Whether you’re looking for some educational summer activities on the computer or helping your middle school-aged child become familiar with different programs on the computer, it won’t be long before it will become his favorite techno-toy. Help your child brush up on -- or develop -- his online research skills, too, and he’ll be able to show off his new knowledge and skills in his school projects.
Help your child learn about her favorite place in the whole wide world with a fun, at-home computer research project. Have her choose any destination in the world to which she’d like to travel and plan her dream vacation. She’ll have to take a look at the region’s climate to figure out the best time to visit and what activities she can expect to try out, such as snorkeling and parasailing in the summer or skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Have her do a little research on the travel methods available to get there, too. Encourage your child to search online for information about the destination’s cultural and historical sites and other local attractions, such as museums, theme parks and animal preserves, and find out when the region holds traditional festivals and celebrations. Have her assemble all her pictures and information in a word processing document and save it on the computer. You never know -- one day, she might just follow through and visit.
My Virtual Life
By the middle school years, your child has probably already started toying with different career interests -- though it’s probably too early to expect any permanent decision just yet. However, you can help him enhance his research skills on the computer as well as his familiarity with document-making programs. Have him research the career that’s topping his charts right now, or encourage him to explore several if he hasn’t narrowed down his choices. He can look up income information and then use that information to introduce him to a computer budgeting program. Equipped with a little information about income expectations, have him try to shop for a house in his income range online, design one with an architect or blueprint program on the computer or create it entirely from scratch in a draw program.
Keep your child current with the times -- from a child’s point of view -- by transforming her into a journalist, writer, editor and the editor-in-chief of her own newsletter for a day. Have her create a newsletter (or miniature newspaper) about all of the news that she thinks is important. She can include sections about the school’s sports statistics if she’s a young sports enthusiast, write kid’s movie and book reviews to share her opinion on the latest releases, or make a few attraction recommendations she feels are worth a notable mention, such as amusement parks, upcoming fairs or even the local bowling alley. Have her create the newsletter in a word processing document, using a typical two- or three-column format, and include relevant pictures as she works. Print off the newsletter when she’s finished to share with family and friends.
My Life in History
Have your child choose an era from history, such as the Roman Empire, Medieval times or the 19th century, and use the computer and Internet to find out what his life would have been like if he had been born then. He can research the differences between the upper and lower classes and how his life would have been different depending on the class to which he was born, and create a calendar or schedule on the computer about “a day in the life of…" or a year in the life of…," detailing a day’s ordinary activities or the events, celebrations and special occasions of an entire year. Have your child save a variety of pictures he finds about his chosen historical period and then continue to use the computer to create a slideshow that highlights his finds.