In this post, we present 75+ enrichment activities from black owned brands, with a focus on elementary and middle school youth. These include a variety of apps, board games, puzzles, flash cards, work/activity books and more. See the following descriptions and products for details. They can be used to promote skill development all year round!
Summer is a time for recreational activities as youth are out of school. It is also the time to keep them engaged in learning, as over summer, youth tend to lose academic gains made across the school year. Mathematics is more affected than English Language Arts and over time these loses put youth at more of a disadvantage. How much depends on what happens over summer. Children and youth who engage in high quality enrichment are less affected.
High quality enrichment offers children and youth opportunities to learn new skills, build on current skills, be creative, develop and strengthen good habits. Summer enrichment need not feel like school. Activities can support their interests, be engaging, and consistent with their age and ability.
Depending on what children are used to, caregivers may need to strategize to encourage youth engagement in appropriate enrichment. This may involve offering choices, incentives, and encouragement, and in what one noted educator coined, requiring them to “earn the right to chill.”
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APPS are available online through mobile and other devices.
- Creative Medicine offers a “Nelson beats the odds” comic creator app where youth can make comic strips and more.
- The Imagination Agency offers a selection of interactive storybooks with corresponding games.
- Zyrobotics offers a large selection of coding apps for children between ages 4 and 9 to help them learn the basics of coding. STEM storiez are also available as interactive books focusing on math and science. (Advertisement)
BOARD GAMES encourage youth to be strategic and logical, and also promote attention, concentration, and social skills. Players learn to think and respond logically and strategically. Board games are also relaxing. There are several board games from black owned brands that teach valuable and specific skills.
- It’s a Black Thang (advertisement) offers a “blackboard” game regarding black history and life from the perspective of a minority. Specialty and thematic “opoly” board games are also available.
- Play Black Wall Street offers a family friendly Black Wall Street Board Game for children 8 years and up. The game involves becoming business savvy while learning black history. Play Black Wall Street is also available on Amazon (advertisement).
- Say It Loud Games offers board (card) games on black culture (movie, music, arts, and more).
- The Entrepreneur Game by EESpeaks offers an entrepreneur board game for which children and adult players can make moves to grow a businesses.
- Water Bear Games offers a Discount Salmon game for children ages 8 and up, that requires quick thinking. It can be played with 2 – 5 players.
FLASHCARDS contain important bits of information with a prompt (e.g., picture, letter or word) on one side and more detailed information on the other. Flashcards can promote active learning whereby youth look at the prompt and try to guess or remember what is on the other side. Subsequently, youth can compare how well their answers matched. In addition to learning content, flashcards can help youth improve on what it takes to learn and remember.
- Shop With Leslie Blog on Etsy offers a set of 17 flashcards on the benefits of gardening. Each flashcard is 8.5 by 11 inches. As such large enough to make a photo gallery wall. Cards address a variety of topics such as native plants, community gardens, and photosynthesis.
- It’s A Black Thang (advertisement) offers a selection of knowledge cards on specific topics such as the civil rights movement, specific genres of music (e.g., jazz) and more.
- Darlyng & Co. offers a set of flashcards (for boys and girls) designed to build confidence (Advertisement).
- Sense 2 Cents offers financial literacy flashcards that cover banking, credit, the economy, and investing.
- Urban Intellectuals offers an extensive selection of flashcards on black history, black trivia, and specific contributions of black individuals. You can also find them on Amazon (Advertisement).
PUZZLES support planning and imagination, problem solving, and creativity.
- It’s A Black Thang (advertisement) offers a selection of online crossword puzzles.
Sibahle Collection (advertisement) offers puzzles with farm and princess themes.
- Black History Studies offers jigsaw puzzles reflecting maps of the country of Ghana, and the African continent.
- Puzzle Huddle offers a selection of puzzles for different age groups. These include culturally representative 54 piece and 100 piece puzzles.
A range of VIDEOS are available that are educational and culturally representative with positive messages. Videos can be a source of reflection and discussion about important life lessons.
- Bino and Fino offer DVDs that teach children about African culture. They are designed for children between 3 and 6 years of age.
- Kidz Mic offers a music CD that adapts lyrics and tunes from popular songs into child friendly songs with positive messages. The music is sung by children with themes on self-esteem, responsibility, and more.
- Sweet Blackberry offers a selection of child centered DVDs about various African American historical figures.
- The Imagination Agency offers a cartoon video about an aspiring movie maker that is available on their website.
WORK and COLORING BOOKS allow children to practice and develop skills in an interactive way. Coloring supports fine motor skills, imagination, concentration, and relaxation.
- Arlyne Simon, PhD Biochemist offers a workbook “Abbey Invents Unbreakable Crayons” that encourages children ages 5 – 8 to experiment with invention, available through Amazon (Advertisement).
- Color Me Bilingual offers a selection of coloring books that teach children words in various languages (e.g., Arabic, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Swahili).
- Danielle Howard Productions offers coloring and alphabet workbooks on Amazon (Advertisement).
- Dream I Am offers a selection of culturally relevant ecoloring books.
- Nola the Nurse offers activity books that include math workbooks for children in kindergarten and first grade. Coloring books are also available. You can find them on Amazon (Advertisement).
You are also encouraged to review our post on “STEM Books for Children from Black Authors and Publishers” to find more enrichment content.
In reviewing these activities I hope you find tons of enrichment products that work for you and your family.
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See the following sources for more information about summer learning and enrichment.
- Alexander, Karl L., Entwisle, Doris R., Olson, Linda S. “Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap.” April 2007. American Sociological Review, volume 7, pages 167 – 180.
- Color Psychology. “10 benefits of coloring pages for kids’ psychology and development.” https://www.colorpsychology.org/10-benefits-of-coloring-pages-for-kids-psychology-and-development/
- Dewar, Gwen. “Board games for kids: Can they teach critical thinking?” 12 November, 2018 https://www.parentingscience.com/board-games-for-kids.html
- Logic Roots. “8 surprising health benefits of playing board games.” 22 November, 2018. https://logicroots.com/MathBlog/8-surprising-health-benefits-of-playing-board-games/
- Myers, Pam. “Why puzzles are good for your child’s development.” 2 November, 2011. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-activities/why-puzzles-are-good-for-your-childs-development/#.XP1G0I97mUl
- National Center on Afterschool and Summer Learning Enrichment. “Summer learning & enrichment tips for school-age care providers.” May 2019. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/ncase_summer_tipsheet_providers_508c.pdf
- Sheffield, Donald E. “Practices makes Perfect – NOT! Excellence is a habit.” 5 May, 2009.