Summer Learning for Preschoolers
Whether your child is entering Preschool in the fall or preparing for Kindergarten, he or she is within a critical learning period. Your child is absorbing things constantly, building fine and gross motor skills, and attempting to understand the world. Take advantage of these developmental years and be intentional in transforming daily summer activities into fun learning opportunities. So, let’s get creative!
Here are 7 ideas for summertime learning from Portsmouth Christian Academy’s Preschool Director, Harlee Tuttle. Harlee has been at PCA since 2017 and has her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and an M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership.
7 Activities to Keep Learning Fun in the Summer
1. Cook with Your Preschooler in the Kitchen!
Have your children come up with ideas on what they want to cook with you. Look for recipes together. There are some great ones with pictures and words. Have them help read the recipe, measure ingredients, mix, and prepare. Have them predict how the food will taste and what changes will occur while it cooks. After tasting, rate the food and decide whether or not they would make/eat it again. What might they do differently?
2. Let Your Preschooler Help You Grocery Shop!
Your mundane and routine trip for groceries actually includes several positive teaching moments, so take your children shopping with you! Before you visit the store, let them help you with creating a list. This will allow them to practice their writing, either by copying your words or using inventive spelling lists. Work on social skills by greeting store employees and engaging in conversation with them. While shopping, involve them in the process. Talk about healthy choices and help them understand some of the science behind preparing food.
3. Head to the Beach and Tidepool with Your Preschooler!
Visit a local beach and do some tide-pooling. Bring buckets, shovels, paper, writing tools, a camera, and a magnifying glass. Have your children gather up various creatures, spend time looking at periwinkles (did you know that if you hum to them they come out?), examine shells, urchins, and seaweed. Feel the water, sand, rocks, and enjoy the natural beaches. Document your discoveries! Take photos, draw pictures, or write down their finds and feelings about the beach.
4. Get Your Preschooler to Start Journaling!
Have them draw a picture/write their favorite thing from the week. Let them narrate their work as you write down their words. Encourage your children to try writing some words of their own and help them as you elongate sounds for them. Pull the journal out occasionally and reflect on what you have done over the summer together.
5. Plant a Garden with Your Preschooler!
Head to the store and allow your children to select seeds and planters of choice. Get them excited about your garden! Paint and decorate the pots and get gardening! Show your children how to care for the crops and what is needed for their growth. This will enhance the understanding of responsibility, patience, and long-term reward.
6. Visit the Library with Your Preschooler!
Sign your children up for a library card. Spend time together reading books: ask questions to help build their comprehension, highlight words as you read, and ask open ended questions to get them thinking about the characters in the book. Once Kindergarten starts, they will be visiting the PCA Library weekly. Starting this routine during the summer months provide preparation for the school year. Plus, having a library card is an exciting part of growing up!
7. Engage in Play Time with Your Preschooler!
Build intentional, uninterrupted time for them to play, create, wonder, and explore. We are often so busy and many children are engaged in a variety of extra-curricular activities that intentional play time is sometimes pushed aside. Get them outside and let their imaginations run wild. Sometimes providing them with open-ended props will help them get creative: dishes, scarves, fairy house materials, small animal/people figurines, magnifying glasses, bug boxes, etc. Give them the jump start they need to engage in creative play and strive for a mostly screen-free summer.
Enjoy This Special Time with Your Preschooler!
Learning is interrelated: growth and development in one area influences and/or depends on development in another area. No one area of childhood development and learning is more important than another. All areas reinforce each other.
Interactions with parents, early childhood professionals, and other caring adults play a key role in brain development. There are less than 2,000 days from the time a child is born until he or she enters Kindergarten. Every day counts. Birth through Kindergarten sets the foundation for a child’s future learning and development. This is the time to maximize each child’s learning potential. These critical years are also the time for families and early childhood professionals to observe and monitor development closely. Each child grows and develops at his or her own pace. Have fun, try new activities, and take advantage of the summertime!