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We are on the countdown to summer break!  I cannot believe it! This year flew by and lots of learning flew by with it.  

Here are some ideas to keep your child learning through the summer and prepared for Kindergarten.  The most important of all would be to make sure you read to your child EVERY day. 


fine motor skills

Set up worksheets with lines across, curved lines, intersecting lines, and corners.  Have your child trace with a pencil or cut with scissors.

Roll a pencil from fingertips to top of palm without lifting back of palm off of the table and without using your thumb to help.

Hold several pennies in hand and place them into a slot can, such as a bank.  This is also the same as money into a parking meter. 

Feed oneself popcorn, one kernel at a time, while holding a handful.

Have your child write his/her name on everything he/she draws.

Cut out letters or objects from magazines.  Paste them on paper making a collage. 

gross motor skills

Make grocery bag balls.  Take a newspaper or brown grocery bags and crumple them into balls.  Wrap tape around them.  These balls can be used to kick, catch or throw. 

Play “obstacle course”.  Allow your child to go over, under, in, on, and through different obstacles you make from furniture and other safe objects in your home or outside.

Play “puddle jump”.  Put on rain gear on a rainy day and go outside to practice jumping over puddles.  Or, play this inside by pretending that pillows are the puddles.

Play “red light, green light”.  Explain that when you say “green light” children can move any way they like…..hop, jump, skip, run, etc.  But, when you say “red light”, they must stop and wait for you to call “green light” again. 

Pretend to be the teacher in an exercise class.  Ask your child to run in place, bend, stretch, or hop.  Then, let your child be the instructor who tells you what kinds of exercise to do. 

social / emotional growth

Continue to set up playdates!

Don't forget to continue to eat healthy!


Encourage your child to “read” a book to you by using the pictures to tell the story.

Ask your child to draw a picture and tell you a story about it.  Write down the child’s words at the bottom of the picture.  You can continue a journal entry in your child’s journal each week or twice per week. 

Help your child look through magazines and newspapers to find words that start with the first letter as his/her name.  Use a crayon or pencil to mark the letter. 

Show your child a picture or an object in your house.  Ask him/her to tell you a funny make-believe story about it.  You can begin by saying, “What if that spoon was a…….”

Recite nursery rhymes together.  Leave out the final rhyming words and encourage your child to fill in the blank.

Find an object around the house and ask your child to think of words that rhyme or sound the same.  Nonsense words are acceptable too as long as they rhyme. 

Select a few of your child’s favorite books and put them in a bag.  Ask your child to guess which book is in the bag by giving clues about the characters or the story.  “I have a book in the bag that is about a cookie man.  This cookie runs away.” (Gingerbread Man)

Create your own word patterns with fun words, having them come up with words that come next.  Example – splish, splash, splish, splash, ?

Encourage your child to count items around your house.  Count the stairs, the windows, etc. 

During bath time use different sized plastic cups and containers to measure water.  Talk about which cup holds more or less?  Find out how many small cups are needed to fill a big cup. 

Together with your child, write down special events on a calendar.  Look at it each week to talk about when they are happening.  Use words like yesterday or tomorrow or next week.

Use different kinds of objects to measure things.  Use your feet or hands to measure a room or furniture; use a pencil or a crayon to measure the size of a paper.

Play “a pocket full of change”.  Help your child begin to identify coins by sorting them according to size or color.  Talk about how they are alike or different.  Tell your child the names. 

Create sound patterns using your hands or mouths.  Ask your child to repeat them.  (clap, clap, snap, etc.)

Introduce your child to a variety of measurement tools such as a timer, a ruler, measuring cups, and thermometer.  Talk about what each one measures or is used for.  Practice using them. 

Discuss the word pairs and what things come in pairs.  Discuss what would happen if one was missing, such as shoes, earrings, socks, etc. 


As the easy days of summer fade away and a new school year begins, many families return to a very busy - sometimes almost unbearable - schedule.  Why not make a plan to start this school year calmly?


A simple plan that is carefully crafted and followed can provide a family atmosphere that is less hectic and infinitely more life-giving for your child and all members of the family.  A few ideas that may help get you started include:

Set up routines for your child including a regular time and quiet place for homework: regular physical activity, especially time for "free play"; healthy meals; and a regular bedtime that ensures enough sleep for your child.  Remember to read to your child each night before they go to sleep. 

Be selective with extracurricular activities for your child.  Children can become exhausted and overwhelmed if they are "booked" every minute of the day.  You will find that cutting back can greatly ease that feeling of always being rushed. 

Don't feel pressured by others to provide material things for your child.  What your child really needs is a loving parent. 

Never underestimate the power of the family meal.  Try to eat as many meals together as a family as you can.  Important conversations take place during these times. 

Make time to sit down with your child and listen to what your child is saying.  It need only be for a few minutes, but you will be amazed at how much you learn about your child by simply taking the time to listen. 

If you commit to starting the school year with a plan to keep it calm, your child will benefit and the entire family will too!



Lori Tomczak