Summer Fun Checklist


Week of June 4 – Make Some Music!

Music can play a huge role in children’s language and literacy development.  Singing helps children explore new words and sounds, and dancing is a great way to express yourself.  Singing, dancing and listening to music together helps you build a warm, loving relationship – and it’s a lot of fun!  Champaign and Urbana Public Libraries offer great story and song times each week for kids from 0-5, and if you can’t make it there, Champaign has great videos online.  Ask your child about his or her favorite song – have a sing-a-long!


Week of June 11 – Go Green!

Get outside and check out all the green stuff around us.  If you have a garden, measure how the plants are growing.  If you don’t have a garden, just plant some seeds in a pot and see what happens.  Head over to the Market at the Square in Urbana, and see all the great things that people grow.  It’s fun to go for breakfast and sample fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried.  Here are some book and activity ideas for learning about our Green World.  And you can watch Elmo and the former First Lady Michelle Obama plant vegetables here!


Week of June 18th – Get Messy!

Summer is a great time to take a bunch of art supplies outside and go crazy!  Fill up spray bottles with water, and rinse off the sidewalk, or the side of the house.  Use sidewalk chalk to draw beautiful pictures on the sidewalk, then paint over them with water to see what happens.  Fill up some ice cube trays with water and food coloring the night before, then paint with the colored ice cubes.  And, Play Dough outside is always fun.  Even on a rainy day, you can have fun with art outside – draw with markers on card stock, then stick it in the rain to see what happens.  Or, finger paint with mud on old newspapers!  Read The Rain Came Down by David Shannon, and here are some ideas for books about rain.  Sing Rain Rain Go Away and Mr. Sun.  Or watch this old school Winnie the Pooh.


Week of June 25 – Move It!

Run around, go to the park, hit the pool – it’s important that kids get plenty of chances to get out and move around!  Try out a new park – Hessel in Champaign, and Meadowbrook in Champaign have cool climbing stuff.  And Mayfair and Clark Park are great hidden gems.  Here are some great ideas to help you set up a backyard obstacle course.  Turn on some music and just start dancing!  Some kids will do “Ring Around the Rosie” and “London Bridges” for hours.


Week of July 2nd Celebrate America!

Talk about the colors and shapes on the American flag.  Then create your own family flag.  Have your child pick out, cut and glue construction paper.   Or color this American Flag.  Here’s a little video your kids might like. Read Hurray for the 4th of July by Wendy Watson or other  books about Independence Day. Sing Yankee Doodle Dandy. 


Week of July 9thExplore Outdoors


Let’s go outdoors and look for signs of summer! Take a “Listening Walk”.  First read the book, The Listening Walk by Paul Showers.  Or see and hear it being read here.  Take a walk.  Close your eyes and listen to all the sounds around you.  See if you can guess what is making some of the sounds.  Talk about what you see and hear.   Then check out this Nature Sound map to hear sounds from all over the world.  Make stone soup with a bucket of water, add rocks, weeds, whatever you can find!  Some fun books about nature. Sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider or one of these songs about nature.


Week of July 16thPlay a Game

Play a board game – try Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, preschoolers love Memory and Picture Bingo, too. Find a new place to read together – outside, on the kitchen floor, in the bathtub.  Read a book with repetition, like Jump Frog Jump!, by Robert Kalan; Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina or Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood. When you’re done, have your child help you retell the story, or what happened next.  Play “I Spy”. Check out any of the Usborne 1001 Things to Spot books, or the Scholastic I Spy series.


Week of July 23rd – Rhyme Time

Read a poem. Let your child guess the next rhyming word. This works really well with Dr. Seuss books like Hop on Pop and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish too!  When you are in the car, shout out things you see and have your kids come up with words that rhyme – like “store” and “more”.  Don’t worry if they come up with nonsense words – the idea is to get the rhyming sound.

Talk about what you did in the summer when you were a kid.  Read two fun summer-themed, rhyming books – Summer by Alice Low & Roy McKie, and In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming.


Week of July 30th – Following Directions

Choose a recipe, read it together. Have fun making and eating your creation together.  Play “Simon Says” – to make it more fun you can change it to “Spiderman Says” or “The Princess Says”. Don’t worry about winning or losing, just use the game as a way to listen and follow directions. Other fun games to work on listening and following directions are “Red Light, Green Light” and “Follow the Leader”.

When driving in the car, point out letters on signs and talk about words that start with them.


Week of August 6thBack to Bedtime

Begin working on back-to-school routines – regular bedtimes and waking up. Talk about why it’s important to get enough sleep, and discuss how your child gets ready for bed. Print out these Bedtime Routine pictures and have your child put them in the right order. Make a Bedtime Routine Chart and post it on your child’s door.

At bedtime, read The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest, or your favorite going to bed books. Have your child make up words for Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Snuggle and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!


Week of August 13th – Get Ready!

Talk about going to school.  Here’s some info about reading to your child and a list of great back-to-school books.  Come explore at MMO – we’ll try to open the playground during the week before school starts.  At the end of the day, remember all the things you did – in order.  Write a note, or draw a picture and hide it in a place where your child will find it.

This year we’re focusing on Dr. Seuss, so you and your kids can read a few books before school starts.  Check out a whole bunch of fun Dr. Seuss stuff here.

Come meet your teachers on August 17 between 9 and 10:30.