I have three active grandsons that I love to babysit several days a week, and I like to keep them busy with lots of activities that are enriching and possibly educational. This summer I will watch the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), for several weeks in August before the two older ones return to school in the fall, and I wanted to create an in-home day camp experience for them. I decided to plan a variety of day-camp-type activities by choosing a theme and planning activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences when designing the day camp. I also wanted some academic focus embedded in the activities I chose.
We really love our bikes in this family, and the grands are no exception. Their father, uncle, great uncle, and grandfather ride their own bikes on a regular basis, so the grandsons have great mentors. Of course, the grands all have bikes (although Tahoe still has training wheels). Since my grandsons have lots more time to ride their bikes in the summer, I planned some fun “day camp” activities for them to enjoy their bikes and learn more about bike riding.
I have planned four weeks of day camp activities altogether and this theme is for Week Three. If you would like to see Week One and Two’s day camp plans, you can find it here:
Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere (In the coming weeks I will also post my plans for Week Four.)
Week Three: We Like Bikes
The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence), have the grands ride their bikes (see Bodily-Kinesthetic and Naturalist Intellgiences) and have them engage in at least two other activities a day (listed in the other intelligences). By the end of the week I will make sure that I have offered at least one activity from each intelligence so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. For my readers, I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities.
Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include a few books as part of the day camp experience, so I usually start my planning by getting some books for the grands at the library. Besides the Read Aloud Book, I will probably read and discuss some of these other books sometime during the week as time allows.
Safety on Your Bicycle by Lucia Raatma is a book I definitely want to read and discuss with my grands as part of the day camp experience. It has great pictures and easy instructions for safety rules including the proper way to wear a bicycle helmet, how to check your bicycle for safety before you ride it, dangers on the road, intersections, and traffic rules. Academic focus: Vocabulary-This book has several important vocabulary words that the grands need to learn including chinstrap, reflector, and signal. Text features-I can also use this book to talk about text features such as Table of Contents and Index.
Pedal It! How Bicycles Are Changing the World by Michelle Mulder has tons of information on bicycles: their history, their development, how people use bicycles in their places of work, and how bicycles are making positive changes in the quality of life for people throughout the world. This book includes many photographs and factoids that will catch the eye of many bike enthusiasts (Grandpa Jim was shown this book and couldn’t put it down.). It is written for grades 3-7, and is so full of information, I will read it to my grandsons in small sections. Academic Focus: “Book Walk”-Since this book may be too overwhelming to read in its entirety, I will show the grands how to do a “Book Walk” with it. That means we will look through the whole book first before reading it by checking out: the front and back cover, table of contents, chapter titles, and illustrations. Then I will have the grands choose a section or page of the book which interests them the most and read those pages to them.
The Best Bike Ride Ever by James Proimos and Johanna Wright tells the story of Bonnie and her enthusiasm for her new bike. Bonnie loves her new bike so much that she immediately begins riding it over imagined bridges, mountains, canyons, and elephants. Unfortunately, Bonnie hasn’t learned yet how to stop on her bike. This is an adorable story that makes the point that learning safety rules before riding a new bike can be a very good thing to do. Academic Focus: Predictions-As Bonnie takes off on her new bike, I will ask the grands what they think will happen to Bonnie as she continues to ride her bike. How do they think the story will end?
Ben Rides On by Matt Davies is a cute book about a third grader, named Ben, who loves to ride his bike to school. But once he arrives at school, another much bigger third grader, Adrian, decides he would like to ride Ben’s bike too. As Ben tries to retrieve his bicycle, he has to encounter some hard decisions to help Adrian who gets into a scary predicament. Academic focus: Character traits– I will discuss how the reader learns about the characters in a story by finding the following clues: what the characters say, what they do, and what others say about them. I will guide the grands to discuss the characters of Ben and Adrian using those three types of clues.
The Case of the Bicycle Bandit: A Jigsaw Jones Mystery by James Preller is book #14 in this series of mystery stories. In this chapter book, which is good for grades 1-3, Jigsaw and Mila investigate the disappearance of Ralphie Jordan’s rusty, broken down, old bicycle that was chained to a bike rack at the library. The story is told with humor and lots of suspicious characters. Academic focus: Details-I will discuss which details in the story helped Jigsaw and Mila to solve the mystery. Independent Reading-I also hope that Tigger will want to read this book on his own afterwards since it is written at his current reading level.
