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Top summer learning activities for tykes

Top tips for keeping your preschooler or kindergartner sharp this summer.

By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann

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Scribblers and scribes

Young children can work on writing skills by keeping a summer journal — chronicling family trips, day camps, and what they’re looking forward to next year. To keep it light and fun, add in illustrations, word collages, and photos with handwritten captions. Even if you have to do most of the writing for your preschooler or kindergartner, journal keeping will reinforce the lesson that writing is valuable — and fun.

Retired kindergarten teacher Mary Kay Goetz suggests taking your child to the store to pick out a notebook and a fun pen to get him excited about journaling. (Or download and print this free summer journal.) "Kids don’t have to journal every day, but they should do it a few times a week," Goetz says. When they do, sit down and read the entries together. Young children love recounting their own stories!  free summer journal.

Sidewalk chalk is another fun, easy way to work on writing skills. Have your child practice letters, words, and even sentences on the driveway. At the beach, use Mother Nature's blackboard by writing together in the sand with a rock or a stick, then letting the waves erase your words so you can start over again.

Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a freelance writer based in Detroit. She has written for  children's health and parenting magazines and blogs about both topics at Mom meets baby.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/16/2011:
"i moving school ddsd"
06/13/2011:
"Alomoist harml;ess. ALMOST HARMLESS. It sounds like if the child has hit the age of two, it's time to put the pressure on. IMHO, if they see you reading, if they see books on the table, on the night-table, they WILL WANT TO READ. iF THEY SEE YOU PLOPPPED IN FRONT OF THE tV . . . "
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