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Summer Fun With Little Ones

By Rosa Milo

Does the idea of free time in the summer fill you with excitement? Or dread? As we head deep into the dog days of summer, parents begin to deal with the need to think about quality time at home with their children. Let’s face it… just the thought of this could make us feel overwhelmed.

It's time to create a “to do” list of activities that help children maintain skills achieved throughout the school year and fight the so-called “summer slide."  According to research, summer slide is real, but we also need to keep in mind that children learn differently during summer.

Let’s start by remembering that our little ones, especially preschoolers are curious about everything they see and hear. They are beginning to show their independence and capabilities. They are eager to meet and play with new kids but may not know how to approach them due to shyness or fear of rejection. 

Kids love to explore and touch, feel, smell, taste, watch and wonder about everything around them. They also begin to show signs of creativity. Books, building blocks and puzzles are a few of the things that fascinate preschoolers and enable them to learn new things, plus improving their fine motor skills.

But how do you we put all this information into a constructive and productive summer plan?

Routine, Routine, Routine
Keep a consistent routine, even during summer. When you stick to a routine, you teach your child how to arrange his/her time in a manner that is efficient, productive, and cuts down on stress. This sense of order is important for making your child feel secure. When young children know what to expect, they become more confident in both themselves and the world around them.

Do you have time off at home with your little one? Here are some quick and easy ideas to help beat the summer blues.

Choose a Theme! 

Establish a theme for each day of the week.

  • Monday is “Storytime at the Library"
  • Tuesday is “Cooking Day"
  • Wednesday is “Friend Day"
  • Thursday is Beach Day"
  • Friday is “Picnic at the park"

Make Work Fun!

Let your children grow in their responsibilities around the house. Give them a To-Do Chore list, and make a game out of it.
 

Playtime! 

Play numbered board games, like Chutes and Ladders, to refine some math skills. Introduce everyone to backyard classics like freeze tag and Red Light, Green Light 

Read!  

Make reading together a priority. Take your child to a summer storytime at the public library. In addition to bedtime reading, put in a 20 minute reading time each afternoon. Let them read whatever they want and increase the conversation. Research reveals that debating, and telling stories alongside adults improves kids’ vocabulary and background knowledge. 

Get Crafty! 

Restock the art box and toy closet with new and fun supplies. Here are some ideas to stock yours with:
  • construction paper
  • good quality markers
  • stickers
  • stamps and ink pads
  • pipe cleaners
  • water color paints and brushes
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • journals (for writing/drawing stories)
  • age-appropriate learning workbooks an egg timer (for timing Clean-Up Time, Reading Time, etc)

And don’t forget to set up a quiet time schedule for everyone in the family. Rest helps the brain to reinforce the memories it forms during daylight hours.

So take advantage of sunny afternoons to get kids outdoors, but most of all enjoy your time at home together!

 

Mrs. Rosa Milo is a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk, CT

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