Miss Anna's Summer Guide!

Welcome Summer!

Dear Families,

It's hard to believe the school year is officially over and summer is here! Many of you have requested activities or things to do with your child. Below are a few suggestions. The most important two being: Play Outside! A Lot. And read to your child daily! :)

Have a great summer & don't forget you can always share your nature discoveries with me via twitter: adutke (I use this to share my own summer adventures) or by email adutke@priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us I always look forward to hearing from past students (hint, hint!)

Here's to a great summer of learning, playing, and lots of adventures!

Miss Anna

Nature Play Areas in the Twin Cities

Here are a few nature play areas in the Twin Cities. Check them out!

Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township

Minnesota Zoo: Hanifl Family Wild Woods

Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

Whitetail Woods Regional Park, Farmington

Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN

Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, MN

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood

Nature Journaling

Have your child do daily or weekly nature journaling. Let your child participate in selecting what he/she wants to draw. When an item or event has been selected, you can write the word(s) of the object on another piece of paper for your child to copy. When you do this, talk about the letters that are in the word. "Nest starts with a /N/ sound. Do you know what letter makes that sound?" You can focus on the first letter or all the letters depending on your child's skill & interest (keep it fun!).

Writing stories is also fun! Have your child draw something he/she sees in nature and then come up with a story that incorporates the item.

Don't forget, nature journaling is more fun when mom or dad does it with you! Get your own journal and draw alongside your child.

Read, Read, Read!

Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development. Among other things, reading aloud builds word-sound awareness in children, a potent predictor of reading success.

Visit your local library or take an adventure an visit one of the many Little Free Libraries around the Twin Cities. Here is more information & where you can find them. https://littlefreelibrary.org/

Many websites have online books that can be "read"/listened to on an iPad or similar device. While having an adult read to a child is still better, this is a great activity to incorporate into screen time. We Give Books is one example of a website that has free books online.


Koo Koo Kangaroo is one of our favorite groups to dance to. Here's a favorite: You are the Coolest Person I know! More music can be found on youtube or GoNoodle (a very kid friendly website)

Name Writing

It's important to have your child continue to practice writing his/her name throughout the summer. You can use the sheets we sent home, or make your own. If your child has mastered uppercase, you can switch to lowercase. If you child is unsure of how to write his/her name independently, have an example for them to refer to so they always are practicing writing it correctly. And if your child has mastered his/her first name with lowercase letters, he/she can start practicing his/her last name.

Name writing doesn't always have to done on paper. Your child can practice writing it with chalk, sand, using water to "paint" it (on the side of the house, deck, etc), paints, sticks, mud, etc.

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!

Children should continue to work on their counting skills. Rote counting (goal should be 10-20), counting objects with 1:1 correspondence ("How many rocks did you find?"), and identifying the numbers 1-20 are all skills you can continue to work on during the summer.

This can be integrated into your day to day activities. From counting rocks at the park to counting cars in the street. Trips to the store and going for a walk to look at license plates offer the opportunity to practice both letter and number recognition.

Letter & Sound Recognition Activities

Letter Practice

The more upper & lowercase letters as well as letter sounds your child can identify, the better prepared they will be for Kindergarten.

Letter and sound recognition are skills that develop with repeated exposure and application to the child's daily experiences. So pointing out letters during a story you are reading "This book is called _____ what's the first letter in the word _____?" or doing a letter find in the grocery store are two examples of best practices for working on letter recognition (versus doing flash cards or worksheets that involve writing the letter over and over again).

Incorporate writing into your child's daily play. If they are having a lemonade stand, talk about the letters in the word Lemonade when making the sign. If they are playing cars, help them make street signs, traffic signs, signs for buildings, etc. Make lists of things you see during the day that start with a certain letter.

Keep it positive & fun! In place of other games, include alphabet games in your child's daily screen time. If your child isn't confident, make sure to set you child up for success and boost his/her confidence by not doing things like flashcards or recall drilling "what letter is this" but focus on activities that allow them to match or find letters. For example, "Here is the letter A (show example), how many A's can you find in the book/store/on license plates, etc."

Below are some other examples of letter and sound recognition activities.


Zoophonics pairs letter recognition and letter sounds with an action. When watching the video, have your child do the actions while also saying the letter name & sound aloud.
Zoophonics Sounds


These videos highlight individual letters as well as the entire ABCs. Lots of storybot videos can be found on youtube. Below is one example.
ABC Song: The Letter A, "Hooray For A" by StoryBots

Alphabet Apps

Here are a few sites that list some recommended apps that emphasize letter recognition and are fun for children to play. However, just remember screen time should be monitored & used in moderation.

Recommended Apps: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/alphabet-apps

Eye Spy...

Eye spy is always a popular game. You can reinforce letter recognition by playing alphabet eye-spy when driving, at the store, or at home with letters hidden throughout the room. You can also play using the letter sounds "Eye spy something that starts with the sound /d/. What letter makes that sound? What do you think I spy?"

Playing in the dark with flashlights makes the game even more fun and exciting!