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I hope everyone is enjoying the start to summer!  While this is a great time to check out all Chicago has to offer, travel to new (or familiar places), it’s also a great time to give your child(ren) downtime and let them learn from the natural outcomes of free play. Free play fosters children’s creativity, allows them time to explore and discover freely, socialize and navigate situations on their own, and develops their own passions and interests!

I came across this great article in the Atlantic recently, and wanted to share it with you (it’s brief, I promise):

Why Free Play is the Best Summer School

I love that the article refers to Montessori schools, and recognizes that we value what free play has to offer for a child’s development (often Montessori and play are misunderstood)!

Here’s a great quote from the article:

Free play is nature’s means of teaching children that they are not helpless. In play, away from adults, children really do have control and can practice asserting it. In free play, children learn to make their own decisions, solve their own problems, create and abide by rules, and get along with others as equals rather than as obedient or rebellious subordinates.

Lastly, I would like to share from Annie and Amy’s blog, a list that they compiled and shared with their families; some summer suggestions for children to do, with and without adults! 🙂

For all children:

  • Cook and bake together frequently
  • Practice zipping jackets and tying shoes
  • Take turns rhyming and playing various “I spy” games
  • Build with all kinds of puzzles
  • Offer open-ended play with all kinds of blocks
  • Offer good play doh, clay, and outdoor sandbox play often
  • Offer paint, paper, brushes, and the tools to take care of these materials
  • Visit a new neighborhood and have open discussions about differences and similarities
  • Allow your child(ren) to interact with other children on their own at the park (taking a book for yourself to enjoy on a bench nearby is recommended)
  • Invite a classmate and their family to meet at an event like a concert or a museum exhibition
  • Visit your local library frequently and support your child in seeking out, choosing books as independently as possible, allowing for interactions with other patrons and librarians.
  • As always, read to and with your child frequently

*when you ask your child questions about what was read, allow them time to answer but if she/he doesn’t remember, tell them what happened, keep it fun with a feeling that you are learning together.

For children preparing to enter 6-9:

  • Count, save, or earn money
  • Play and make board games
  • Study the clock; telling and writing the time
  • Journal writing
  • Letter writing
  • Creation and fulfillment of shopping lists
  • Offer many opportunities for your child to exercise resourcefulness and notice this ability with them
  • Offer your child the chance to plan a day trip into the city. They can research choices, decide where to go, how to get there, how much time to take, where to eat, and any other details. You can assist this process by helping them to figure out the cost, write down the day’s plan, making them aware of limiting factors, while ensuring that they feel that they are in charge of the plan.

Have a wonderful summer!

Posted in 0-6 - Reena Morgan