Here are a few fun things to do with children to keep academic skills sharp

August 09, 2002

  • Go to community events involving history, culture, art, music, storytelling or areas of interest to your children.

  • Visit museums of art or history to look at displays and meet artists and historians. Explore the area's geology and natural history at Sideling Hill Exhibit Center, on Interstate 68 near Hancock.

  • Ask your child to fill in the blank:

    "I've always wanted to know about _______________." Follow up at the library or on the Web.

  • Find out what skills and hobbies friends, relatives and neighbors have and would be willing to share.

  • Set up an e-mail pen pal for your child with a cousin or distant friend. Pen pals in Wesel, Germany, may be found by contacting Karen Giffin, information officer with the City of Hagerstown, at 301-790-3200.

  • Have your child plan a daytrip. Give them a budget and resources to find places to eat, shop and park the car. Have them estimate the total mileage of the day.

  • Save coins in a jar. Once a week, have your child organize them, count them and roll them. Add up the total.

  • Write letters to grandparents, even if they live across town. If a child is young and still learning, offer encouragement. Teachers say perfect spelling and grammar are not as important as enjoying the act of writing.

  • Work on age-appropriate word games with your child such as crosswords, word scrambles and word searches.

  • Discuss charts and graphs in newspapers and magazines to make sure your child can make sense of information presented visually.

  • Pick a handful of stocks and follow their ups and downs for a week or two. Chart the results. Total up how much your investment earned or lost.

  • Chart the price of gas for a month. Find out why gas prices fluctuate.

  • Get a library card for your child and use it weekly. Going to a library regularly not only emphasizes reading but also responsibility in returning borrowed material.

  • Visit a meeting of the school board or city council. Watch elected leaders deal with the issues of government. Afterward, discuss what happened. Talk about representative government.

- Chris Copley

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