summer Posts

How to Broaden Your Child’s Vocabulary This Summer

Fun-legos-bright5 Fun Activities That Put the Focus on Words


During the summer, when school is out of session, your child’s word choice may dwindle down to a few common phrases: “It’s hot!” “I’m bored!” “Mom, [insert request or complaint here]!”

By the time summer comes to an end, you may even wonder if all those hours your child spent studying spelling and vocabulary words during the school year were even worth it. It’s as though a leak was sprung in your child’s head and the first thing to go was language!

Well, have no fear! There are plenty of activities you can do with your child this summer so they can continue to learn new words in fun, engaging ways (and, in some cases, without being hot!).

Below are five games or activities to plug up that “summer brain leak” and keep that knowledge flowing in!


Kid-Spying-Telescope1. Super SpyDay!

You will need:

  • A notebook
  • A writing utensil
  • Sticky notes
  • A top-secret prize
  • A costume for your child to wear as a “super spy disguise” (optional)

Instructions:

  • Before the mission begins, select a word of the day.
  • Hide sticky notes with this chosen word written on them throughout the house.
  • Give your child their mission: to find as many instances of the word of the day as possible, recording their findings in their notebook. Before they head out on their mission, be sure to explain to your child what the word means and how to spell it. As your child is searching for the word throughout the day, encourage them to learn how to use it in a sentence as well.
  • Ask your child to record in their notebook each time they come across the word. Have them
    • Search throughout the house for the sticky notes
    • Look for the word in books, reading out loud the sentence in which the word is used
    • Listen for the word being said on TV (you can skip this suggestion if you are limiting summer screen time).
    • Ask others what they think the word means
  • At the end of the day, have your child return their notebook full of research in exchange for whatever prize or reward you have chosen.

Child-Drawing-Crayons2. For the Artist

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Drawing utensils

Instructions:

  • Have your child write out a list of five to ten vocabulary words on separate sheets of paper.
  • Encourage them to decorate each sheet with images of whatever the word is. If the vocabulary word is not a drawable object, they can draw out how it makes them feel instead.
  • If you want this activity to help expel some energy, spread the sheets of paper out and have your child run or jump from one word to the next as you call out the word or definition.

Water-Balloon3. Water Balloon Smash & Splash [Source: https://www.mybigfathappylife.com/water-balloon-fight-with-sight-words-and-cvc-words/]

You will need:

  • Water balloons
  • Chalk

Instructions:

  • Write out the words your child has been learning on the sidewalk or driveway, being sure to leave some space between the words.
  • Call out a word, then have your child throw a balloon at the corresponding word.
  • For an extra challenge, have them use the word in a sentence before they throw the balloon, or give them a definition and have them throw the balloon at the word that you are describing.

Child-in-sandbox4. Sandbox Diggin’ and Matching

You will need:

  • A sandbox
  • A sand shovel
  • Vocabulary words and definitions, written out on little pieces of paper and covered in clear tape

Instructions:

  • Bury the slips of paper with each word or definition throughout the sandbox.
  • Hand your kid a shovel and let them have at it! After your child unearths all the words and definitions, ask them to match each word to its definition.
  • For an added challenge, as your child finds words, have them use the word in a sentence. As they discover definitions, have them guess the word that corresponds to that definition.

5. Letter Writing

For your ten-to-fourteen-year-old reader, Just Sayin’  by Dandi Daley Mackall is the perfect way to grow their vocabulary. Told through letters, Just Sayin tells the story of an almost-blended family that experiences a breakup between the mother and father before the wedding. The kids attempt to get the family back together and get caught up in a game show that focuses on “the art of insult.” As only Dandi can accomplish, this story weaves together, in a contemporary way, an old-time game show, letter writing, outstanding vocabulary, and reminders from God’s Word that taming our tongues is both difficult and important!Just-Sayin-Dandi

After your child finishes reading the book, they can practice using new words they have learned by writing letters to friends or family on this free, printable Just Sayin’ stationeryJust Sayin'- Stationery

 


Did you try one of these activities? We’d love to see you and your kids in action! Use the hashtag #TyndaleKids on social media to share the fun with us.

14 New Activities for Your Next Summer Road Trip

Tyndale Kids

van-in-parking-lotThis summer, we asked the Tyndale Kids Team about their favorite summer road-trip activities. These fabulous ideas are sure to result in endless hours of road-tripping fun, this summer and beyond. Enjoy!


