## Secret Code For Kids { Math Activity }

My son loves math and spies so this secret code for kids activity is right up his alley. Math is one way he bonds with his dad .In our 45 Ways To Show Dad You Love Him #29 is ” Do math drills together”  and they really do love doing it. I prefer more playful ways to teach math and I hope between mom and dad my son has a good foundation of support as he learns. This math activity is geared towards kindergarten through 2nd grade but you could adapt it to your child’s level easily. Check out the steps below for my suggestions how to adapt it.

1. Gather your materials. All you need are 2 pieces of paper as fancy or as plain as you wish, a marker and pencil.
2. Start by deciding what secret message you are going to write out. and places dashes on the paper. For older children make more complicated phrases and include punctuation. For younger children make sure that you are creating a secret message they will recognize like their name.
3. Write out the key.
4. Write the clues. For my son I used simple math equations but for younger children you could just use numbers that match up.
5. Time to crack the code!
6. He had a blast – there were a lot of equations and while some were simple, some were tough. I like to balance out challenges with easier ones that help create a sense of confidence.  You may want to have some manipulatives on hand for your child to use . We grabbed some googly eyes for my son to use for some of the clues.
7. Getting my son to practice handwriting is tough so sneaking it in with math is my secret weapon. After figuring out a few clues he discovered he had to write his letters more carefully so he could read the message once he had all the clues. This made him slow down which is a challenge at the best of times.
8. He did it ! Being the just kid that he is he flipped it over and included his own message.

How do you sneak learning in with your kids during the summer?  For more summer learning ideas check out our Pinterest Boards . I pin new ideas daily ( sometimes hourly… )

## Book

Detective Camp by Ron Roy is a perfect book to read with this activity. My son and I just finished it tonight. In this easy read chapter book three friends are off to summer camp but it’s not just any summer camp it’s Detective Camp!  I really love this book because not only does it talk about summer camp , friendship and solving mysteries it also introduces kids to Grandma Moses and art forgery. There is even a hidden message that readers must piece together . My 6 year old loved it and even though he is not a reluctant reader the hidden message would be a great motivator for kids who are less excited to read.

This post contains an affiliate link.

Our Summer Reading Challenge is on fire! We can do this , our goal of 25, 000 books read is totally attainable .  Please if you haven’t sent in your reading totals do it right now, it will take you like 45 seconds to fill out the form and it’s your entry for a chance to win the end of challenge sweepstakes too.  Think of all the books you can buy with a \$50 Amazon.com gift card.

If you haven’t been part of our reading challenge before check out  all the details  and FAQ here but in a nutshell you read books , tally them , fill in our form once a week and help us reach our 25, 000 books read goal. In return each one of your entries will give you a chance to win a \$50 Amazon.com gift card at the end of the summer to buy more books ( or toys, or shoes… ) .

Everything you need :

Printable Tally Sheet  this is an optional printable for you to keep track of your books at home all week long.

Online Form this is what you fill out to add your books to our grand tally every week .This is also your sweepstakes entry form, one entry per week max.

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Official Rules
This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must fill out this form. 1 winning participator will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Sunday August 26th 2012 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive a \$50 Amazon.com gift card valued at approximately \$50. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their email address to send the gift card to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

## Summer Reading Challenge -10,000 Books!

We have read over 10000 books!  I am giddy as I type this because you are all doing so well remembering to read during your busy summer days.  Remember that reading comes in many forms and ebooks count too! If you need a great free picture book App try MeMeTales E-Reader , we have been working with MeMeTales and love their content as well as passion for making reading fun in all forms.

If you haven’t joined our Summer Reading Challenge yet you are not too late. All the details are here but the gist of it is that you read with your kids, tally up how many books you have read, submit a tally sheet once per submission period ( see below) and then you are automatically entered to win a \$50 Amazon.com gift card at the end of the summer. Pretty cool!

Submission Periods :

June 3-9th , 10th -16th , 17th- 23rd , 24th-30th

July 1st-7th , 8th-14th, 15th- 21st , 22nd-28th

July 29th – August 4th

August 5th-11th , 12th-18th , 19th -25th.

The winner will be drawn on the 26th of August.

## Superhero School – Learning Activities

This activity doesn’t just have to be for superheroes, any theme could be turned into a “school” from fairies, to dog trainers, firefighter to princesses! This model is a fun way to work on basic skills that kids tend to get sloppy on during the summer when days are filled with more exuberant play. Spending a quiet time here or there still playing but working on skills at the same time helps kids stay on track while having fun. So turn learning activities into a super fun school with this model.

1. Before you gather your materials decide what skills you want to work on. Math, Letter recognition, Sight Words, Fine Motor, Patterning...  you choose. Try to make sure that you don’t overwhelm your child, 2-3 options is probably enough.Remember to you aren’t testing your child you are using pretend play and activities to learn and have fun.
2. Gather the materials needed for the “school ” of your choice. I wanted to work on my son’s fine motor, writing and counting.
3. Our first lesson was “Bomb Squad” . His goal was to pick out the yellow, green and blue bombs ( aka pompoms) from the container to keep the city safe!  What this teaches is color recognition, counting and using the tongs is great for fine motor.
4. Next up we had “Power Station” a super simple math activity that he places the correct number of stickers in the columns. Also I again worked in fine motor with the action of peeling the sticker off. I’m so tricky yo.
5. Finally I decorated a workbook to look like a Batman journal to encourage some superhero reports. My son is not the most excited writer so anything that will encourage it without pushing is something I look for. This did the trick .
6. Do not be empty handed after the tasks are completed – I made him a super fast medal like the family medals we made a while back to congratulate him on completing his super hero training!

## Super Hero Board Book

all book lists include affiliate links

My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz.

I am just reviewing one book today because I want to really focus on it. It’s a rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less,  about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into super heroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , he is just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger children pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark!

We are seeing how many books as a community we can read, so add yours and you will be entered into a drawing to win an Amazon.com gift card! In just over 2 weeks our readers have read more than 2700 books!! If you haven’t started submitting your tally, you are not too late join in any time. It’s never too late to start reading ( or reading more) with your kids. For all the details check out our announcement post.

I hope everything is clear for our super Summer Reading Challenge but here is a quick review – I will post these reminders every Saturday but you can submit your tally any day as long as it’s only once per submission period ( see below). I want to give people ample opportunities to win the \$50 Amazon Gift Card but it’s got to be fair, so one tally( which is also your entry for the prize) per period is in my books totally fair.

Submission Periods :

June 3-9th , 10th -16th , 17th- 23rd , 24th-30th

July 1st-7th , 8th-14th, 15th- 21st , 22nd-28th

July 29th – August 4th

August 5th-11th , 12th-18th , 19th -25th.

Amazon.com Gift Card Winner will be drawn August 26th

## Submit Your Tally Sheet Here

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Also all you parents do not forget about out Parenting Book Club. We will discuss this months book NEXT week Sunday June 26th live on our Facebook page at 8pm EST , and the questions will be posted in the book club post for all to review and add comment to ( if you aren’t on Facebook) later that evening. Want to know what we are reading? Check out our Parenting Book Club here.