Storytelling or Writing Prompts: I will give my grandsons at least one of these prompts and have them tell me a story (or write it down depending on their interest or age level). Academic focus: Main Characters and Plot (Complete sentences if used as a written activity.)
- On my last bike ride with my family, we …..
- If you could design a vacation for your bicycle, where would it go?
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)
These are some ways the grands can use their mathematical intelligence to understand their bicycles:
Measurement: Using a tape measure, I will have the grands measure the length and height of their bicycles and the different parts.
Graphing: I may have the grands compare the height and length of their bicycles by making bar graphs after they finish the measuring activity.
Radius and Diameter: I can introduce the concept of radius and diameter by having the grands measure them on the wheels of their bikes. I may even introduce the formula for finding the diameter of a circle using the radius by helping the grands analyze the measurements they took for their wheels.
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
I want my grandsons not only to enjoy playing on their bikes, but hopefully develop some physical skills as well. Here are some ideas:
How Slow Can You Go? http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/16780/outdoor-fun-bicycle-games
Driveway Games: http://www.bicycling.com/training/kids-cycling/kids-bike-skills
Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)
The grands always love arts and crafts so I looked up some ideas online that I could try with the boys:
Bike Streamers and Plates: http://www.crayola.com/crafts/bike-streamers–plates-craft/
Drawing a Bicycle: Tahoe used this website to draw a bicycle and make a really nice art project:
Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
Songs about Bicycle Safety: I wrote some lyrics for the tune “The Farmer in the Dell” to teach the grands some safety rules I want them to remember:
We want to ride our bikes, We want to ride our bikes,
Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, We want to ride our bikes.
At corners we look right, At corners we look left,
Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, We’ll look both right and left.
Obey all traffic signs, Obey all traffic signs,
Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, Obey all traffic signs.
I found some other bicycle safety songs online that are really good and I might use with my grands:
Other Songs About Bicycles: Here are some other songs. Some of them can be found as videos online:
- “Bike Safety Boogie” by Will Stroet, from his album “My Backyard.”
- “On A Bicycle Built for Two” sung by Nat King Cole
Classical Music: Several music composers have been so inspired by their bicycles that they wrote music either about their bicycle experiences or using bicycles as musical instruments. They can be found at this link:
Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)
Playing with their bikes outdoors; what could be more natural? The grands will need to learn how to adapt their bicycle riding skills to different outdoor environments, so during the day camp week, Grandpa Jim and I will try to take them to a different outdoor area each day to ride their bikes. Here are some examples:
Parks: There are many different playground/park areas in our vicinity, so we have lots of choices for their bicycle riding. Some of these parks are nearby and the boys can ride their bikes to them, under the watchful eye of an adult, of course. Other times, we’ll put their bikes in our car and drive them to one of the larger parks in our area that has a bike path next to a stream.
Bike Trails: I also found some local bike trails on the internet that we might try.
Cul De Sacs: There is a cul de sac near us where the grands can ride their bikes.
Empty parking lots: Some of the schools and churches in our area have empty parking lots in the early evening hours. They are often good places to allow the grands to ride without the worry of traffic.
Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)
Bicycle Maintenance: I want the grands to learn how to work together to take care of their bicycles, so I will have Grandpa Jim show them how to clean their bikes, pump up tires, and “lube” the bicycle chains. Our focus will be to get the grands to work together on these chores, helping each other. (And pumping up tires includes some Logical/Mathematical activities too as the grands will need to look for the maximum air pressure which is printed on the side of the tire.)
Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)
Some activities should be planned for the grands that can be done by themselves such as:
- Riding their bikes in our backyard.
- Reading books about bicycles: I will have the books I used during the week available for the grands to use and look at throughout the week.
- Journal Writing: I want to give each grand a chance to reflect on their day camp week by writing, drawing, or telling me what they enjoyed most about their bicycles this week. (This is an activity that is best done at the end of the day camp experience.)
I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan day camps or lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.
I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as: