The sun is setting earlier, vacations are wrapping up, and summer is slipping into the school year. While you as a parent probably welcome the change, it’s likely that your students are not as excited to go back to school. Help make the transition more enjoyable with these 3 back to school activities to do with your kids!
Make a summer "time capsule." Encourage your children to look back on summer with gratitude by collecting favorite memories into a time capsule. Have each child choose a few mementos (e.g. pebbles found at the park, shells from a beach vacation, ticket stubs from movies, photos of friends and family). On an index card, ask them to write down their favorite summer memory. Designate a jar or box as the time capsule, and let children decorate it with markers, stickers, glitter, or paint. Place cards and mementos in the capsule and hide in a safe place to be reopened next summer (or pull it out to brighten a bleak winter day with summer cheer!). For a more adventurous experience, use a water-tight container and bury it in a safe place in your yard or garden. Your kids will have fun digging up their time capsule when the days get warm again!
Start a journal. Encourage your kids to record their thoughts and experiences in a journal. Let them choose a special journal (something they will want to write in) or decorate a plain notebook. Lined pages help children who are learning to write, while blank pages offer younger students the opportunity to create a visual journal by drawing pictures instead of writing.
Are your students still not motivated to write? Suggest these writing prompts for inspiration:
• If you could go to school anywhere in the world (or the universe), where would you go?
• If you could have any pet, what would it be and what would you name it?
• If you could invent a new ice cream flavor, what would you call it and what would it taste like?
• If you had a playdate with Jesus, what would you do? What would you talk about?
• If Jesus brought you a gift, what would it be? What gift would you like to give back to Him?
• What would you show Jesus during His visit? A favorite toy, book, or movie? Would you play Him a song on the piano, or dance for Him, or show Him your cool soccer moves?
Journaling can help kids write for fun and express themselves, while providing a break from more academically-driven writing assignments. Plus, it can help them connect with God in a way that may be new and exciting to them.
Make story-time special. While warm evenings linger, take bedtime stories outside and simulate a camping experience. Roast marshmallows over the fire pit, sing songs, catch lightning bugs, and enjoy favorite books such as Princess Stories or A Child’s First Bible.
For a daytime alternative, go on a story-time picnic! Pack a lunch or snack and take the kids to a park, forest preserve, or favorite outdoor spot. Have each child select a few books and enjoy them together. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor story-time, change things up with interactive and activity-based books, such as Jonah and the Big Fish (featuring 4 puzzles) or lift-the-flap books.
Just because your kids are going back to school doesn’t mean that the fun needs to stop. As a parent, be excited for the opportunities to help your students learn and grow. Your enthusiasm and involvement in their lives can make this the best school year yet— and make next summer come that much more quickly!