Writing in the summer? Nah...that's crazy...no one wants to do that! However, imagine how beneficial it would be if your children were able to continue growing in their writing skills while enjoying a summer break too. Don't think you can get your children to write this summer without frustration and battles? It's all in the approach! Keep the pressure low and encourage rather than demand. Pair up with your child for one of the summer writing ideas in this article and you could find writing more enjoyable than you would expect...changing not only your child's attitude about writing, but your own, as well. Just give one or more of the following a try:
Summer journaling - shop with your child to pick out a special journal just for recording summer events and activities. Rather than journaling every day, choose a day each week to visit a fun place just to write. For younger children, sitting with you on a blanket in a park or by a lake could be incentive to write down some thoughts. For older children, a trip to the local coffee shot, journaling on the computer, might be the trick. My son and I have a favorite coffee shop we like to visit out near Kiawah Island and we go there just enough to keep it special! Don't make serious demands on writing length or format. Even if your child can create bullet point ideas describing a recent trip or describe the beach or his best friend's backyard, that will work! He's still communicating in the written word. Keep it light, fun and memorable!
Travel games - turn off the dvd player in the car for a while and use your brains! Verbal travel games can improve your child's thought processes and writing skills. Some ideas include:
- Telling a story in a round - you start a story and then each person adds to it.
- ABC themes - use every letter in the alphabet to come up with a word matching a specific theme. One person starts with the A, the next person does B, etc. Theme examples could include the beach, summertime, fruits and vegetables, favorite books/characters or anything else you can imagine. To make it more challenging, require each person to recite the words leading up to his letter.
- ABC - for younger children, when you take a trip to the beach, park, etc, find different words that start with different letters of the alphabet. You don't have to do every letter, every time. You can make it an ongoing summer game. You could take a picture of the letter words for the accordion book or have your child illustrate the word himself each time.
- Photo journaling - taking photos while enjoying your summer allows for excellent writing opportunities. Children can write sentences, paragraphs or simply word lists to describe the photo or event. Place the writing and photos together in your accordion book. You could use a theme per book: visiting Grandma's house, going to the mountains, fun in the sprinkler, etc
- Summer poetry - find different poems that relate to summer to record in the accordion book and have your child memorize (memory work is excellent for pre-writing) a poem or two, then illustrate. A child might also be inspired to try writing his own summer poem and illustrating it. Acrostic poetry offers a simple but enjoyable format that most children understand for writing early poems.
- Recipes - have your child choose favorite summer dishes and record the recipes in his book. Throughout the summer, you could make the recipes together, take photos and include them in the book.
- Movies/book reviews - children tend to read more enjoyable books in the summer and writing a simple review of the book can provide excellent skill reinforcement. A matinee movie also offers a chance to write a review. The child could illustrate the cover of the book, a favorite scene or character, or simply include a movie ticket stub with the reviews.