From Teri McKinley (Coauthor of Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? and Does God Take Naps?):

  • Pictionary Alphabet Game. While in the car, give each passenger some paper and a pencil. As you travel, draw pictures of things you see that start with each letter of the alphabet. For example, for the letter A, draw an armadillo you see on the side of the road; for B, draw a bumper sticker you see on the back of a car. The first person to draw pictures for all twenty-six letters of the alphabet wins! Consider giving the winner a prize, such as choosing where you will eat or picking a treat at the gas station.coloring-drawing-markers-activities

From Kathryn O’Brien (Author of the “My First Bible Memory” board books):

  • Endless Coloring. Let your kids draw and color to their hearts’ content without ever running out of paper! Here’s how: Check the dollar store for an eight-by-ten-inch picture frame. Cut a piece of white construction paper to size, slip it into the photo slot, and replace the back of the frame. Buy a package of dry-erase markers, bring along an old sock for an eraser, and voila! You have a do-it-yourself mini-whiteboard. The easy wipe-off boards can also be used for games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Pictionary, or Dots and Boxes.

From Sarah Jean Collins (Author of God Made the World ):

  • Person, Place, or Thing. One game we always played as a family while growing up was Person, Place, or Thing. It’s basically the same as Twenty Questions, but without the limit on the number of questions. One person picks something that is either a person, place, or thing, and everyone guesses what it is by asking yes or no questions. When we play this game with our four-year-old daughter, we let her be on a team with either me or her dad. It’s a simple game, but it can get competitive; and our daughter’s contributions are always entertaining.

microphone-sing-karaoke-choreography

From Linda Howard, Associate Publisher for Tyndale Kids:

  • Family Karaoke. When my daughter was young and our family took road trips together, we would create a playlist of favorite songs to listen to while we were on the road. We’d sing together at the top of our lungs and make up silly choreography to go along with the lyrics. My husband, my daughter, and I still talk about the fun we had while traveling together!
  • Scattergories for Little People. Another game that my grandkids love to play on long road trips resembles the game of Scattergories. Someone in the car picks a letter of the alphabet, and the whole car then works together to come up with as many words as they can that begin with that letter. You’d be amazed at the hours of entertainment this simple game provides for little ones!

blue-us-mailbox

From Jesse Doogan, Tyndale Kids Acquisitions Editor:

  • Can’t Talk until You See. I was in my midtwenties before I realized that not everyone plays Can’t Talk until You See. It’s basically I Spy, but it has the added benefit of competitive quietness. The person who is “it” chooses an object, such as a red mailbox, and everyone else has to find that object. While the players are searching, no one is allowed to talk—not even the person who is “it.” (This rule was added as soon as we kids were old enough to figure out loopholes! Around that same time, we also learned that mom is always allowed to talk and cannot lose the game.) When one of the searchers finds the item, they yell “there it is!” That person becomes “it” and chooses the next object.

From Tim Wolf, Tyndale Kids Buyer:

  • The Name Game. This road-trip game is perfect for your slightly older travelers. To start the game, decide on a theme for the first round, such as “Movie Titles.” The first player comes up with a word or phrase that fits that theme. The second player must use the last letter of the first player’s word or phrase as the starting letter in their own response. Keep the list going until a player is stumped by a specific letter.

yellow-car-arizona-license-plate

From Emily Bonga, Publishing and Marketing Coordinator:

  • The State License Plate Game. Work together as a family to find as many different state license plates as possible throughout your trip. Each time you find a new one, brainstorm the different things you know about that state. For example, identify the state’s major cities, popular sports teams, climate, etc. If anyone in the car has visited the state, invite that person to share favorite memories from their trip.

From Kristi Gravemann, Tyndale Kids Marketing Manager:

  • The Shared Story Game. One person in the car starts by telling a story. It can be something as simple as a sentence or two, just to get the story going. Then, another passenger pipes in, providing an additional sentence or so to continue the narrative. Keep alternating, with each person adding a bit to the story when it’s their turn. This game is a fun way to practice teamwork and to use imagination at the same time!
  • The Imagination Game. My daughters love to look around at our fellow travelers and imagine where they are going. These can be people in an overhead airplane or driving in the next lane on the highway. Give each traveler a backstory, answering questions such as, Where are they coming from? and Where are they headed? This game is a fun way to spark creativity in your kids during a long drive.

