It’s SUMMER!! Every kid I have ever known is excited for Summer. Sure, most are thrilled because school is out, and they do not have to get up early or do homework. The reality of their excitement, whether they realize it or not, is that they get to be a kid!
Let’s make this the best summer ever for our kids! I know many are involved with various camps, athletic teams, and theater production just to name a few. Those are all wonderful things and bring other amazing adults into the lives of your kids who can pour into them and make a positive impact. There is a secret sauce to making summer truly amazing, memorable, and beneficial…physically, emotionally, and academically…for our kids. The two best things you can do to prepare your child for school in the Fall are to read to them daily… regardless of how old they are… and get them playing outside! Yep, it is just that simple.
Growing up, I was blessed to spend all Summer outside! My friends and I built forts, played in the creek, invented new games, and played in the sprinkler as often as we could. We argued if a player was safe or out. We compromised on what to do and when. The best way to properly develop a child’s sensory and motor skill development is through active, free play. Active, free play gives our kids an opportunity to use their creativity and improve their problem-solving skills. It allows kids to fall and scrape their knees, get up, and find new ways to succeed. Social skills improve when playing with other children in that outdoor environment as well.
As adults, we should be equally as excited for this glorious time of year. I know things get more challenging during the summer with work and the kids being home. Time is, perhaps, the most important commodity in today’s world…it is nonrenewable and that second hand on that clock just keeps moving. Let’s make this summer different for our kids. Let’s go outside with them and allow them to decide what to play, where to ride their bikes, or take a walk. Take the time to play kickball with ghost runners and play in the rain. Visit as many local parks and playgrounds as you can. Not only are there physical benefits from being outside, the relationship between you and your child will improve and everyone will be in a much better mood. Oh, and everyone will sleep much better at night!
Before you know it, your kids will be off to college, the military, or the workforce. Enjoy this summer as a family, engaging with your child outside and playing. Listen to the stories they make up. Listen to their intoxicating laughter. Stop and watch their innocence and joy as they play. Let them struggle when they climb that tree or try to move that heavy rock. Take many mental snapshots throughout the summer.
Go out and make this the best summer ever!
Recommended Reading: Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom
Hanscom, A. J. (2016). Balanced and barefoot: how unrestricted outdoor play makes for strong, confident, and capable children. [United States], New Harbinger Publications.
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