TV-Free Ideas for School Kids

History Time Line: Record history at home. Stretch a roll of shelf paper along the floor. Use a ruler to make a line about three feet long. (Use a separate sheet for each child.) Ask your children to fill in the important dates in their own lives, starting with their birth. Those familiar with U.S. history can fill in major dates since the founding of our country. Display these finished time lines in a special place for all to see.

Make a Dictionary: Improve vocabulary and strengthen memory. Get a special, small spiral bound pocket notebook. Encourage your child to write down at least five new words a day. On the back of each sheet, she/he write the definition, or draw/paste on a picture which depicts the meaning. At dinner time, your child should practice using the new words in a sentence/story with you.

Make a Journal:

Get two notebooks - one for yourself and one for your child. Take a few minutes each day to sit together but to write quietly about what happened during the day, feelings, moods, plans for the upcoming week. At the end of the week, instead of using the set-aside time for writing, use it to read aloud to each can read parts of the journal you wish to share. Consider even looking up different types of poetry and try your hand at one poem per week.

Learn about Maps/Globes: Where are places located? Every place has a "global address" that tells exactly where in the world it's located, just as your home has a street address. There are two numbers in a global address -- a number for latitude and one for longitude. If you know these numbers and how to use them, you can find any place in the world and give its absolute location. Why are things located in particular places and how do these places influence our lives? Location can describe how one place relates to another. For example, the Panama Canal was cut across an extremely narrow strip of land in Central America. It provides a shipping lane between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, eliminating the need for long, dangerous journeys around South America. Encourage your children to make their own maps using legends (keys to what the pictures or symbols in a map mean). They can draw fanciful maps of places or journeys they have read about. Older children might draw a layout of their neighborhood.

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