I LAVA you and other silly jokes…Homemade Summer School Week 1

Ok, so if you missed my intro post, I plan on this being the Hardest Working, Best Summer I’ve Ever Had.  Why? Because I am on summer break, and I’m going to host my own ‘summer school’ for my four-year-old. I decided since I am a teacher, and he is a learner, and we have all this blissful time off…why not make it FUNctional? Yes, I went there.



So week one was landforms. Mostly because he said one of the things he wanted to learn about was mountains. Since we are heading up to a wedding in Fresno anyway, we’re going to day trip over to Yosemite to do nature-y things, whatever those things are. One thing I hope to do is let him start a summer journal with mementos and pictures from our summer fun. We’ll see on that. As for the landform stuff, there are lots of things on the internet that are helpful, but here are the ones I used:

We also went on a walk on our “secret path” which is totally a jogging lane the city of Anaheim put in under the giant electrical poles that extends a few miles north-south. It is literally right behind my house and it passes my parent’s pretty close. So we walked there and pretended we were seeing/avoiding lava the whole time.

And then, friends, we learned about volcanoes. O.M.G.

Luckily, I figured this would be the one that grabbed his interest (he’s a boy, so…yeah) and I ordered a National Geographic Kids magazine that had info about volcanoes and some other topics I wanted to talk about this summer. (see below)

Click to visit Amazon’s website. (Affiliate link provided)

He LOVED the pictures, and it was a good, slightly over-his-ability read which gave us lots to talk about and discuss as I explained things. He does best when he isn’t sure, and needs someone to walk him through concepts. I highly recommend NG kids magazines, they even have different reading levels for younger/older kids. They’re filled with gorgeous pictures, and really lame jokes that kids love like “I lava you.”

We also watched a few YouTube videos on volcanoes, and as I was told, the lava is the best part. He had no time for the “lame ones” that just burp ashes. Who does, really? I mean, if lava isn’t flying out potentially.

Seriously though, this was easy entertainment and he learned a lot. There are TONS of good videos that explain how things work, or just show neat lava. Because…lava. There is also THIS VIDEO of a moron who probably killed his mother via heart attack because he had to be that guy who stood super close to lava. Whatever.

Since we are leaving at the end of this week for Fresno, coupled with getting our house tented for termites, I have a lot to pack and do…so we’re stretching out landforms a bit this week. Coloring the dictionary for a day, cut and paste for a day, reading about volcanoes for a day and then the final fun project is volcano making! I found a great kid’s DIY volcano project at JoAnn’s craft store, and my son and husband have had a delightful time making their own from scratch. That’s also stretched out over a couple of days. Now as a warning, the kit recommends only kids 8+, but we felt comfortable doing this project with him. It was $14.99, and I had a 50% off coupon. I can promise you that you can’t buy more fun than this, at the bargain price of around eight bucks. It might be the greatest thing I’ve bought…though I also picked up a excavate-your-own-dino-fossil-kit as well…more on that later.


He loved making the volcano with daddy and it was a great “event” to look forward to each day (we stretched it to three days).
And for the ultimate, big reveal…the volcano erupting!

The first try was relatively underwhelming as he kept asking where the lava was. Then we realized we forgot to color it. *facepalm*

NOW he was excited.

Hope this has inspired you to learn about landforms, volcanoes and nature with your own littles!


For other ideas, follow my Pintrest board for Summer Teaching Ideas

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