The-gospel-according-to-john

From Crystal Bowman (Coauthor of Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? and Does God Take Naps?):

  • ABC Bible Characters. For every letter of the alphabet, think of as many names as possible from the Bible. For example, A: Adam, Abel, Aaron, Abigail, Anna. Write the names on a piece of paper and see which letter has the most names. Try to do this without using your Bible, but some letters might be challenging, so if you need a little help, open it up and see what you can find.

Krom Kelsey O’Kelley, Tyndale Kids Production Assistant:

  • Road Trip Trivia. When my family went on road trips, we took along a pack of United States Trivia cards. We left the game board behind and brought only the cards and a pad of paper. The paper was used to keep track of points for correctly answered questions. I highly recommend bringing cards from your favorite trivia game on your next road trip.

From Sarah Rubio, Tyndale Kids Editor:

  • The “I’m Going on a Trip” Alphabet Game. One game that I loved growing up was the “I’m Going on a Trip” alphabet game. The first person says, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m bringing [something that starts with the letter A].” The next person repeats the first person’s item and adds something that starts with the letter B. This continues until the last person is required to repeat the entire alphabet of items.
  • I also love audiobooks for road trips! We’ve listened to some Focus on the Family Radio Theater albums as a family, such as this Ultimate Road Trip Family Vacation Collection, which I definitely recommend.

 


Here’s to an eventful, fun-filled family road trip this summer!
Did you try out any of these road-trip ideas? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below and let us know about your experience.


bible-sleuth-activity-books

Eight Ways to Soak Up the Last Days of Summer by Kristi Gravemann

Tyndale Kids

sunshine-on-the-trees

As the mom of two active young girls, I look forward to the more relaxed schedule that summer break allows. I relish the room for spontaneous fun, and we take full advantage of the summer sunshine that allows us to get outdoors before the cold weather visits again.

Every year our tradition is to make a list of the things we want to do before summer ends. Our list usually includes things like finding a new park to explore, catching frogs, and getting ice cream from our local ice cream shop. We enjoy simple pleasures like Popsicles in the backyard, making sand castles in the sandbox, swinging so high our feet almost touch the clouds, and catching lightning bugs as the sun sets on a blue-sky day.

If you’re like me, when the summer starts to wind down and school looms on the horizon, it’s easy to get caught up in back-to-school planning. But don’t let that stop you from squeezing in a few more summer memories. Here are some of my favorite ideas:


1. Host a drive-in movie night right in your driveway. Grab some cardboard boxes that are big enough for kids to sit in, and then round up your kids and their friends. Have the kids decorate the boxes to look like cars. When the sun gets low in the sky, project a kid-friendly movie onto your garage door or a sheet you hang from your garage while the kids sit in their “cars” in the driveway. Serve popcorn, juice boxes, and other You can also do this indoors if you have the space.

boy-eating-ice-cream

2. Make ice cream in a bag. After enjoying your ice cream on a hot summer afternoon, make extra and take some to your neighbors. Be sure to label the bags with the ingredients in case anyone has food allergies.

3. Create a treasure hunt in your backyard. Make a map or leave a series of clues that your kids can follow to find the treasure. The treasure can be items from the dollar section at your local store or something else that will appeal to your kids. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can easily bring this treasure hunt indoors.

4. Have a family night. You can host family night inside your house or in the backyard. Make your own pizzas, play your favorite games, and do some fun activities. You might want to introduce new games and activities by taking advantage of free downloadable games like The Story Travelers Bible game or the Make Your Own Chooser activity from Tyndale Kids.

girl-playing-with-bubbles

5. Make your own bubbles. You’ll need:

  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup of blue dish detergent
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin (sold in craft stores)

Mix all three ingredients together and let the mixture sit for at least an hour, although 24 hours works best. Make bubble wands using two drinking straws and a length of yarn 6 to 8 times longer than the length of one straw. Thread the yarn through both straws and tie the yarn ends together. Your child can hold one straw in each hand while dipping into the bubble mixture. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few dips before you start seeing big bubbles. (Note: It’s best to blow the bubbles in the shade on a wind-free day.)

6. Take a train ride. If you have a commuter train near you, hop on the train with your kiddos and get off at another stop just to have lunch. Trust me—your kids will love taking the train to lunch rather than the car. And if you’re feeling adventurous before heading home, explore the local sites near the train station.

7. Stargaze. Look up information about the constellations on the Internet or at your local library, and then drive to an open area away from city lights to see if you can spot the constellations in the night sky.

bookshelves-at-a-library

8. Go to the library. Speaking of libraries, if you want to get out of the house and are looking for fun, indoor activities, many libraries offer wonderful free programs for the whole family throughout the summer.


