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State Schools Chief offers summer learning tips for families


Last updated 7/3/2008 at Noon

SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has offered his top 10 suggestions to help parents keep their children active and productive during summer vacation:

1. Turn off the television and computer and play outside: Encourage children to join a city league to play team sports like baseball or swimming. Physical activity helps prevent the silent epidemic of childhood obesity. Teamwork teaches children about the values of helping, sharing, listening, respecting and participating. Contact the local parks and recreation department for team sports and summer activities.

2. Get puzzled: Play Sudoku or Scrabble with children. These types of activities encourage children to think and solve problems. Find puzzles on the Web or in bookstores and game stores.

3. Collect stamps, coins or other historical items: Encourage children to start a collection that may spur their interest to research facts about their hobby. Start at the post office for stamps. Search through antique stores or the attic for collectibles.

4. Start a journal, diary or scrapbook: These types of activities encourage children to write, organize their thoughts and spur creativity. They can start simply with a notebook and pencil. For more elaborate journals, craft stores often have a selection of scrapbook materials.

5. Make plans: Let children help schedule the day, plan a meal or assign chores. This helps children structure their activities and learn to meet deadlines.

6. Take them grocery shopping: Adding up the grocery bill helps kids practice their math skills. Let them choose the fruits and vegetables to teach them how to make healthy choices.

7. Plan dinner: Learning to cook will teach kids to be self-sufficient and independent. Preparing meals requires math and reading skills.

8. Set aside time each day to read: Parents can read the morning newspaper with their children or find them a good book at the library. Reading keeps their minds active and engaged and ready to learn when they go back to school.

9. Encourage children to create their own jobs: Children can get training to be babysitters. Or they can pet sit, house sit or take care of the neighbors’ plants while they are on vacation. These activities help children learn about responsibility and financial literacy. The American Red Cross offers training for babysitters.

10. Volunteer: Encourage children to help some elderly neighbors or a local charitable organization. These activities help children learn about sacrifice and good citizenship.


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