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Home » Featured, Fit Families, Teacher Talk

More Summer Time Parent – Child Activities; Making Meaningful Differences

Submitted by on June 1, 2010 – 6:00 AM5 Comments
More Summer Time Parent – Child Activities; Making Meaningful Differences

Summer time is truly a great time for parents to be able to enjoy quality time with their children.  There is no stress of getting homework finished.  There is no worry about getting children prepared for getting off to school on time. The number of notes to read and sign are greatly lessened.  If your child attends a childcare program during the summer, the days and evenings still have a more relaxed feeling. Days are long and there are many moments for parents and children to have quality times of interaction and language.  A noted research study (Hart and Risley, 1995) called Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children revealed that the amount of talking that went on in families from the earliest days of a child’s life had a direct correlation to children’s vocabularies, breadth of knowledge, problem solving, analytical competencies and self confidence.  In simpler terms, children who were talked to the most came to school the most ready.  Children in the study were followed and they continued to do well in school from earliest years through 3rd grade.  So you may be asking yourself if talking to your child is really that important.  If you have been reading Mr. Tom’s articles on Sexual Healing, it comes down to the same thing Communication! Communication in every sense is what makes a relationship between two persons one that continues to get better and better. This is just what happens with our children.  When we take the time to talk with them as we go about our and their everyday tasks, we are opening the world of learning to them.  They get better and better at many things!  When we talk with them as we do activities together, travel in the car, and do routine household tasks, we have the opportunity to build vocabulary and ideas. We have the opportunity to give them positive feedback.  We have the opportunity to help children have many diverse experiences. We have the opportunity to help them learn how to ask questions and solve problems.  All of these past experiences in the family influence how children choose and handle new experiences.  People get better at those things they see and do more.  Mr. Tom talked about how couples who enjoy intimacy often and with variety tend to be healthier and happier.  Every parent, no matter what his income level, has the opportunity to talk a lot to his child and to provide his child with many high quality interactions.  These interactions will make the child smarter and more competent, basically healthier and happier!!

Now that children are out of school, here are a few more ways to interact and talk with your child.

  • Children love to paint.  Help them find many items to use as paint brushes.  Some ideas are feathers, pieces of yarn and string, twigs, leaves, sponges, cotton swabs, and old toothbrushes.
  • Allow your young child to use safety scissors.  Let them practice cutting paper. This is an important skill.  Other ways to practice are cutting pictures from magazines and catalogues.  Cutting and sorting grocery coupons together is another idea.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt in your yard or neighborhood.  Together with your child, make a list of things to find such as an unusual rock, a colorful flower, different sizes and colors of leaves, berries, animal tracks, birds, and insects.  Help your child to observe and describe many sights in nature.
  • When you come back from the scavenger hunt, help your child to find more information about the things he noticed and had questions about.  You can find more information from books at the library, research on the internet, and from various videos and television shows.
  • Help your child learn about healthy eating.  Make a fruit smoothie by combining different kinds of fruits in the blender. Plan healthy snacks together. Show your child the ingredients on various foods and help them understand why people should eat less food with sugar and fats.
  • Play traditional games with your child such as Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, Candyland, Scrabble, Old Maid, and Fish.
    Help them enjoy traditional outdoor activities such as hula hoops, playing hopscotch, tag, and many games with balls.
    If you do not finish the game, allow your child to continue it on the next day.

Tell you child often the many things he is doing well and how proud you are of him.  Whisper “I love you!”  Children who grow up with much affirmation have confidence in negotiating school and life. Children who grow up with an abundance of negative comments and putdowns feel unsure and incompetent when faced with new challenges.  Parents, you truly can make the meaningful differences in everyday experiences for your child that will last a lifetime.  Talk, talk and interact with your child. Make this summer the best summer yet.!

Sunshine mamas reading this article, let me know some of the activities you are enjoying doing with your children this summer.

If you haven’t already, please see Dr. Annies first blog in this series…Summer Time – Parent Child Activities.

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  • Wow!! What wonderful ideas for even MORE activities Dr. Annie!!

