4 cool school projects
By Gail Belsky
School projects are a great way to tap into your child's creativity, but sticking to traditional posters and brochures doesn't leave much to the imagination. Exploring different creative outlets lets your children express themselves in new ways -- and really connect with the topic they're studying. These four ideas are guaranteed to boost your child's creativity, curiosity and learning!
Kids use technology every day: for fun, socializing and expressing themselves. Why not use it for school projects too? The next time your child has a science experiment to document or display, suggest creating a website, blogging about it or recording it and putting it up on YouTube (taking all necessary safety and privacy precautions, of course). This way, kids can get instant feedback from friends, family and maybe even the teacher!
Spread the News
The nation's first Thanksgiving is ancient history to a child, but writing about it for the local newspaper or nightly news report will make it seem like it's happening today. Buy pre-cut newsprint from the craft store and help your child "lay out" the front page. Or record her leading with the story on the nightly news. She can even dress the part with a store-bought or handmade costume (which can do double duty at Halloween).
Anything you can glue down you can also dangle -- off a mobile. With these creative presentations, your child can use items of any shape, size and texture to present the topic. Doing a project on the Serengeti? Instead of cutting and pasting photos of elephants pulled from the Internet, have him string up plastic ones from the dollar store. (You may even have some buried in the toy box.) Add a pair of toy binoculars and a small container of sand, and his presentation takes on a whole new dimension!
What if your child is studying weather and his teacher assigns a project on hurricanes? He could read about them and make a collage of images -- or he can "experience" them firsthand. Have your kid create a character who's been affected by the storm. Maybe he's a weatherman who braves the elements all night long or a firefighter who's out rescuing stranded animals. Your child can tell the story of that character using any medium he chooses: a play or movie, a written diary or a scrapbook. By living through it, your child can know -- and show -- what this topic is really about.
Gail Belsky has worked on a variety of women's publications, including Parents, Working Mother and All You, and she recently wrote a book for women entitled The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life. She is the managing editor of Your Family Today.
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