sandy-kidsWe’ve all heard that children can lose some 6-8 weeks’ worth of learning over the summer, but this doesn’t have to be the case with our kids.  Here’s some techniques to consider for long car trips to keep the creative juices flowing.

Mind Before Mindless:  Hold off on video games and DVD players until AFTER the same amount of time with books, puzzles, and art projects.  Some ideas for the back seat that we’ve used include travel tangrams, chess and scrabble.  If your child took the Right At School cartooning class (or even if they didn’t), ask them to create a new superhero with special powers and to create a cartoon book about their character.

Skip The Standards:  Skip the “time-tested,” but time-wasting car trip standbys like Bingo, Hangman, and Tic Tac Toe, and create new family traditions like rhyming games (e.g., “What does a silly person sit on? A fool stool”) or maze making, where they create mazes for siblings or parents. Another good game is Who Lives There?, where you point out a house and ask questions about who lives there, what they do, what is the most surprising event to ever happen to that family, and so on.  After two houses, ask your child to make up a story where the two families meet.

Journal Jotting Pack a vacation notebook/journal where your children can keep memories, ideas, and secrets that they think of along the way.   Give them a disposable camera and print their photos at a drug store en route that they can stick into their journal later on.

Memorization That Matters:  Okay, I know that memorization is wayyyyy overused in school, but I have a soft spot for one form of memorization:  Poems.  Try Caroline Kennedy’s Poems To Learn By Heart or even a Dr. Seuss book (especially if your child loved Right At School’s Dr. Seuss Book Club!).  There is a reason that memorizing poetry is called “learning by heart”—it deepens our relationship with the poems and creates a bond that can last a lifetime.

Have a great summer!  I look forward to seeing your children next fall at a Right At School program near you.  And if we are not in yet in your child’s school, visit www.rightatschool.com to learn how we can be!

Mark Rothschild

Creativity and Time, Part IIn Praise Of Free Play