by writer, author, and grandmother, Linda L. Osmundson.
With summer approaching you might ask, “How can I keep my child learning while not in school?” Books are the answer. Find books on his favorite topic, be it sports, music, celebrities, movies, cowboys, or Indians. Perhaps your child wants to learn a skill like painting or writing.
Choose from their interests and find books that teach as well as entertain. Here are a few examples to get you started.
PRE-SCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
I suggest you read Ellen Javernick’s The Birthday Pet. The illustrations are wonderful; the rhyme charming. Then, supplement that reading with books on animals.Be sure to include The Cat in the Hat and Natasha Wing’s How to Raise a Dinosaur.
Amazon.com has a huge list which includes easy encyclopedia type picture books on all animals. If you search by genre like cats, you’ll find books on cats’ care, mischievous behavior, and stories with cat characters. Books on other genres offer the same. Once you find titles, check at your local library for availability before you purchase.
Extend the learning by visiting an animal shelter, zoo, or petting farm.
Use other books by authors like Natasha Wing, Shel Silverstein, Beatrix Potter, and Maurice Sendak. Peruse the picture books in your local library, attend storytime at bookstores/libraries, and join a children’s summer reading club.
The above suggestions apply to elementary aged children as well. Expand again by taking your child’s school year local history studies farther. Search online for books about your state or city. I hunted through amazon.com – children’s books and Colorado. Scroll down the page of an interesting title to find the appropriate age level. Read reviews to determine if you and your child might like the book.
My Colorado gears itself toward fourth grade history, geography, and Earth science. It features activities and games which include writing, critical thinking, and art. The book looks at the past as well as the present.
Colorado is part of a series called From Sea to Shining Sea. The series includes every state and covers history, geography, recipes, people, and cultures.
My First Book About Colorado is suggested for ages 4-8. Activities reinforce the facts given.
Every state offers books with a wealth of information at a child’s level.
OTHER BOOK SUGGESTIONS
Since my interests lie in art, I researched amazon.com for books that teach how to draw and artist’s biographies. My search followed this line – children’s books, age, and topic, i.e. artists, art, and drawing. Here were some books which had good reviews or seemed appealing.
I suggest, of course, my own interactive children’s picture book – How the West Was Drawn: Cowboy Charlie’s Art. Questions for each Charles Russell image encourage readers to look closely and discover things casual viewers miss. A few interesting tidbits follow.
Great American Artists for Kids sounds like it serves as an introduction to great artists of several periods from Renaissance to modern. The book gives drawing activities related to each style of art.
Dynamic Art Projects for Children sounded like something I’d love to use with my grandchildren.
Follow up any reading on art with a visit to a museum. Things to do:
1. Ask children to name what they see in a painting.
2. Have them look at another painting for 30 seconds, then, turn around and name what they saw.
3. Give three clues for a gallery “treasure” and ask the child to find it.
4. Limit your stay to an hour or so and look at no more than three galleries. Plan another visit another day. 5. For small children, choose a theme for each museum visit like animals, children, or even food. Find paintings which show those subjects.
6. Study sculpture by playing a copy game. Have a child stand in the position of the sculpture.
One last way to use a book is to read one that has been made into a movie, such as Charlotte’s Web. Then, rent the movie.
These are but a few ideas to utilize books for keeping children entertained and learning during the summer.
Bio: Linda L. Osmundson lives in Fort Collins, CO, with her husband of 45 years and within an hour to an hour and a half to four of her seven grandchildren. Her over 100 articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul. HOW THE WEST WAS DRAWN: COWBOY CHARLIE’S ART an interactive children’s picture book was released February, 2011 and is available at bookstores and online retail markets. Find her at www.LindaOsmundson.com and her writing tips blog at www.writing-roads.blogspot.com.