Posts tagged summer learning
5 Places in Your Home that can Help Your Child Learn
Use these five places in your home as natural spaces for learning. Some creative ideas you'd never expect, but ones you'll use after reading this post!

Use these five places in your home as natural spaces for learning. Some creative ideas you'd never expect, but ones you'll use after reading this post!

As a teacher alum (AKA former teacher), I'm always interested in finding natural, positive ways that my children can fall in love with learning. We (my husband and I) utilize the summer months and casual moments together to reinforce what happens in the classroom as well as open up new avenues for curiosity and learning.

Your home can be a fun place to bring subject matter to life, and to practice and hone in on the challenges your child might be encountering. Here are 5 places in our home that we use for learning:

Use your stairways as a place to high five review learning concepts like site words and times tables. As she/he goes up the stairs, your child says the problem out loud and then gives a high five to the paper.

Use your stairways as a place to high five review learning concepts like site words and times tables. As she/he goes up the stairs, your child says the problem out loud and then gives a high five to the paper.


This is a fun exercise in reviewing new and old information! I saw it over at Creekside Learning, and we had to give a it a try. (Ssshh, don't tell my kids they're learning as they're having fun high-fiving.)

The idea is this: Trace your hand onto sheets of paper and add facts that you want to remember. Think facts like multiplication tables or sight words. We have two sets up right now - one for my Kindergartener and one for the 3rd grader (see above). As each goes up or down the stairs, they say the problem (e.g.: "4 times 10 equals 40") aloud and then slap the hand. Using their hands and minds in collaboration helps children to reach a new level of connection. And why not have something to do as you go up and down the stairs? High fives!!


Natural opportunities for learning come up all the time in the kitchen! Measuring ingredients and learning fractions go hand in hand. Doubling recipes or halving them bring out the division skills. Authentic world cuisines bring in history and geography. 

We've brought the kids into the kitchen more and more to make great food and to learn great skills. Here are some easy tips on how to have more success (and joy!) with the kids. 


Sometimes the learning can be very casual and independent, too. Think of the natural places your children go for comfort or rest. For my children, there are comfy chairs near our sunny windows that are always filled with their presence. Not coincidentally we try to keep the shelves and tables near the chairs filled with books that my kids might want to pick up. I'm all for increasing their associations with comfort and reading. :) 

I like to switch out books for the holidays to catch their attention as well as move new series into the space. We also keep our new library reads in this space so that their reading choices are at hand just when they want to reach for them.


A lot of our best thinking happens early in the morning, and the breakfast table can be a good environment for learning, too! Sometimes we use our kitchen's chalkboard wall to learn a new word or try a challenge word problem together. If your child is more on the quiet side first thing in the morning, consider leaving out a relevant newspaper article for him/her to read or even a maze to do while enjoying their morning meal.


Ok, maybe I'm stretching the definition of home for this one, but for all of you parents out there who spend hours transporting your children every week, you most likely would consider your car an extension of your home. And all that time in transit can be great learning time, too! If motion sickness is not an issue for your child, have them keep a book next to their seat to read as you drive. If it is, consider checking out audio books that you can cue up for errand running and longer trips. 

Keep a BrainQuest pack of questions in the glove compartment that you can ask each other when you're getting gas or driving to school. 

And most importantly, show your children that you're passionate about learning and growing. Join in the fun with them, and you'll also be building special family moments!!

How do you incorporate learning into your home? We're always hoping to add new ideas!

xoxo, MJ

Mommy & Daddy School

Hi friends! This is totally what I'm feeling right now (so I had to make a pinnable. That's normal, right?). I have this image of my daughter going over to our outdoor faucet and leaning down to take a drink to discover that the water is bursting out of the pipes full blast as she goes to take a drink.

And it's all good.

I have always loved the feeling of going to bed exhausted (let's pretend this is a feeling in past tense) from a well-lived, emotional, love-ful day. We're having a lot of those, and I feel blessed.

However, the organized list of activities for Mommy & Daddy School is not quite what I had expected. As you remember from last week, we base our summer learning together on what makes our children curious. For blogging purposes, I'd like this all to be content-rich, developmentally-appropriate, superior learning.

But, this is real life, and I'm the momma here, and that title trumps blogger in any old Scrabble match (even if it has fewer letters). So, here's what we've had cooking for Mommy & Daddy school. We'll work in our bonus point fun (more on that later) and responsibility songs (ditto on more later) as the weeks go on, with the hopes that these might be useful to you.

Three themes have emerged thus far from our learning: tie dye is unbelievably amazing, scavenger hunts make any kind of learning more fun, and this country we live in is pretty stupendous. (Can I tell you more about the second two in a bit?).

Okay, so let me lay out these fun times so that you can pin, bookmark, star this and do it with your kiddos (or friends).

Tie dying is easy, messy, and perfection for summer. You need:

White (I recommend) cotton apparel - 60% cotton or more
Dye - we used a packaged kit from Tulip that was great and ready to go with squirt bottles half-filled with dye (retail $15)
Rubber bands and gloves (already in our kit)
Wide open space and a willingness to get dye on any of your clothes

We wanted a spiral design in the middle so I grabbed the center point of the shirt and twisted. As the twist got bigger, I placed the ends of the shirt around in a wrapped fashion, and I rubber-banded the shirt, creating four sections. This made it super easy for each child to know where to put their colors.
Some wanted two colors, some wanted all colors, and sectioning it off like this helped them to understand color blocking and bleeding a bit better. We found that putting on way more dye than you think you need is best. Soak it in color!
Once saturated, I wrapped them in plastic wrap to intensify the color. We kept them out in the sun all for about six hours, and I then washed out the dye in cool water. Check out the rainbow sink!
After the water runs clear, which was about 4 minutes per shirt for us, wring out the water and pop it into your washer, with a high water, hot water setting. I kept reds separate from blues just to be sure there would be no bleeding.
 We let ours drip dry (be careful they do drip color), and I was so happy with the brilliance of color.
The kids from big to small loved this. My favorite part of the adventure: these rainbow, water raisin piggies.

Take some time to tie dye this summer. It's addictive.

Join me back here tomorrow to learn how we're going to L-O-V-E our job thanks to Gretchen Rubin and The Happiness Project in our Summer of Happiness bookclub.

Thanks for hanging out, friend. I can't wait to show you more of what's going on over here. Have you started your own version of Mommy & Daddy school? Tell us all about it!