Summer Activities: For 6-8 year olds
Sight Word Hopping with Sidewalk Chalk
First grade readers spend hours and hours on "sight" words - you know, the ones that show up constantly in books, and that often don't follow regular spelling rules. You can always use flash cards, but as your kid will tell you, these can get old...fast!
Here's another way to go. All you need is chalk and some pavement for this silly, fun, and practical game. A parent can play with one child, or for more fun, try it at a playdate or birthday party with a whole group of kids divided into teams.
What You Need:
- Colored chalk
- Stretch of pavement
- A few index cards and a permanent marker
- 1-8 first graders
- On one end of a paved surface, use your chalk to draw a circle big enough for a few kids to stand comfortably inside. For fun, invite your child to decorate it a bit, perhaps with drawings of palm trees or shells. This is "Shelter Island," and it's your home base. The object of the game is for each child to hop across a stretch of pavement to land safely on the island. Here's the catch: the area all around may look like plain concrete, but today, it's "Crocodile Sea," and there are going to be snappers all around!
- Now draw a series of roughly circular 12-inch blobs between you and the island, leaving about a foot between each one. Each blob is an "island hop" that can guide a lively first grader to safety. On each "island hop," have your child help you write a sight word that he is studying. (Your teacher may have given you a list; if not, see below for common first grade words.) Draw enough blobs so that there can be several routes to the island, but try not to make any route longer than about four hops (at least at first).
- While kids finish decorating the island and practice some hopping, take a minute to scope out some routes. On your index cards, write out five or more different routes of about four words each that a child can hop continuously before getting to the island.
- Time to get to the island! How fast can your child make it? Can all his friends make it, too? Pull out a card, call out a route, and let the leaping begin! If your child needs coaching on words, that's fine: the whole idea is to practice those sight words...and get home safe for dinner too!
Play Milk Container Keep Away
If you've got extra milk jugs laying around your house, why not put them to use? Beat summer boredom with this activity that uses milk containers and old newspaper to create a fun and competitive game of catch or keep away! Toss a ball between two players, catching it in a gallon milk jug! You'll teach your child about recycling by using old items to create a whole new game. It's a great activity to beat boredom and stay active.
What You Need:
- 2 empty plastic milk or juice containers, gallon-size
- Masking tape
- Crumpled newspaper
- Cut about four inches off the top of the plastic containers to make scoops. Be sure to leave the handles intact.
- Help your child cover the sharp plastic edges with strips of masking tape.
- Hand your child an old piece of newspaper and invite him to crumple it into a ball. Maintain the shape by covering it with masking tape.
- Start the game with four players, two on each team, and give each player their own container.
- Mark a spot for a goal on either side of the playing area, and have each team start on their own side.
- The object of the game is to keep the ball away from the opposing team by tossing it between players while trying to cross over to the other team's goal. If the ball lands on the floor, scoop it up with the jug! Each goal equals one point.
- The first team to score 3 points is the winner! Another less-competitive alternative for this game is to play "catch" using the jugs in place of mitts. That way, everyone has an equal chance to scoop and toss! Play indoors or outdoors, with two or more players.
Revamp Old Shoelaces
Who knew it was so easy to put a new spin on a pair of old sneakers? By dyeing her shoelaces with ordinary fabric dye, your child can add some extra charm to her feet. She can try getting a few colors and tie-dyeing the laces, or dipping them all into one dye to create a solid color. This activity provides a great way to give her shoes a make-over without shelling out money for a new set of kicks!
What You Need:
- Several colors of fabric dye
- Buckets (1 per color of dye)
- Old shoelaces in need of a makeover
- Find a workspace where it's okay to get a little messy. Lay out old newspapers to help contain the mess and designate the work area. Have your child put on gloves to protect her hands from the dye.
- Now, ask her to mix dyes in separate buckets, according to the directions on the package. Please be sure to read the instructions carefully before you begin.
- Next, have her soak the shoelaces by dipping the part of the laces she wants to dye and holding onto the rest. She can repeat this process with as many different colors as she likes. She should lay the shoelaces out to dry on the newspaper.
- Finally, when the shoelaces are dry, thread them back through your child's shoes and wait for the compliments to roll in!
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