Summertime at the Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space is exciting because it gives us a chance to try something new with our students. With two wide open months, we suddenly have time to delve into the novels, science experiments, and research projects that students might have found overwhelming when combined with school-year responsibilities. These big projects keep kids motivated and engaged, and also let them return to school in September feeling proud of what they have accomplished. Of course, big summer projects aren’t limited to RRLS; they can happen anywhere. The next time your children tell you “there’s nothing to do,” consider one of these suggestions.
Host an art show!
Kids can work together to create art before inviting friends and family to the grand opening of their gallery. This task could be completed in one rainy afternoon or extended to last for much longer. As well as boosting creativity and confidence, this project will challenge kids’ organizational skills as they make a guest list, send invitations, and even prepare snacks for the gallery-goers. Add a public speaking element by encouraging each artist to give a statement about his or her masterpiece.
Write a book (or make a comic)!
Two of my students have told me they want to write chapter books this summer, and one is already complete! Kids in Grade 2 and above may enjoy planning, drafting, revising, and publishing their work. Confident students can manage the writing process independently and share the finished product with their families, while reluctant writers will likely need more parent support. Keep work sessions short and light-hearted, and divide the project up into manageable tasks. For example, you could plan the story out loud together, and then aim to write one very short chapter each week. Kids who love art may choose to create a comic instead, which can feel less intimidating and will still have a great impact on literacy development.
Start a business
Kids can put their math skills to the test by starting a business. Whether selling lemonade or copies of their brand-new comic book, they will have to calculate costs and figure out how to generate profit. To get them motivated, consider providing a small amount of start-up capital. Ten to twenty dollars is likely enough, depending on the age of the children and the scale of the business. Ask them to make a presentation to their investor (you) explaining how they will use the loan and how quickly they will be able to repay it from their profits. Starting a business is also an excellent way to encourage collaboration between children of different ages. Learning to divide up a big task and assign roles can be a challenge, but kids will love working together to achieve a goal almost as much as they’ll love spending their earnings!
For more information about how to keep students engaged in their learning during the summer months, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.