Monthly tips for parents

Summer Learning, Side-by-Side

Summer Learning, Side-by-Side

Children are full of questions about the world around them, and summer is a perfect time to tap into your child's interests. Here are some ways to start a journey of discovery together.

Summer is a fun season! It's full of interesting bugs, games, and activities. These may lead to lots of questions from your kids:

  • How do fireflies light up?
  • Where do all the thunderstorms come from?
  • Who made the rules for baseball?
  • Why does it stay light for so long?
  • How do you make ice cream?
  • Where do the colors in fireworks come from?
  • What happens if I swallow a watermelon seed?

Grab hold of one of your child's questions and start a journey of discovery together!

  • Make regular visits to the library to find books, magazines, and movies on the topic your child is interested in. Look for related fiction as well as non-fiction.
  • Ask questions as you read together or when your independent reader finishes a book. Ask your child to tell you something new or surprising he learned, or to read a section that was full of interesting words.
  • Help your child learn the basics of Internet research, at home or at the library. Bookmark a few kid-friendly, educational websites and guide him through simple searches. Look at the American Library Association's Great Websites for Kids page for ideas.
  • Check out the summer programming schedule on your local public television station or educational shows on cable to see if there are shows related to your child's new interest.
  • Seek out free or inexpensive resources in your community: parks and recreation center programs, a community garden or farmer's market, museums (many have kids-get-in-free days), and neighborhood interest groups like the Stargazers Club — or start your own interest group! Taking a field trip together and having a hands-on experience can really add to what you have been learning from books and movies.
  • Keep a record of what you learn together — it's is a great way to engage young learners, provide writing practice, and help kids retain new knowledge. Start a journal, create a scrapbook, or send a handmade postcard to family or friends.
  • Invite your child to talk with family and friends about her new interest. Maybe your child never knew that grandpa collects rocks, too, and has a wonderful collection and stories to share. Encouraging kids to share with others gives them a chance to have some fun taking on the role of teacher!
Reading Rockets (2008)

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume