Summer Skill-Building Merit Badges

This was posted as part of Brassy Apple’s S.O.S. series.

Summer is such a fun time of year, but it seems to go by way too fast and I want to make sure we make the most of it. My oldest starts kindergarten this year, so along with having a great time this summer I want to make sure he is set for school! My mom always said “summer vacation doesn’t mean it is a vacation from life”. One summer when I was in 4th or 5th grade, and long before Google was around, she hauled 6 kids to the library every week and had us write research papers on different Native American tribes from our area. Using old school card catalogs, we would look up the topic she had assigned for the week to research about our tribe. Luckily, we were young enough it seemed like fun and not torture! And as a huge bonus, I’ve never met a research paper I was afraid to write because of that summer.

This summer I’m taking full advantage of my boys eagerness to learn. We’re implementing a merit badge type system. You know, like the boy scouts have? I’ve made up a stack of badges of summer activities and tasks that my boys are old enough do. As they earn a badge it will be added to their collection. I’ve even made some blank ones as I’m sure a lot of opportunities for badges I haven’t thought of will come along. At the end of summer they’ll be able to look back at all they accomplished summer 2011!

I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but they want so badly to be able to do tasks I’m not ready to let them do. Like my 2 year old is obsessed with being able to crack an egg. We always tell him he hasn’t passed the “egg class” or the “knife class” either, for that matter. This is the chance for me to hold these special “classes” and for them to become certified experts. I’ve tried to make the badges varied in the amount of time it will take to earn. Some will take all summer, others will be one time activities, and some are just fun things we have planned. Like their first airplane ride to visit a new cousin.

My list is geared toward the pre-school to kindergartner range, but of course this is can be customized for each child’s interests and abilities. My 5 year old can earn his bike badge by learning to ride without training wheels, while an older child could earn their bike badge by riding a designated number of miles, or even by learning to patch a flat tire.

Here’s a list of badge ideas:

Riding a bike
Tying own shoes
Weeding the garden
Washing the car
Washing dishes
Cracking an egg
Name writing
Making a bug collection
Rock skipping
Roasting the perfect marshmallow
Building a sand castle
Pumping themselves on a swing

When a boring summer afternoon presents itself, we will know right where to look for an activity! Knowing my boys, they will try to earn all the badges in the first couple of days!

Edited: Thanks for all the interest in how the badges were made! Our badges were made using Crystal’s Ink Summer Circles and adding different digi scrap “stickers”, then printed off and cardstock and cut out. If your kids are a little older you could let them “design” their own–provide circles and let them draw. I haven’t decided if we’ll have a dedicated space on a wall for them, or if each boy will get a binder to collect his badges in. I’m leaning towards the binders.

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    • says

      I added a blip at the end of the post about this, but used digi scrapbook supplies for ours. If your kids are old enough they could draw their own.

  1. emily k m says

    such a fantastic idea that i will for sure do with my children. yesterday was the first day out of school for my 1st grader (i also have a 5yo, 3yo, and 9mo) and let’s just say it was a looooooong morning. this will surely help – once i get it going!

    how did you do your badges? did you just print off pictures? color them yourself? will you have a place to put the cards?

    thanks for sharing your brilliant idea!

  2. says

    i loved earning badges when i was in scouts. i think my own learning could be accelerated if i could earn badges too. hmmmm. what would i like te learn?

    master making a roll cake
    baking a delicious gluten- and dairy-free pie crust
    clean up blog
    achieve 100% mobility of left arm
    write an ebook

    this is just the start.

  3. Kathleen says

    What a great idea! I have a boy scout and a cub scout and then the little brother who sees his big brothers do all this scout stuff and can’t wait until he can do it too! The older boys will be spending their summer working on merit badges and activity badges. This will be perfect for my little guy so he can feel like he’s earning something this summer too! And then when he turns 8 in September he’ll be a pro 😉


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