No more teachers, no more books, no more homework and teacher looks. Summer can be a time for students to follow their passions, and to have unlimited time to create. Time that might be taken up with homework, studying, after-school activities, etc.
Disclaimer: I'm a huge advocate for purposeful instructional technology, but believe that kids need to be outside as much as possible. I loved playing outside all day every day when I was a kid. However, I know there are times when kids CAN'T be outside--like when Alabama temperatures reach the upper 90's.
Here are some great things that I recommend for kids of ALL ages that allow students to continue the design thinking process at home, and allow them to be CREATORS.
1. Foldify App for iPad
A friend told me about this app right at the end of the school year. I rarely EVER buy apps, but this is one worth $3.99. You can create your own 3D images, and then send them to a printer, cut them out, and fold them. If you need ideas, you can browse the gallery of 3D figures, and print others' creations. We were having Space Week at our school the week I found out about this app, and students were able to print a rocket ship, and fold it. Anything and everything you can think of is on this app--including Disney characters--my absolute favorite!
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.dudecraft.com/2012/12/foldify.html
What are some educational things you can do with this app?
-Have your child create characters from a book they are reading. Once everybody is printed and folded, have them recreate scenes from the book.
-Your child can research their favorite animal, create their animal, and build a habitat for it.
This app not only allows students to create, but folding and cutting paper helps with fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
2. Scratch Jr./Hopscotch-FREE
We use Scratch Jr. and Hopscotch for our ETA program. These apps allow students to create stories, games, etc. using coding. Scratch Jr. is aimed at PreK-2nd grade students, and Hopscotch can be used for any age level.
Scratch Jr. has children use basic coding skills to drag and drop characters or "sprites" from one location to another. They can change the background and even add their own voices. Hopscotch takes things one step further, and allows students to add variables, change the degrees in turns, and so much more. There are also plenty of youtube videos out there that teach students how to make their own game on Hopscotch. It definitely teaches them computer science while reinforcing math skills.
This website is also something we use in our program. Using virtual legos, students can build and create almost anything. It kind of gives them the "feel" of Minecraft, but in a very controlled environment. You don't need a google account to build, but you do need one if you need to save your project.
4. Do Ink App-$2.99
Again, I hate purchasing apps, and tried several green screen apps that were free before I purchased this one. Do Ink is very kid friendly. How neat would it be for your child to create their own movie, with them in it? It's possible with the Do Ink app. From stop-go animation to full-blown movies, the possibilities are endless. Don't have a green screen? Buy a green trifold at Hobby Lobby--and don't forget the 40% off coupon you can use on their mobile app!
Want more ideas? Have your kids use their Foldify figures to create a movie. Or build lego creations to use as more scenery.
5. Paper, pencils, cardboard, duct tape, glue.--FREE
Last but not least, give kids the above supplies, and I guarantee you that you will be surprised at what they can create. Throw in some batteries, copper wire, and string, and you might have something that is moving and lighting up. The best memories I have of summer are ones that include cardboard boxes, monopoly money, our "store" window in our cardboard general store, and endless laughter.
More resources to come!