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Top summer learning activities for young elementary schoolers

Keep your first-, second-, or third-grader sharp this summer with fun brain boosters.

By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann

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Scribblers into scribes

Educators stress the importance of summer learning — whether to address problem areas, maintain gains made during the past school year, or prepare for the next grade.

Encourage your child to keep a summer journal, chronicling family trips, day camps, and other summer adventures. Have your child to mix it up with short and long entries, illustrations, word collages, and photos with handwritten captions. To get started, take your child to the store to pick out a notebook and special pen. 

Sidewalk chalk is another kid-friendly way to work on writing skills. Have your child practice letters, words, and sentences on the driveway. When you’re beach-bound, encouraging your child to write in the sand with a stick. For handwriting practice kid will love, try Handwriting Help for Kids, which has helpful "letter stories" (The story for letter A? "Slide down one side, hop to the top, slide down the other side, walk across.")

Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a freelance writer based in Detroit. She has written for  children's health and parenting magazines and blogs about both topics at Mom meets baby.

Comments from readers

"I fully believe that kids need continuous input during the summer months. But I see too many parents in grocery stores or department stores with their kids while talking on their cell phones or i-pads, etc. What children need most is the undivided attention of their parent while the child reads or the parent reads to the child. All technology is NOT better. Children need more one on one time with adults sans technology! "
"Audio books are the greatest thing I ever discovered. Most people don't even realize the huge selection of classic kids stories available as audio books at their local libraries. There are so many books I would never have time to read to my kids; but with audiobooks, we get in a few chapters every day driving between home and school. "