Monday, June 21, 2010

Engaging the Kids During Summer Vacation Brings Rewards for Mom

I had the most precious time playing restaurant with the kids tonight. The game started after dinner with them telling me they wanted to open a restaurant. They went as far as to name their restaurant, so I suggested they draw the sign for the restaurant to show me what it would look like.

They did that, and then they drew their menus. I played right along and designed my own sign and menu.

After the signs and menus were designed, the kids took turns serving me at their restaurant. It was so cute to hear them say phrases you might hear a waiter or waitress say, such as, "Broccoli is the side that comes with that. Is that OK?" or "Do you need a few more minutes before you order?"

I learned in a literacy class last summer that this is a great way to expand children's learning opportunities. Instead of just letting them speak to me about what they wanted to do. I asked them to draw/write about it. Then we acted it out.

This is especially beneficial during summer vacation when they are not being stimulated at school. And, the best part was they didn't even realize I was stretching their learning. (Aren't I sneaky?) Plus, it gave us something constructive and fun to do after dinner.

This was definitely the highlight of my day with the kids. I love to see their imaginations at work. But it was even more than that for me -- it was also a time when I was living in the moment. I stopped cleaning up dinner before I was finished (whew...that took effort!) and gave them my full attention. But it was well worth it! Wonder what we'll pretend about tomorrow!

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