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It can be a little tricky keeping kids busy and happy through the summer months, not to mention battling summer brain drain. Much of the first weeks of school in September are spent with teachers re-teaching what students have forgotten over the summer. Extra t.v., and lazy days of playing are great, but I like to try and make sure my girls are also enjoying a few educational moments too. And, they don’t mind a bit, as long as they don’t know they’re learning. 😉 When Chapters offered us the chance to pick up some great summer reads for the kids, we were all over it. Check out all the details of our fun shopping trip here .
Of course reading is one of the best ways to battle summer brain drain. This past school year my daughter had reading for homework everyday -every single day, whether we were busy that night or not. Sometimes just a tad challenging….but, what a difference it made to her reading. I don’t want us to lose all that progress, so we’ll be trying to keep her in books all summer. I know lots of parents that say their kids don’t like to read, my best advice would be to find a book about something that interests them, and isn’t above their reading level. Chapters really had a great selection, where you could find something on just about anything your kids might be interested in. We picked up a few classics on our recent trip –The Secret Garden, and Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise . I’m looking forward to watching the Secret Garden with Paige after she finishes the book, and for my younger daughter who might not be as into the movie, there’s always the popcorn. 🙂
I really don’t mind spending a little money on some great books, even though I’m fairly frugal -to put it nicely. 😉 Think about how much you’d spend on just one day at an amusement park, by the time you purchased parking, tickets, drinks and food? My girls had $20 each (and I picked up the tax and the little bit over one went), and they each found a classic fiction book, and a great activity book, that will literally keep them busy, happy, and learning for days. We found a great book of science experiments, 101 Great Science Experiments , with fun activities and easy to understand science explanations of what’s happening. Paige started doing her first experiment right away!
Maddie picked out The Big Book of Crafts & Activities, and today we tried out one of the recipes together. You might not think that a book like this has too much educational value, but to get kids reading recipes and instructions, being creative, and using math skills in cooking, I think it really fits the bill and best of all…it’s lots of fun.
Picnic Brownies (adapted from The Big Book of Crafts & Activities )
- 3 oz. dark chocolate
- 11 tbsp butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on low until melted.
2. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and sift in the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Stir to combine.
3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Add this to the chocolate mixture, and stir in the white chocolate chips (or 1 cup of nuts like the book suggests).
4. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray, pour in batter and bake 25 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. (We did the 25 min. suggested by the book, but found they need an additional 20 min. until they were done). Cool, sprinkle with a little icing sugar if you like, cut into squares and enjoy with a good book. 😉
I love to see my kids creating, and loving learning. You know I’m trained as a teacher, so maybe it’s my background showing through, but my experience is that all kids have an innate love for learning, it’s just a matter of finding out what they’re interested in, and giving them material at the appropriate level.
Sometimes it’s difficult in a classroom of kids to meet a student’s individual needs, but summer is the perfect time to offer your little student something in whatever area really appeals to them, and Chapters and their great selection is a great place to start. Whether it’s science experiments, crafts, games, crosswords, Suduko, fiction, non-fiction, or cookbooks, all these things just look like fun to a kid And, they are, but they also have lots of potential for learning too. You’ve heard of hiding veggies in your kids meals, well this is hiding learning in your kids summer activities. 😉
I hope we’ve inspired you to make some summer reading part of your plans this year. Because, with brownie recipes to get you reading, measuring, and eating while you read some more, life really is a party!