Editor's note: Jerdine Nolen today writes about activities for making reading, writing, thinking and listening connections. Her column appears biweekly.
As vacation memories are stored away and we hunker down for the long trek through fall and winter, hold on to summer travel just a little bit longer. Try this activity with your children. It is a fun reading, writing, thinking, listening and creative activity rolled into one. If the weather is good, do it outside with chalk on the sidewalk. Or, at the kitchen table.
* Engage your child in a discussion about the features a state would need to attract your family on a vacation there.
* Allow her to think about what her dream state would be like.
* Create picture symbols for parks, lakes, mountains, etc.
* Have your child draw her dream state. You make one, too.
* Give her enough room and time to work.
* Give support to keep her going. Ask questions.
* Compliment her work.
* Have fun!
After everyone is done, walk around and visit each state. The state maker/tour guide shares her work. While the tour guide describes in detail what makes her state a great vacation spot, encourage the listeners to think of questions about the state. Ask: What do you like about Julie's state?
Take turns sharing and listening.
Ask: What did you like about this? What do you hope happens next?
If you plan it right, this could be just the thing to do before showering and going to bed.
A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.