This is year two for our summer journals. I kept the journals that they made below from last year and we will keep writing in them this summer. How fun to keep a running summer journal and see the progress of each child over the years in their handwriting, storytelling and artwork? Not to mention how fun it is to read over them each year and remember all the great times and stories you made together!
*originally posted May 2, 2012
Writing down our stories can help us discover deeper meaning and value, even in the most mundane of daily happenings.
I’ve been seeking to discover a way to instill a love of story in my children. I replay the stories of their lives to them in vivid detail over dinners. I often get requests too. “Mama, tell me the one of when I was a baby and I would toot a lot.” Ok, so the most requested ones aren’t exactly what you would call poetic.
But even those stories bring us together as we re-live our history, understand our present, and look to our future.
In school, my kids participate in weekly writing exercises where they draw a picture and write a story about it. For a summer project, I thought it would be fun (and highly educational, but please don’t tell them) to have each child keep a summer journal. At the completion of the summer they would have an entire book of memories (and hopefully improved penmanship and writing skills….shh!). When I suggested the idea, the kids jumped up and down and wanted to know when they could start. It was April.
So last week, we picked up $.94 cent composition journals. We spent an afternoon arranging paper and stickers with glue-covered fingers. The kids designed their own covers using my embarrassing supply of paper and stickers in the basement, remnants of my former life as a scrapbooker. The entire project cost me $2 out of pocket — so much cheaper than the $12 journals covered in puppies and kitties that they begged for at the store. I told them to trust me — their creations would be much cooler. “But I want pupppiiiieeeess!!!” I ignored them and headed to the check out.
As we were wrapping up our journal-making, one child looked at me and said, “You were right! This is so much better than a puppy journal.” Now that’s a priceless “story.” I will keep that one in my back pocket to pull out every time they think their way is better.
To take the
learning fun one step farther, we made a giant word wall, similar to what their teachers display at school. This is my feeble attempt to instill independence in their writing, develop a love of words, and get a jump start on next year’s sight words for my kindergartner.
My deepest hope and prayer is that someday they will pull this book out of a box in their closet (maybe in the midst of teenage angst) and remember, not just the activities we did together, but remember how much they are loved — by their family and by the Great Storymaker.
For more great summer activities you can do at home, check out this link I found on the Michigan Government’s website. You can download PDFs with literacy and math activities geared for students going into kindergarten through third grade.