Of course, with school out, summer is also prime time for new kids’ projects at home with your own kids. Projects like trying something new or repurposing something found around the house. Projects like learning more about a favorite topic or expanding on a favorite hobby. Projects that kids can just enjoy doing. And, not a big surprise, those kinds of projects often turn out to be very educational as well!
If you are looking for some project ideas for yourself and your kids this summer, here are a few ideas. I’ve also added a few teacher shortcuts, since even in the summer, time can fly by.
An Old Game:An old game might not be what they have in mind when your kids are asking for something to do or the first thing that comes to your mind when you’re thinking about fun classroom activities for next year, but some of these oldies but goodies are still as much fun as ever once you give them a try. Kids Project – Try out a game that was played thousands of years ago. Both marbles and jacks fit that category and can still be found in toy stores, Both are fun to play with friends and to practice on your own. Teacher Project – Create a new twist on an old game such as the traditional spelling bee. Can you come up with a way to make it more appealing to modern-day kids or a way to get more kids actively involved? Shortcut – ProTeacher had a collection of articles describing active spelling games submitted by teachers.
A Fabric Project:Even if you don’t often sew, an occasional DIY project can be a fun activity, especially in the summer months when there is more time to try something new. Kids Project – Make and embellish a no-sew fabric accessory such as a fabric-covered headband or bracelet. Simple materials including fabric strips and glue are the basic materials for this project, and you can find plenty of examples and ideas on Pinterest. Teacher Project – Sew a pocket chart. The Artisan des Arts website has directions for a really nice looking one that you make from fabric and vinyl. Shortcut – Go on a little shopping spree with your kids for some fun new (and ready-made!) accessories and back-to-school organizers.
A New Tool:Finding out that your computer can do something you never knew it could do is always fun. Why not spend a little time finding out what helpful features are going to waste on your computer? Kids Project – Find a feature on a computer or tablet game or app that you know more about that your parents do and that you think they would enjoy learning about. Then, teach your mom or dad how to use it. Teacher Project – Try out a feature that you haven’t tried yet on a program that you use often such as PowerPoint or Word, or try out a new tool for your computer. Shortcut – Here is one that I just learned about. It’s called Instant Eyedropper, and you can use it to pick up a color from most any picture to easily coordinate the colors on your presentations and other projects. It’s a big help if you are still using an older version of PowerPoint like I am.
A New Game:Making your own games is always fun, and reusing old items makes it an earth-friendly project. Kids and Teacher Project – Create a new game using leftover pieces form an old game or toy, or use some recyclables to build a game from scratch. For example, you can make a Mancala game from an egg carton. Shortcut – Need some ideas to get started? Activity Village has some good suggestions.
A Mobile:One nice thing about mobiles is that they make use of that often-overlooked space overhead. Whether it’s in a kid’s bedroom or in a classroom, a mobile can be an eye-catcher. Kids Project – Design and build a mobile for your room with paper models or cutouts of a favorite subject. Teacher Project – Design a mobile to use in class. Prepare just the directions for this project so that your students can work in groups to build it in class. Shortcut – Download this freebie, called Best Foot Forward from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. It includes cutouts for a shoe mobile with directions for using it as part of a goal setting activity for the beginning of the school year.
A Recipe:A summer recipe project can be as simple as selecting a few ingredients and mixing together a new combination. Kids Project – Help mom or dad with their project, and then help eat the results! Teacher Project – Find and try out a recipe for a simple and inexpensive treat that you could make for your class on a special occasion, maybe a cereal-based snack mix or some flavored popcorn. Shortcut – Make a mental note to ask parents to bring in some snacks next year, and then head out for ice cream with your own kids!
Sharon Fabian, from the Classroom in the Middle blog, has spent over 20 years teaching English, reading, and other subjects to middle school students. She loves having more time now to create and write about resources for teachers – especially materials for teaching reading, vocabulary, and writing to students in grades four through eight. Here is the link to her store, also called Classroom in the Middle.