Tuesday, April 19, 2011

End-of-school gifts

As a mom of three I am always trying to find ways for my kids to stay in touch with their classmates during the summer. I like to send little gifts that are age appropriate and somewhat educational. I never spend more than a few dollars and I always attach my childs name and phone number so a playdate is a possibility. Here is a small sampling of what we like to send.
We go through so much chalk in the summer. My kids will chalk on anything that stands still and some things that don't (i.e. the dog, themselves.)  A friend of mine created this great tag with chalk tips, just put a few pieces in a bag and you are done.
Snail's Pace
Use the sidewalk chalk to draw a big spiral in the shape of a snail's shell on the ground. In the center, draw a circle and label it "Home." Then divide the rest of the spiral into twelve spaces. Player 1 must hop on one foot and land in each space, all the way to "Home," where he can then land on both feet before turning to hop back out. If this is done without stepping on a line, he can write his initials in any space he chooses. No other player can land there for the remainder of the game. Player 2 then tries her luck at hopping to and from "Home," but must skip over the initialed space. If she succeeds, she too earns a square. The game continues in this way until no one can reach "Home." The player who earns the most spaces wins.

This is a pebble-tossing variation of tic-tac-toe. Use sidewalk chalk to create a large box on the ground with a tic-tac-toe grid inside it. Player 1 must try to toss a pebble into one of the squares. If she is successful, she marks the space with an "X." If a pebble lands on any of the grid's lines, it is a miss. Player 2 then tries to earn a square, marking his successful throw with an "O." The first player to fill three squares in a row is the winner.
Water Bottle/Squirt Gun Erase Game

Draw stars on your driveway. Have you children or two teams of children race to squirt their star off the driveway

Number Hop
Create a hopscotch area in the image of a calculator. Player 1 tosses a pebble on the "1" key and must then hop on an equation that is equal to 1, such as: =, 1, +, 0 or =, 3, -, 2. Players must hop on one foot when landing on zeros and odd numbers and hop on two feet for even numbers and symbols. Each player continues until he or she makes a mistake, like stepping on a line or an incorrect equation. The first person to correctly get through all the numbers up to 9 wins.
Shoot and Score

You will need a basketball hoop and ball for this and of course, chalk! I draw three numbers on the driveway; 2, 3, 5. I place them in random places where my son can stand on the number and then shoot a basket. She stands on a number of his choice and tries to shoot a basket. If he makes the basket, he writes the number he was standing upon on the driveway(as seen in the picture). Repeat five to ten times. Add up your numbers to get your score.

Toss Game

Draw a board with three rows and three columns. In each square place a sight word. For the younger kiddos, place a number or letter sound. Have the children take a rock and toss it in the box. What ever square it lands on, the child must read, if they read correctly, they color in the square. Play till all squares are colored.
Do-the-Math Hopscotch
Draw a hopscotch area to resemble a calculator.  The first player tosses her stone on the "1" key. She then hops on an equation equal to 1 (for example, she might jump to the following keys: =, 1, +, 0 or =, 3, -, 2). Players use 1-footed hops when landing on odd numbers and zeroes, and 2-footed hops for even numbers and symbols. A player's turn continues until she makes a mistake, such as stepping on a line or hopping on an incorrect equation. The winner is the first person to work through all the numbers to 9.
Jumping Path

Make a line with things your child is working on. For my daughter (who is three), I would draw a star, triangle, the sound /b/, the number 3, her name, the sound /a/. I would draw this in a path form. Then I would show my daughter how much fun it is to jump on the path. When you jump, make sure you shout out what you land on.  For older kids you could have them jump on sight words you write on the driveway. Or you may want them to jump on math problems and give the answer after they jump on the problem.
                                                              Stationary and a Pencil:
What better way for the classmates to stay in touch during the summer, send them home with stationary and a pencil. This is a great way for them to practice their reading and writing skills over the break.

Sketch Pad & Colored Pencils:
Send classmates home with a sketch pad and some colored pencils to keep their imagination and creativity fresh during the summer.

My kids LOVE workbooks, and I can always find age/grade appropriate ones at the dollar store. What a great way to beat the “I’m Bored” syndrome!

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