When bidding my pre-k students adieu at the end of the year, I am well aware that the progress and learning growth that was made might somehow find itself slipping. The summer slide, as it is often coined, is when students loose some of the skills and knowledge they once had over the summer with no school. So, with that in mind, I always like to make sure my preschool families have something they can look to for some learning fun…. this is where the Preschool Summer Learning Bags come in!
To create these bags, I often consider a number of things… First, what skills do I want my students to continue practicing the most? What info or tools do I want parents to have? And… the important but not so fun one – how much money am I willing to spend.
So, I wanted to share with you what I am giving my students this year. It doesn’t mean it will be the same next year (I like change) and it certainly isn’t the same thing I sent home in years past. But, I feel like it’s what will work for this year!
Inside the Summer Learning Bag (a zip-top bag, nothing fancy), I plan on giving families:
1. Fine Motor Practice: Big Paths and Cutting Shapes (from the Fine Motor At Home Activities Pack). I chose these activities because this is the best spot for most of my class. I may differentiate a couple student’s activities for a better fit, but will use an easier fine motor activity from the same pack.
2. Math Games: I want my kiddos playing games at home! They are easy, fun and something families can have fun doing together (plus, throwing a little math practice in there is never a bad thing!). I am using the Race Games and Tug-O-War game from the At Home Math Games pack. All the directions for the games are set up to be family friendly, so it makes it low-prep!
3. Name Writing: Name writing… oh you are a skill those kindergarten teachers want – and we practice it. But, in the summer will they practice? Hard telling, but by providing parents with a template (like the one we use in the classroom), there is a better chance! I am printing out the last page of the Name Writing Notebook and sending it home (multiple copies).
4. Author Recommendations: I created a document of recommended authors for parents to use to find quality, well-loved children’s authors. They can take the recommendation sheet with them to the library and find some amazing books. There is also a section with book recommendations about starting kindergarten. More than anything else, I want my kiddos reading!
5. Other Items:
> a foam die to play the math games with (Dollar Tree has 4 dice for a dollar – sweet!).
> a golf pencil because post families have no idea about using a smaller pencil for smaller hands.
> some sidewalk chalk – encouraging children to get outside and be creative is always a good thing.
> some bubbles, because honestly, who doesn’t love bubbles? They are kids afterall.
There ya have it. That’s it. That’s all I’m putting in my Preschool Summer Learning Bags. Could I add a lot more? Umm… yes.
But, I’m not going to and here is why…. I don’t want to overwhelm parents. Summer is supposed to be fun, not rigid. I, in no way want my children who had been learning through play and hands-on activities to have to sit and ‘do school’ because I’d sent home worksheets or ridiculous amounts of activities.
Also, these bags may go un-used. I am well aware of this fact when putting them together, but at least I can say I tried! These bags aren’t something all parents want to take part in and that is ok. These bags may also be something that parents start the summer off doing but as the summer goes on, they don’t. And that is okay too (because I’ve so been there).
So, in short… could I add so much more? Yes, SO much. I have so much I want to educate parents on and share with families, but I know it needs to be in bite-sized chunks. Ever looked at something your child brought home from school that was overwhelming and instantly made you think of the amount of time YOU would be having to dedicate to the project? Yea, I didn’t want these bags to be that.
I hope it’s helped to get a peek inside my Preschool Summer Learning Bags. Let me know if you have a version of these bags, or if you do something totally different. I’d love to hear it!