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.
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.
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 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?
Playing, singing, and listening to music is both fun and learning for kids’ brains, kids of all ages that is. Online Colleges.net has a super graphic of music’s impact on learning. Here is part:
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.
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 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 this on Facebook:
“Something that really made an impact on me this past weekend was to realize what a bad role model we were for our children in the health and nutrition field as they were growing up. We were feeding them (and us) pizza 2-5 times a week, fast foods all the time while traveling–(of course the large fries!)–because it was cheep and fast, heavy starchy foods, breads, pastas, gravy, sweets all the time, all kinds of soft drinks, ice cream, etc. etc. You get my point. As I reflect back on the years that God has graced John and myself to raise our children, this is the one area we did not take seriously enough. We are learning more and more how important it is to feed our bodies proper nutrition. It has been so much fun this last year to make many changes in our lives – especially in the “food category”. We feel so much better … And younger!!” (Jill Hamilton Martin)
I so appreciated this insight. As always, hindsight is 20-20 but these words can help others. Especially over the summer, we can involve children in the preparation of food and gently guide them to make good choices. Plus, there’s other fun and learning included. Some things that kids can help make are:
fruits on a stick. Popsicle sticks are not as pointy but grownup hands need to help
fruits with dips. Yogurt thinned with a bit of juice or milk makes a fun dip.
veggies with dips. Plain yogurt or salad dressing can be thinned if needed.
fruit and/or veggie pictures. Kids can arrange food in patterns and designs. How food is presented is certainly part of it’s appeal and part of the fun.
These are just a few quick ideas. Do you have some “food for thought” when it comes to helping kids make healthy food choices?
Kids and fun are a winning combination for summer, but kids can be any age, can’t they? On the weekend, there was a silly boat regatta which was tremendous fun for everybody. Even grownups need to play, which they did as they created boats out of some very silly materials, then raced them on the … Continue reading Summer Fun, Kids of All Ages, and Float or Sink→
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→
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?→
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→
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→
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→
During the summer, many towns and cities have parades along with other celebrations, and letting kids play parade is a great way to encourage fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness. Little ones may only want to march around and make noise, er…music but older kids can include dressing up and maybe even making their own instruments … Continue reading Summer Fun, Kindergarten Readiness and a Parade→