    I like to think that I communicate with my children often. We are fortunate enough to be together 24/7…I said fortunate right;)?!! I truly love the fact that I’m able to be there for pretty much everything. A scrape on the knee, a mean girl at school, a fight with each other…whatever it is, I’m there to help them learn and grow with every situation!! Your blog is a reminder of how these everyday encounters really do mold our children FOR LIFE!! (I try to make all we do meaningful, but I find myself loosing focus of that on occasion; I’m human right?;))

    I also tend to think that a summer activity means over the top…a trip to Disney, going to the zoo, a huge playdate with lunch and ALL of our friends. All fun, but can be expensive, time consuming, lots of prep and planning, a headache…lol!! Thanks for putting summer fun into perspective…a walk to the 7-11 to get a tasty Slurpee and Red Box DVD, a swim in our neighbors pool, a camp out!! This is what the McCluskey family has been doing this summer!! The simple things; creating memories that last a lifetime!

    Thanks for the awesome words of wisdom!

    All my love,

  • Mr. Tom says:

    Hi Dr. Annie,
    I think back to the most simple of things of my/our youth. Actually, Dr. Annie, we were both together such a long time ago (1961-63) in St. Pete. To me it was just learning to play catch with my dad. It was my mother playing dodgeball, tag and keepaway with us! It was YOUR dad as my GREAT little league coach. I remember your mother. All of your family and 11 brothers and sisters taught you/me the same games. It was our babysitting for my little “sista” and she was such a “Barbie Doll” brat! Later it was just us looking at the stars and the sky and our future dreams. That is something I will hold on too forever. Can I hold on to you forever? All in life goes by so fast. Childhood turns into youth and into adulthood…
    Summer is fun and for sharing with children. Grasp onto it. SAVOR this time for it will soon be gone. Soon, they’re dreams will be of the past just washed in dreams…

  • Annie says:

    Lori and Mr. Tom,
    You both understand exactly what I was explaining. In research, the important language and learning that occurs between parents and children is called the “other stuff.” The “other stuff” is just what you both shared. It is those activities and interactions that mold us, that teach how right from wrong. In spending time with our parents and other signifcant adults, we learn about the past, about hopes and dreams, trials and tribulations. Ofen when my sweet preschool neighbors visit, they ask me about family pictures displayed all over my home. Their questions give me the opportunity to share about my family past and present. This usually leads them to ask more questions. Our back and forth discussion shows me so much about their thinking patterns and the connections they make each time that we share. Last time Hailee visited me she said, “That’s your mommy and daddy, right? You loved them so much and they are heaven, right? My mommy and daddy love me so much too, and they love Maddie.” She is only four years old, but she is making sense out of life. Our conversations and interactions help our children understand more than we can ever imagine. Mr. Tom and Lori, you are both so on target about the importance of everyday activities. I can’t really remember well going to expensive theme parks or tourist locations as a child. But I can remember sliding down snowy hillsides on a sled with my father and going to the icy pond to skate. I can remember my dad teaching me to ride a bicycle for many days on end. I can remember going blackberry and blueberry picking with my mom. I can remember learning how to cook and sew with my mom. I can remember going to the fish market with my Norwegian grandfather and sea captain. I can remember watching him make fishing nets with great precision and I always remember the Norwegian words he taught me. They are all part of the experiences that make me the unique person that I am. They are sweet memories stored in my heart forever.

  • Elena says:

    I love this article because all of my fond memories as a child are of the simplest things. I grew up in the country on 80 acres of beautiful wooded land with six siblings. We LIVED in the woods. We had forts and a “rock store” where we found rocks we thought were pretty, put them on a wooden stand and tried to get my parents dear friends to buy them from us for a nickel. My parents were always giving us experiences, sometimes a theme park or show, but the experiences that stuck in my memory were always the free kind. The picnics, working in the garden, picking apples or grapes in the vineyard, the fishing, berry picking, baking…the list goes on. Stop spending money mamas and go on a picnic or plant a flower! I guarantee they will remember that, over standing in a long, hot line at a theme park.

  • when summer comes, our summer activity ranges from kayaking to mountain climbing and also hiking too *-‘