summer activities

Summer Fun, Learning, and Kindergarten Readiness is a Picnic

During the summer, a picnic can combine fun, learning, family meals, outside time in nature, and some kindergarten readiness. That’s quite a menu and it’s a “picnic” to do.

picnic for summer fun and learningMuch of the learning is so ordinary that we don’t even notice it. For example, when discussing what to eat, often a parent will ask a child a question such as “Do you want a cheese sandwich or some cheese and crackers?” In order to choose and answer, the child needs to make a decision. We don’t realize how the brain has to remember past experiences, compare them, and check current conditions. Making decisions is a complex thinking skill and requires lots of practice. That’s much learning in just a few words.

Or maybe a parent will ask “Do you want some watermelon in the red bowl or the yellow one?” This time, the child has to be able to match the color to the name. Considering the endless variations of each color, and the number of different objects that may be the same color, a lot of brain wiring has has to happen to figure out colors. Again, to do this kids need experiences and practice.

picnics for summer fun and learningAs kids picnic outside, their senses are stimulated by the sounds, sights, smell, taste, and touch of nature. Fingers play in the sand and grass and pick up sticks and pine cones. Two rocks tapped together make a much louder sound than the birds. The foods smell and taste extra special outdoors. And there’s always so much to see.

Moving and being active is just as important for brains as for bodies. Somehow on a picnic, the up and down and all around of young children is easier to handle than it is at home. Often, there is more interaction and talking with each other on a picnic. This supports social and emotional skills. Just in the body language, this little one is communicating.

Did you know that all this fun, learning, kindergarten readiness and life skills are also on the picnic menu? Can a breakfast, lunch or supper picnic be part of the day for your family?

Sandcastles for Summer Fun/Learning & Kindergarten Readiness

Summer comes in different colors, shapes, sizes, sounds and materials; sand and water are two materials for both fun and learning. Making sand castles is a summer activity that kids can do over and over. Best of all, kids also get to spend time outside and connect to nature.sand and water play summer fun and learning

Making a sand castle is a form of sensory play. The texture of the sand feels different when it is dry or wet, still or pouring. A few bits of sand weigh next to nothing, but a whole bunch of it on a shovel is heavier, and a pailful is heavier still. Kids take in lots of information with their skin, eyes, and ears when playing with sand. Besides the sensory stimulation there are other ways to learn and these help with skills for kindergarten readiness.

  • As children build, even if they are not interacting and talking with others there will be self-talk as they plan.
  • Along with sand castles, older kids might be creating imaginary ones.
  • Kids are also learning some basic science, how sand that’s really dry or really wet can pour and fall, and how damp sand can hold the shape of the container.
  • When building, kids get immediate feedback from their actions, helping them learn about cause and effect.
  • They are also discovering about more and less, heavy and light, and volume.
  • There’s lots of coordination involved and all that activity strengthens muscles. sand castles for fun and learing

Making sand castles is multi-generational. This giant sand castle kept many people busy for hours. Sand castles also remind us that no matter how hard we work, some things will not last but that doesn’t make it any less fun. sand play for fun and learning

Sand castles are also works of art, although work is certainly not the right word. While this was a great deal of effort and required lots of patience, the team who created this amazing sand sculpture love what they are doing and don’t think of it as work.

Does your child like to make sand castles? Can your summer include some of these works plays of art?

Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and Music

Playing, singing, and listening to music is both fun and learning for kids’ brains, kids of all ages that is. Online has a super graphic of music’s impact on learning. Here is part:

Music's Effect-Online
Music’s Effect-Online

As we listen to music, we train our ears and brains to notice small differences in sounds. That helps for learning language. Many words sound almost the same. Music is built on patterns and being able to recognize patterns is a critical thinking skill. Music also helps for learning math. Music has notes that go up and down and math has numbers that go up and down. Music has silent spaces between notes, math has zeros. Both have patterns. All this is important for learning and kindergarten readiness.early brain development and music

Music also strengthens memory. This week a local radio station has a feature called Parental Guidance and is asking listeners to tell what music their parents listened to that maybe they didn’t like at the time, but appreciate more now. Many listeners suggest music that is connected to powerful memories of growing up and family life and tugs at their emotions.  Emotions are also influenced by music and it can have a stimulating or relaxing effect.

We do not need to limit family music to Raffi or They Might Be Giants. Children can be exposed to other types of music. Of course, some music might not be appropriate for young children but kids need to hear a variety of sounds and styles. What music can you listen to today or play at home to support your child’s learning and kindergarten readiness?

Summer Fun, Learning, Eating and Cooking with Kids

Summer fun can happen in any room in the house and especially the kitchen; with all the wonderful veggies and fruits currently available, kids can help “cook” some great treats. Much more than kindergarten readiness, a positive attitude to healthy food choices is a life skill. The following words are from a friend who posted … Continue reading Summer Fun, Learning, Eating and Cooking with Kids

Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and Boxes

Playing with a box can stimulate fun and learning and support development and kindergarten readiness. For kids, there’s no need to think outside the box, just think box and all the fun there is to do with one. A plain, ordinary box comes with no limits, no instructions, and no expectations which means that children … Continue reading Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and Boxes

Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness & A Stone?

Yesterday, July 19th was the anniversary of the finding of the ancient Rosetta Stone and that inspires some summer and kindergarten readiness fun and learning. The stone had the same message written in 3 different ancient languages, but the world could only read 1. It was more than 2 decades before the mystery of how … Continue reading Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness & A Stone?

Summer Fun, Learning and Kindergarten Readiness Play

In my Spanish class, to practice vocabulary and numbers, we pretended restaurant and then we played it at home for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning. It was easy to find materials to play with, there were lots in the recycling and the drawer of plastic containers, and we had lots of time for the … Continue reading Summer Fun, Learning and Kindergarten Readiness Play

Super Heros for Summer Fun/Learning & Kindergarten Readiness

Even though it is sometimes controversial, super hero play can be a great opportunity for children to have fun, learn, and boost kindergarten readiness. Super heros are pretty active and moving is tremendously important for learning, both for bodies and for brains. When children move, they are solving some difficult problems like how to get … Continue reading Super Heros for Summer Fun/Learning & Kindergarten Readiness

Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and Water Play

Getting all wet in the summer is a favorite activity and water play encourages development of many brain connections and kindergarten readiness skills. Plus in the summer, there are so many ways to get wet, from backyard pools, water pistols, sprinklers, water parks, slides, and water tables to lakes, rivers, oceans, and even the rain … Continue reading Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and Water Play