Advance thanks to Fair Chair Lina Singleton and her team of hardworking, enthusiastic, fun-loving volunteers – Sandy Geldhof, Amy Courage Lineen, Brooke Brink, Jenny Samuelson, Jill Warburton, Karen Mertens, Beth Silvero, Jules Manning, Michelle Aldrich and Leah Linebarger. Our 20th Annual Park City Children’s Fair is sure to be a success thanks to their planning, the wonderful silent auction and the generous contributions of the following families who have made sure that our expenses are covered;
Thank you AbuHaidar, Belz/Geldhof, Bretts, Brink, Brown/Griggs, Bush, Caplan, Cervelli, Connell, Courage Lineen, Durling, Ehrich, Gale, Grover, Haaijer, Jensen, Kordecki, Macchia, Martin, Mertens, McBroom, McDonald, Portnoy, Rapella/Ward, Reddy/Crichton, Samuelson, Vandenberg, Winterholler/Googin, and Zediker families as well as Zane Prep!
The Fair proceeds will cover the cost of supporting our friends for another year including Soureya of Niger, Assitan of Mali, and Reinaldo of Paraguay – as well as Grandmother Frances Bahe of Arizona through Adopt-a-Native Elder. Proceeds also support the Summit County Library, PC Library, Recycle Utah, Friends of Animals, SWIMS Student/Teacher Enrichment Fund, Swaner Nature Preserve and the Kimball Art Center. Our Eagle’s Nest and Moose Tracks Elementary Classes budget and makes donations in person to local organizations. Every child, animal and library book is incorporated into our curriculum school-wide making our horizons wider and more familiar. This gives our students a powerful introduction to making a difference in their world.
Thanks to all of you for donating auction basket items, distributing posters, bidding on auction baskets, helping set up and take down the Fair and for turning out to support it. It’s always satisfying to see the whole community come together for a great day at the park in celebration of the child!
With summer vacations in mind, here are some suggestions for helping your child to keep his skills sharp.
Stay organized. Whether you’re in a car, a hotel room or a relative’s house make sure your child knows where his belongings go and can easily put them away himself.
Practice “grace and courtesy”. Restaurants, airports, social groups and the back seat of the car are all good places to practice kind words and nice manners. If a reoccurring problem comes up, try role-playing to find a good solution (e.g. “I want that crayon my brother has. I think I’ll grab it from him and yell and scream… that didn’t work. What else can I do?”). If conflict resolution may be a recurring need, bring a portable peace object along. Your child knows how to use it. Ask any teacher for a refresher.
Practical Life: Let your child do her own pouring, cutting, sweeping, scrubbing, and washing whenever possible. Put the kids in charge of making the dinner salad, shelling peas, caring for the garden, or taking out the compost. Set them up with some tarnished silver, polish (a small amount), Q-tips, and a polishing cloth. Or give them dishes or sand toys to wash and the equipment and space to do them in. If you give a young child a bucket of water and a small sponge or scrub brush to clean the picnic table, it will probably get pretty clean. But if you give the same child the hose, it could easily become a disaster! Take time to let your child dress herself and tie her own shoes. Even the youngest child can make wise fashion choices if the closet is well organized and unsuitable alternatives are put away.
Sensorial: A favorite classroom game for sensorial discrimination by touch is called the “Mystery Bag”. You can make your own mystery bag by bringing along a large sock, put various objects in it and have your child guess what they are just by feeling them. A variation of this game is to put two of several objects in the sock and have him feel for the two that are the same. For an older child, put in things that are only slightly different (sea shells, buttons, rocks, coins).
Try listening games with a blindfold or just by closing eyes. This is a classic Montessori tool used to help the child become centered. First have him tell you all the things he can hear in 15 seconds. Then lengthen the time. Then make small noises for him to discern (clicking a pen, closing a book, zipping a zipper, etc.).
Car bingo was always fun when our children were young and is a good looking game. We used to play with game boards and when that got boring we made up lists of things to find for opponents. I might have had Leith (at 3) find a bird, a blue car and a red house, while Lina (at 6) looked for a Pepsi can, a baby and a jet plane, and for Bruce (at 34) a red Harley Davidson motorcycle, a John Deere tractor, an alfalfa field and a bald man wearing a green shirt. He always put a snow fence on my list, even if we were in Arizona.
