Summer Ideas

AUTHOR: Becky Danielson, M.Ed. is a licensed Parent & Family Educator on staff at The Berry Patch and Whittier Wildflowers Preschool. She contributes monthly to the Family Buzz, highlighting a topic or current trend in parenting. 

Dear Whittier Wildflowers Families,

The end of the year picnic was so much fun! Thank you for attending. I hope you had as nice of an evening as I did.

Here’s an expanded version of the Top 10 Tips to Encourage Learning over the Summer Months. I hope the list is helpful for you and your children.

1. READ     Read as much as you can as often as you can to your children. Spend time at the library. Your children can have their own cards to check out books. Keep the books in a special bag, away from pets and younger siblings. When reading, find words your children can identify. Follow along with your finger as you read to encourage left-to-right motion. Look for words your children know when you’re out and about (STOP, the name of common stores, etc.). Help your children identify letters and the sounds of each letter. 

2. WRITE     Allow your children to write on a variety of surfaces with many writing utensils. For example, chalk on the sidewalk, crayons on construction paper, a stick in the sand at the beach, markers on grocery store bags, pencils on notebook paper, or fingers in pudding in a jellyroll pan. Print letters, numbers, and symbols. Draw pictures.

3. PLAY    Play is a child’s occupation. Through play, children explore their world. This happens through both unstructured and structured playtime. Play fuels creativity. Children will come up with fabulous games and adventures. Join them in their playtime to help your child grow socially, cognitively and emotionally.

4. EXPLORE    From the backyard to the park to the nature center, explore with your children. Pack a small bag with a magnifying glass, binoculars made from toilet paper tubes and yarn, a notepad, and a pencil. Make rubbings of tree bark. Watch birds. Look for animal tracks. Collect fallen leaves to make a collage at home. Take notes on your outings.

5. BUILD    Make a pirate ship or castle with pillows and sofa cushions. Drape a blanket over a card table to create a fort. Build a city with Legos or blocks. Wash out milk cartons, tape down the triangular top with duct tape for homemade jumbo building blocks.     

6. CREATE    Put together an art bin in a shoe box with paper towel tubes, string, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, glue, cardboard, thread spools, paper clips, and paper. Add any items you come across that would be interesting. Really, it’s a junk box to make treasures from trash.

7. MOVE    On sunny and rainy days make movement (exercise) part of the routine. Dance, bicycle, run, skip, walk, tiptoe, or hop! Any kind of movement is good. Play games together. Have your children teach you games they learned in school this year.

8. LAUGH    Few things make a person feel better than a belly laugh. Take time to be silly!

9. REST    Too few of us, adults and children, are getting enough sleep these days. Be intentional with bedtime and the routine getting ready for bed. Try to keep the same schedule throughout the summer months.

10. LOVE    Love is a decision! Say, “I love you” daily. Show love in words and actions. 

Speaking of LOVE, I was blessed to be the winner of the Whittier Wildflowers Preschool mosaic at the raffle drawing for the Patchworks Foundation event in April. Each day, I look at this beautiful piece of art and think of the wonderful students, staff, and families. Whittier Wildflowers Preschool is a very special place. Thank you for creating this beautiful work of art!

Most sincerely,
Becky Danielson, M.Ed.
Licensed Parent & Family Educator

One-on-One Parenting is available for you! Email me at with questions or to set up a time to meet. 

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