I am a kindergarten teacher who knows the value of rest and play that accompanies summer vacation. I also know the benefits of providing children with opportunities to continue developing their skills.
The school year will soon be coming to an end and with that a potential gap in structured learning experiences for our children.
I always like to send my students with into the summer with some resources and ideas to help them keep learning throughout the summer. There is a place for workbooks and worksheets in the process of learning, but there are many other ways to retain and nurture the development of foundational skills. Consider these kindergarten teacher-mama recommendations for summer learning for the early primary grades.
1. Child-Centered Activities:
Keeping Tech In Check is a great online resource for parents with ideas, tips, activities and products for literacy and learning with many suggestions to help you manage your family’s screen time. A unique feature I like on the site is the random activity generator, where you can simply click on the link for a story, activity, or suggestion and come away with a fun, child-centered activity to do with your child.
Here are some of my other favorite sites that include inspiration for child-centered activities:
- PBS Parents http://www.pbs.org/parents/summer/
- Reading is Fundamental http://www.rif.org/literacy-resources/activity/
- The Artful Parent http://artfulparent.com
- Playful Learning http://playfullearning.net
2. Unplugged Games:
Playing board games as a family can be a great way to unplug from electronic devices. Board games, stacking games and card games can also provide educational opportunities for children to practice important social skills, such as taking turns, practicing self-control and perseverance. Here are some of my favorite games for both the home and classroom:
- Chutes and Ladders
3. Apps and Websites:
There are thousands of free educational apps marketed to young children, but some offer a limited experience or can be distracting with pop-ups and advertisements. Content and quality can vary greatly, too.
As an educator and mother, I work to make intentional choices with the tools I use to facilitate learning. The following kid-tested and teacher-mama approved websites and apps are both educational, developmentally appropriate and engaging for young children.
Apps for Learning:
- Teach Me Toddler – 24×7 digital
- Teach Me Kindergarten – 24 x 7 digital
- Base 10 Bingo – abcya.com
Word Bingo – abcya.com
Alphabetical Order – abcya.com
Starfall ABC’s – Starfall Education
Starfall All About Me – Starfall Education
- Starfall Learn to Read -Starfall Education
Starfall I’m Reading – Starfall Education
Starfall It’s Fun to Read – Starfall Education
- Starfall Numbers – Starfal Education
- Endless Reader – Originator Inc
- Endless Wordplay – Originator Inc.
Endless Numbers – Originator Inc.
Endless Alphabet – Originator Inc.
- Tally Tots Counting -Spinlight Studio
- Alphatots Alphabet – Spinlight Studio
- Line ’em Up – Classroom Focused Software
- Alphabetical: Learn the alphabet in order by sight and sound
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App – Disney
4. Practice Foundational Skills:
As a teacher of young children and as a mother of four I know and understand that it takes time and practice for young children to learn foundational skills. The summer months can be an opportune time to sneak in learning, working toward mastery of many easy to grasp foundational skills. Find opportunity to work with your child so that he or she can practice and learn the following skills:
- Tying shoe laces
- Reciting and dialing phone numbers
- Reciting their address
- Sharing their birthday
- Counting to 100
- Count backward from 20
- Counting by 5’s to 100
- Count by 2’s to 20
- Count by 10’s to 100
- Writing numbers to 100
- Writing first, middle and last name
- Practicing coin recognition & values
5. Read! Read! Read!
Reading to your child, listening to your child read or simply reading alongside your child are simple ways we, as parents, can support literacy development and healthy reading habits at home — and build a foundation for lifelong academic success.
Go to the library often this summer! Many public libraries offer special summer reading programs.
Do you have any great resources and ideas that you would add to this list?