Good thinking games (variations of the myriad classification games we do in the classroom) include “Animal, Vegetable or Mineral” which can be played by thinking of absolutely anything in the world, be it a type of animal or the ice bucket in the hotel room you slept in three nights ago, and players have to guess it by asking only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Humming song phrases or TV show themes or miming occupations are other good guessing games. With a pencil and paper most kids can play simple versions of Pictionary where you have to guess what they’ve drawn. For an older child, read weird words out of a pocket dictionary and everyone must guess what they mean. Or make up Traveling Trivia questions for each other from a small atlas.
Reading: With a small child, play games where you have to find ten things that start with ‘b’ by either looking out a window, going on a walk, cutting them out of magazines or going on a scavenger hunt. Write the sound down (stick with lower case letters) on a piece of paper or in the sand or on the sidewalk in chalk, then place the objects by the written letter and say “You found a ‘b’-bottle and a ‘b’-balloon and a ‘b’-ball!”
For children who are just beginning to read, write down lists of words for them to read to you. When they can read three-letter phonetic words well, go on to phonetic words with more than three letters, like ‘rabbit’, ‘truck’, or ‘muffin tin’. Good variations are to dictate the words and have the child write them down or furnish a set of objects (pin, hat, cup, lid, etc.) and have the child write down the word. Don’t worry about spelling at first. Just help them to blend the sounds.
If your child is working in a workbook, set aside 15 to 20 minutes each day (just after breakfast, or right before bed, perhaps) to do a few pages. It should be a pleasant part of the daily routine. Reading and writing skills easily deteriorate over just a few weeks and teachers, students and families are often dismayed to have to start over again when the child returns to school in the fall. If you stick to a routine of workbook practice over the summer your child should be ready to move on to greater challenges in the fall.
Elementary students should have math and spelling workbooks to practice over the summer. (Please remember to return them in the fall!) Older students should practice journaling to encourage writing, storytelling and penmanship skills. Michelle suggests writing summer adventures in a journal. She also suggests looking into the various reading programs at the local libraries and at PCTV.
Older kids who are reading well still enjoy ‘I Spy’ games (“I spy with my little eye something that starts with A”), Alphabet Search (letters must be found in alphabetical order on road signs and license plates) and spelling bees. Our family used to love to spend the summer evenings reading an especially long book or a series of them together. The Little House on the Prairie series was a favorite of ours when the children were about 4 and 7. One summer I read Memoirs of a Geisha to my husband and 15-year-old son. They loved it and couldn’t wait to hear more, although neither one of them would have read the book on their own!
Math: Collect things and count them. Shells, sticks, rocks, leaves, feathers, pencils, paper clips, sugar packets (on restaurant tables) can be counted and associated with a written numeral. Make some cards with numbers on them and hand one to the child saying, “Go find this many rocks.” This can be done from 0 to 3 for a small child or 0 to 100 for an older child.
For kids who are working into the thousands, pop beads, Chinese jacks, or paper clips can be attached in groups of ten. Have your elementary child help figure out mileage and arrival times on trips, budget his own expenditures, run a lemonade stand, or collect all the change in the house and figure out how many popsicles he can buy for his friends.
Science: Everywhere you go, keep your eyes open for science lessons. Stop beside the trail to see where the ants are going and where they are coming from. Watch birds building nests. Show your child the map of where you have been and where you are going. Notice animal tracks and droppings and other signs of who else has been there. Have an older child keep a field notebook of interesting things seen. A younger child can keep a journal of pictures. Start a rock, feather, flower, or shell collection. You can label them with their proper names, where you found them, and what fun things you did there.
Undo: Whatever else you do this summer, remember to allow some unscheduled time to lay in the hammock, stare at the sky, throw rocks in a creek, or spit cherry pits into the grass. Summer is the best time to enjoy the boredom of doing nothing at all. In a 2002 issue of Newsweek Anna Quindlen pointed out,
“There is ample psychological research suggesting that what we might call ‘doing nothing’ is when human beings actually do their best thinking and when creativity comes to call”. A study by the University of Michigan quantified the downtime deficit, “in the last 20 years American kids have lost about four unstructured hours a week. Perhaps it is not too late for American kids to be given the gift of boredom for at least a week or two, staring into space, bored out of their gourds, exploring the inside of their own heads”.