This is the last week of school for my three boys and we’re all gearing up for some summertime goodness!
What do we do to keep brains sharp while we enjoy the very lazy days of summer?
Yes, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard me talk about Alphabet Summer once or twice, or possibly a million times. (This will be our eighth year of it!) Here’s one big overview of all the versions we’ve tried, plus ideas from other bloggers that would make a great addition to any Alphabet Summer plan.
Alphabet Summer is just what it sounds like. You start near the beginning of the summer with letter A. On “A Day” you do something, or lots of things that start with the letter A. You can read a book that starts with A, make apple pie, create an action movie, visit an aquarium… Over the summer, the point is to work your way through the whole alphabet, one letter at a time.
It’s obviously perfect for the little ones just learning their letters, but since it’s so flexible, my older boys still think it’s fun. You can easily fit any number of summer learning activities within the A to Z framework. So if your child really needs to read more over the summer, read a picture book for each letter. Big kids reading longer books can find a new vocabulary word for each letter. If your child needs to practice typing, on each letter day challenge him to type as many A words, or B words, or C words as he can in one minute. If you want your child to do a little bit of writing this summer, challenge the kids to brainstorm wacky writing topics for each day/letter, then spend ten minutes writing about the topic.
We’ve done all sorts of versions of this. It was slightly elaborate at first–I’ve mellowed out more and more each year. 🙂 Over the last few years we’ve settled on the simple version: We meet as a family right before school gets out to plan at least one kids’ choice activity to do for each letter. Then we put everything on the summer calendar and go for it. Some days are more exciting than others, and after 8 years many activities have become traditions. We always kick off summer with an “airplane picnic” for A, and make volcanoes in the backyard for V.
Along with the scheduled adventures, there is usually an hour or so each morning for reading, plus one other educational “thing.” I try to keep it fun because I really don’t want my kids’ summer memories to be of me making them do worksheets. Honestly, as my boys get older, it’s harder to get them to happily go along with anything that feels like schoolwork; so games, challenges and gross things are often involved. (B is for burp your 8 times tables.) Every summer a few things get rearranged or dropped, and we’ve been known to skip a few letters altogether. But we’ve kept it up because everyone still looks forward to it and appreciates that little bit of predictability, even as they get older.
So, if you’re looking for a little something extra to jazz up your summer plans, try one of these versions of Alphabet Summer:
- Go on an alphabet treasure hunt and find the alphabet. –Two ways!
- Make and do the ABCs. Here are some ideas to get you started.
I also love these A to Z STEM Activities from some of my favorite bloggers!
And here’s an organized printable version of our Alphabet Summer resources all in one place. It contains planning sheets, two types of log books for kiddos to use to keep track of their adventures, and alphabet-themed math and literacy ideas.