By Laila Weir Summertime is almost here! Whether for your family that means hitting the road, getting outside, or lounging at home, we have some tips to keep your little ones learning at the same time. Hint: The key to summer learning is the same as the key to all learning with preschoolers—keep it fun. With that in mind, enjoy this roundup of fun summer learning games, activities, and more for preschoolers and young elementary school children. Mix Summer Learning into Your Preschooler’s . . .
By Andrea Hunt The idea of recorded stories is not a recent one. In fact, in 1877 Thomas Edison recorded what we could think of as the first partial audiobook on his new invention, the phonograph—a machine he dreamed would help bring storytelling into every home. His choice of material? One for the toddlers: the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb. But it wasn’t until more recent decades and technological advances that audio stories truly took off, gradually with books on tape and MP3s, . . .
By Chrysta Naron Scavenger hunts are a really dynamic way to get your children involved in the learning process. You can use them to teach math, vocabulary, science, colors, and reading! One of my favorite scavenger hunts to do with kids is an alphabet scavenger hunt. It’s free, fun, takes no prep work, and you can do it anywhere. How can you beat that? What’s more, it needs little to no adaptation for children with limited mobility. With this particular scavenger hunt, your . . .
By Chrysta Naron It’s that time of year again. When kids are looking forward to a break from the classroom (or class Zoom). When beach bags take the place of backpacks. And when parents begin rapping on my door with panicked looks asking, “What do I do to help them read?” And I get it—with camps to attend, a desire to spend fun time together, and constant stories about summer reading losses floating around, summer reading can feel overwhelming. Never fear! We’ve got you . . .
By Sarah Tiglao Learning letters, letter sounds, and eventually sight words becomes a fun game that your little one will want to play again and again, with this easy activity that grows with your children. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to make a fun, simple, free alphabet flash-card game to play at home or bring with you. You’ll also learn how to adapt it to your child’s skill level as they progress—plus how to keep it fun even for kids who aren’t yet emotionally prepared to . . .
By Laila Weir Raising a successful reader means more than having books around and sending your child off to school when the time comes—unfortunately, all too many kids are coming out of U.S. schools less than literate. To ensure children’s success, parents should actively teach them the ABCs and then support them all the way through learning to read, write, and spell well. But what if your child just can’t sit still? There’s no need to force things. Instead, find ways to meet them . . .
By Laila Weir Telling and sharing stories is a tradition so ancient and universal that some say that it’s what makes us human. It’s also an incredibly powerful tool for engaging children and building literacy. In fact, some teacher training suggests that storytelling supports all areas of literacy learning—listening skills, imagination and creativity, language use and story structure, and more—as well as improving cultural connection. But we knew that, didn’t we? The power of story is . . .
By Chrysta Naron One of my strongest memories growing up as a child was playing board games with my family. My dad’s favorite game was Sorry! Each time he bumped my piece off the board he shouted, “Sorry! I’m not sorry!” Was my dad creating trending phrases 20 years ahead of time or secretly a songwriter for Demi Lovato? Uncertain. But one thing’s sure—30 years later, I carry the warm memory of those evenings with me. Family game nights can be a really wonderful way to spend quality time . . .
By Maya Payne Smart The idea of reading to children daily is deeply entrenched in American culture, even if the practice hasn’t completely taken hold. Books advising parents on creating family reading routines, and recommending what to read to kids when, have flourished since the 1930s. Raise-a-reader stories are standard features of parenting magazines and blogs. Schools, teachers, and community organizations all tout the benefits of reading to kids. My local grocery store chain even . . .
By Laila Weir To set kids up for long-term success and get them kindergarten-ready, it’s important to introduce them to letters early and often. Repetition is key to really fixing these all-important squiggles into their memories, as is exposing them to letters in a variety of contexts. But as any parent knows, small children have a whole lot of energy to let out of their systems. Getting our little ones outside keeps them healthy and happy—and offers a welcome shot at tiring them . . .