No matter what you do these last few weeks of summer, may you find refreshment and make joy-filled family memories.

Psst! If you have some other favorite ideas to add, be sure to leave them in the comments below.


Kristi Gravemann is the Marketing Manager for Tyndale Kids. She has spent over 16 years immersed in marketing and product development for a variety of globally recognized brands. Kristi is convinced that if scientists were to study her DNA, they would discover a children’s book gene. Reading and a love of learning have been hallmarks of Kristi’s life since childhood. She brings that same passion and enthusiasm to her marketing role on the Children and Youth team at Tyndale. She’s beyond blessed to market fantastic children’s books with solid, Biblical values that parents can trust.

Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway!

Tyndale Kids

Summer is finally here, and a break from school brings time for family adventures . . . including road trips! Keep your kids entertained with hours of car-friendly fun, found in this Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway!

road-trip-giveaway-image

This prize pack includes:

Enter below for your chance to win!

Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway


For more ideas on building a road trip kit for your kids, check out this post!

Getting Ready for Summer by Sherry Kyle

Tyndale Kids

Summer is right around the corner, and for most moms, this can be an overwhelming time. Sign-ups for summer camp and swim lessons are on the budget-conscious mom’s mind and so is the need for family fun! Try these action steps to help everyone transition to a stress-free summer.

calendar-ready-for-summer

1. Calendar. Hang a calendar in a prominent place in the kitchen and have your child make an X at the end of each day. Kids love to see the countdown to summer, and it will help moms mentally prepare too.

2. Family Meeting. Now is a good time to sit down with your kids and discuss summer plans. Family vacation? Once a week beach day? An activity or team they want to join? Kids need something to look forward to, and when everyone is on the same page, it makes for a smoother transition.

swimsuit-girl-on-beach

3. Stock Up. Make sure your child’s closet is stocked with plenty of shorts and t-shirts. A new swimsuit, if needed, is good to have on hand and so is a beach towel and a pair of flip-flops. Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit, as well as an adequate supply of bug repellent and sunscreen.

4. Friends. The hardest thing about summer for kids is taking a break from their friends, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Make sure to exchange phone numbers with the parents before the school year is out, and plan times to meet over the summer months.

5. Routine. As much as we’d like to think we’re going to keep the same schedule, it’s best to let that one slide. Let’s face it, summer is a whole lot different from the school year, so why try to keep the same pace? Some routine, like meals and sleeping habits, are good to maintain but, otherwise, enjoy the kickback days of summer.ice-cream-cone

6. Meals. Speaking of meals, summer is a good time to change things up. Get your kids involved with the planning. Pizza and ice cream on Tuesdays? Hamburgers on Thursdays? Why not! Add several picnics at local parks or interesting sights, and you’re sure to have a relaxed summer!

7. Books. Keep your kids’ minds in gear over the summer, and schedule visits to your local library to get a stack of books to read. Have a goal and give rewards, such as a movie or a trip to the local museum. (Remember, audiobooks and comic books count as reading too!) Summer is also a good time to hire a tutor if your child needs help with school.

diy-summer-journal

8. Creativity. There will definitely be times when your kids are bored, so make sure you leave wiggle room in your summer to be creative. These are a few ideas: bake cookies, make an obstacle course in the backyard, go on a nature walk, paint a picture, plant a garden, or keep a journal (like this DIY journal!).

lemons-for-lemonade-stand

9. Community. Consider doing a few community service projects with your kids this summer, such as organizing a food drive in your neighborhood, hosting a garage sale or lemonade stand then donating the proceeds to your favorite charity, creating care packages for the homeless, picking up litter at your local beach or park, making cards for soldiers, or visiting the elderly.

10. You. With everyone home for the summer, make sure you take time for YOU! A hot bath, a trip to the nail salon, or an afternoon with a friend will rejuvenate you and keep the stress away. Take a few moments every day for some deep breaths and remember to capture every moment. Summer will be over before you know it!


sherry-kyle-authorSherry Kyle has written several books for tween girls, along with women’s fiction. Her award-winning book for tween girls, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style, was awarded the God Mom’s Choice Award. Her second nonfiction book for girls, The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room, was nominated for the Christian Retailers Best Awards. Most recently, Sherry is the author of Love, Lexi, a unique fictional story combined with a devotional and journal to allow readers to learn to seek God first above all else. 

 

 


For additional tips on how to maximize summer fun while cutting down on stress, check out these suggestions from Tyndale Kids author Kathryn O’Brien!