! I've been looking for a book just like this! I will have to pick it up!

Melissa said...

I was thinking the same Swistle, I always want to fill them out myself :D
Looks like your on the ball! I've bought books somewhat like that for Rachel it's aimed at 1-2 year olds :) I got them at the dollarstore :D Gotta love cheap educational books that kids enjoy.

creative kerfuffle said...

i might need to get something like that. i mentioned to the kids that i wanted them to read a book a week over the summer and hey, to make it fun let's start a kids' book review blog? they both frowned and said that sounded like homework. sheesh!

Hotch Potchery said...

You can play ALL kinds of Math War games with just regular cards...then you can make up fancier rules when the basic math gets too easy.