Summer Structure & Skills

This Summer Structure & Skills post is brought to you by our guest writer and special needs consultant Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

Although everyone breathes a big sigh of relief when the rigorous routine of school ends, we can’t forget about the importance of structure.  All children, especially those with special needs thrive in a structured environment and become creatures of habit with the routine that they become so familiar with in the school setting. As parents and caregivers, one of the most important things we can do over the summer is to implement a sense of structure to our summer plans.  In addition to structure, it is a great idea to visit and refresh some basic school skills. Reviewing fine motor skills, study skills, reading, math and even trivia are all tasks that can be done in a fun, friendly summer environment!

Boys at Table with Learning Mats

Each morning have a plan ready for your child. Write out a schedule of the day’s events and try your best to stick to the plan.  As soon as your day begins, the basic skill review can start with these great Melissa & Doug Learning Mats. The set even comes with bright, colorful wipe off crayons for endless hours of fun. Challenge your kids to try and complete one side of their placemat while you are getting their breakfast ready, and the other side when they are done eating. Many children also love the “beat the clock” game while doing these type of tasks.

Boy with Scissors SkillsAnother idea is to set aside a regular time of the day to “play school”. Even if the kids are the teachers, many important skills can be reviewed such as scissor skills, letter formation and basic addition. Ask your “teacher” to show you how to hold the scissors, let them write the ABC’s first and you copy them or even let them create simple word problems for you, the student to solve.

Boys with SmartyPants GameMelissa & Doug’s Smarty Pants cards are a great tool to use when hosting nightly trivia competitions.  These unique, grade level questions will keep your kids as sharp as tacks over the summer covering a wide range of subject areas.  Try having your children keep score, which is another opportunity to have them reviewing their basic math skills.  Children are sure to look forward to these routines in their summer schedules while keeping up their basic skills!

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About Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D:

After studying early childhood education at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Liguori began her career as a classroom teacher in one of the nation’s top school districts, Montgomery County, Maryland. There she fostered an environment where play and learning were synonymous, and her reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to toys began. Dr. Liguori completed her doctorate in Developmental and Learning Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at prestigious private schools in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding suburbs before settling her family and practice in Westport, CT.