Thursday, June 4, 2015

Keeping Busy This Summer

I wanted my kiddos to keep busy while having fun this summer.  I think it is important that they work on skills that we learned throughout the year, but I also know it needs to be fun or they won't do it.

I asked for suggestions in my last family survey (I do these monthly) for things families might like to see included.  Some suggestions were: science experiments, math games, books and questions to ask, writing paper.  I set to work gathering materials.

I packed everything in these gift bags that I found 5 for $2.  I added a little tag so I knew who each bag belonged to.

My first stop was our computer lab which doubles as our book room around the perimeter.  There are a few boxes of books in there that were "discards" from an old reading series or two.  The directions on the box said to use as prizes or giveaways for students.  I considered this a prize: you made it through kindergarten and have the opportunity to read over the summer.  These books were too easy for my highest kids, so I took enough to give my other kiddos 2 books per month over the summer (6 books each in total).  For my higher kids, I ordered appropriate texts from Scholastic using my bonus points.

These are the items that went into each bag.  A packet for each month (games and books in each packet), a little tool kit, magnifying glass, Highlights magazine, small playdoh, Smarties, a set of Tangrams, 3 bookmarks (one per month) and writing paper.
I next started scouring Pinterest for math games and science experiments that were easy to prep and did not involve a lot of materials.  The majority of our kiddos struggle financially, so I tried to find ideas using materials mostly found around the house.  If something was included that most people would not have, I generally included this material in the kit.

This is 1 month of activities for a student.  Tan are science experiments and purple are math games.

Finally, I added some writing paper, a box of crayons, a mechanical pencil, 2 dice and some counters.

Once I had everything gathered, I set up a little assembly line around a table to make the bags for each student. Their bag "name tags" are spread out on a table behind the table I took a picture of.  I then lined the completed bags up along the back wall of our room.  I did these the day before our last day so they weren't stored in an assembled form too long.

You can see the pile of books, envelopes for each month (they are already stuffed) and the various other materials for their bags.

This kind of doubled as their end of the year gift (in addition to the memory books we created together).  I hope that they will find some fun-filled ways to keep learning this summer.  Do you create summer packets for your students?  What do you include?


  1. I haven't done summer packets the last few years but I REALLY like this idea since it's not just a stack of worksheet papers. I've had parents that say they want summer work but they seem to be the ones who don't practice sight words, read to their kids, or turn things in on time during the regular school year. I just always wonder if they'll really do the summer work. Your bag is so much more!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

    1. I forgot to mention in the post that I also created a Facebook group (private) for kiddos to share things they found on their scavenger hunt, silly places they read and pictures of their science experiments/playing math games. I thought they might like sharing what they were doing. A parent took it to the next level earlier this week and invited all of us to carpool to the zoo with them. This is the first time I've done the Facebook group, but I think it is kind of cool!

  2. Wow!!!! What a group of lucky kids!!! We did send lots home too. But my contribution was 15 books per kid at their level. They got to pick out the 15 they wanted. It was a lot of fun!

  3. 15 books per kid?!? You rock! How did you collect all those? I need to learn some garage sale tips from you.