Learning through the Summer: 3 Considerations for Boosting Parent Engagement

Learning through the Summer: 3 Considerations for Boosting Parent Engagement

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Summer learning is critical for all learners. There are important strategies to consider when planning for summer learning-and planning is important.

As a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, if we are aware of the daily interactions we have with children and use them effectively and wisely, we can:

  • build experiences

  • build language/vocabulary

  • build social and quality time


One of the most important aspects to remember for summer learning: it does NOT have to cost anything, except your time.

A favorite article of mine, published in Reading Rockets, “Your Home as a Learning Experience,” focuses on the child’s immediate environment to use as a learning bridge. What I mean by that is that children bridge experiences to learning and build vocabulary too through hands-on activities using their five senses.

A great example of this is the kitchen. Using your cooking time, and planning for what you will do and ask to involve children is a special bonding time.


Mother and on putting away groceriesYou are giving of your time, sharing a cultural experience through cooking, and learning:

  • literacy skills through the many labels or covers of food products

  • math through measurement and quantity

  • science through the cooking process

  • writing skills through journaling cooking experiences and

  • geography through where foods come from

If families plan these discussions, save the can labels and make a journal, or create stories by detailing what is cooked daily, summer learning can flourish.

Families can also use quality time by:

  • Family Activities taking nature walks

  • pointing out plants and trees at the park

  • planting a garden

  • germinating seeds in the kitchen

  • painting with water on a sidewalk and talking about evaporation

  • doing leaf rubbings with a crayon on a blank paper and discussing leaf parts

  • reading books together

  • visiting a relative and discussing the past

  • creating a dessert together

  • discussing the cloud formations

  • creating a weather chart for a month

  • playing with water outside and see what objects sink or float


Parent playing blocks with their children The most important part of these activities is awareness of what can be done and discussed and planning some of these experiences so that they are meaningful. Research shows us that spending time with our children and playing with them provides them stability, helps them with their behavior, helps them do better in school, and have a better relationship with their peers and other adults.

Playing and learning for young children go hand-in-hand, so taking time out during the day to spend quality time with children and engaging with them is important.

Even on days when play time may be minimal, talking with your children, and involving them in daily routines and activities such as folding laundry can be an important learning time:

  • Fold towels to make shapes: rectangle to square, to a triangle.

  • Pair socks to learn about one-to-one correspondence.

  • Talk about sizes and order from largest to smallest, or smallest to largest.

  • Discuss quantities: How many towels were folded? What had more in the laundry?

Parents and child at the grocery store
Or, walking through a grocery store:

  • Find different textures of fruits and vegetables.

  • Discuss where foods come from.

  • Talk about seeds and how plants have a life cycle.

  • Discuss why some foods need refrigeration.

Take a minute and think about what impacted you most growing up. Usually a family member can be recalled that provided:

  • experiences

  • language/vocabulary

  • social and quality time


Now, we can influence the next generation and make each child feel special and cared for by our quality time.


Learning Through Summer: 3 Considerations for Boosting Parent EngagementWhat's Next?

Interested in learning more? Join me for a free on-demand webinar Learning Through Summer: 3 Considerations for Boosting Parent Engagement. Families are at the core of learning and during the summer, are critical in providing continued opportunities for learning and engagement together. In this webinar, you will learn three considerations for boosting parent engagement through the summer. These include opportunities for learning strategies that will address learning using the home and community environment.

In this webinar, participants will:

•    learn four ways parents can help their child at home to continue to learn through the summer.
•    discover suggestions for resources to help learning during the summer.
•    explore a plan to develop and share for family engagement


Register Now:
Watch the on-demand webinar at your own pace.

Want more strategies to prepare young learners for school with engaging learning experiences?

Being Your Child's Most Important Teacher: A Guide for Families with Young ChildrenCheck out the new release Being Your Child's Most Important Teacher: A Guide for Families with Young Children from the author Rebecca A. Palacios. This book provides families with ideas for learning opportunities that can happen every day.

Being Your Child’s Most Important Teacher: A Guide for Families with Young Children includes:

  • A variety of free or low-cost learning activities designed for parents and families

  • Specific tasks that boost literacy, math, science, social studies, and vocabulary skills

  • Advice and techniques from nationally renowned educator Rebecca A. Palacios

  • Guidance for preparing children for school, including tips for preventing summer learning loss


Early childhood experiences pave the way for later success in school and life. The ideas and activities in this book help support children’s mental, emotional, and social growth as they get ready to enter school. Using these meaningful strategies, families can enrich and enlighten children with a sense of wonder. Build school readiness for young learners with this exciting book!


Author bio

Rebecca A. Palacios, Ph.D., NBCT

Rebecca A. Palacios, Ph.D., NBCT, Author and Expert

Rebecca A. Palacios, Ph.D., is a renowned expert in early childhood education, dual language learning, and parent engagement. She spent three decades with the Corpus Christi Independent School and has served as an adjunct professor with Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, University of the Incarnate Word, and Del Mar College. She is the first Latina to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame and served as a vice chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.