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Books for Summer Learning Through Play

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What is one of the best ways for children to accelerate learning over the summer? Through PLAY! When young children are engaged in thoughtful, imaginative play, they are not just having fun; they are developing skills and concepts that are foundational to their learning and school preparation. In this list of books, parents and caregivers will learn how to enhance everyday learning and engage creativity through play scenarios as well as indoor and outdoor explorations that take into account the interests of both parents and children. 

Provoking Curiosity

Student-Led STEAM Learning for Pre-K to Third Grade

Provoking Curiosity brings new and easy-to-execute STEAM learning experiences that encourage children to think, explore, and wonder. Each exploration builds on core ideas in the STEAM disciplines, develops higher-level thinking skills, and uses readily available materials in early childhood classrooms.


Little Walks, Big Adventures

50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers

Going for a walk or exploring the local community can bring about much more than just exercise. Little Walks, Big Adventures helps you teach your toddler about his/her surroundings through fun and adventurous local explorations, outdoor games and activities that promote and enhance learning.

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Exploring the Science of Sounds

100 Musical Activities for Young Children

Children will use their bodies to create sounds, explore the relationship between size and pitch, investigate how tempo affects the way we listen to sounds, create musical instruments, and much more. From the drops of rainwater to the tinkling of wind chimes, the science of sound is all around.

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Banish Boredom

Activities to Do with Kids That You'll Actually Enjoy

Taking a lighthearted approach to the serious business of parenting, Banish Boredom helps parents find activities that they enjoy, while their children learn and have fun. Rebecca Green takes readers on an inspiring journey using beautiful color photos that she took of her children doing activities she describes in the book. Taking a lighthearted approach to the serious business of parenting, Banish Boredom helps parents find activities that they enjoy, while their children learn and have fun. Green suggests ways for parents to maintain their own identities and pursue their own interests while raising children who are creative, confident and independent thinkers. 

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Play Today

Building the Young Brain Through Creative Expression

When young children are engaged in imaginative play, they are not just having fun; they are developing skills and concepts that are foundational to their learning. Teachers can get the most out of this critical development time with thoughtful preparations that allow the children to freely explore their creativity and learn from each other.

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Learning is in Bloom

Cultivating Outdoor Explorations

In the full-color Learning Is in Bloom, teachers and caregivers will find 40 hands-on activities effective in engaging young children in investigating nature, both indoors and outdoors, on the school grounds, and on excursions around the neighborhood.

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Seasons of Play

Natural Environments of Wonder

In Seasons of Play, Rusty Keeler takes readers on a photographic journey through real child care centers that have embraced his philosophy that natural play environments create new opportunities for children to explore and grow. Seasons of Play promotes play among natural elements. Using the author’s own photos, the book illustrates how to design natural play environments that encourage exploration and creativity in all seasons of the year. 

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The Homegrown Preschooler

Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live

Transform your home into a learning environment that rivals the best preschool classroom! Find exciting learning opportunities in everyday occurrences, from using laundry to teach sorting to exploring growth cycles in the garden, with the easy-to-organize, simple-to-start ideas, advice, and activities in The Homegrown Preschooler.

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Time to Create

Hands-On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children

Rather than merely teaching your child to name colors and to hold a pencil, the hands-on process art experiences in Time to Create encourage discovery through a variety of art media, including drawing, painting, print making, collage, and sculpture. With ideas for encouraging creativity, advice for choosing the right art project, and suggestions for minimizing the mess, you and your child will be on your way to fun-to-do art explorations in no time! 

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Let’s Take It Outside!

Teacher-Created Activities for Outdoor Learning

Children love outdoor play. Now teachers can combine the magic and excitement of the outdoors with activities that encourage and support learning! With more than 100 new teacher-created, classroom-tested outdoor activities, Let’s Take It Outside! engages children’s minds and bodies as they explore the limitless bounds of the outdoors while also building key skills in areas like math, literacy and language, science, art, and music.

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Science Adventures

Nature Activities for Young Children

The authors have adapted the kindergarten science standards set by the National Academy of Sciences to make them developmentally appropriate for preschool children. Many of the activities feature suggestions for including families, adaptations for English language learners, modifications for children with special needs, or appropriate ways to use technology with young children.

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Prop Box Play

50 Themes to Inspire Dramatic Play

Encourage more dramatic play with Prop Box Play. Prop boxes contain dramatic play props that offer children the freedom to express themselves and to exercise their imaginations. Props that inspire children to play different roles (archeologist, veterinarian, undersea explorer) help them interact with each other, cultivating important social skills.

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Summer Program Tips, Strategies, and Activities for School-Agers 5-14 Years Old

This resource acts as a planning guide and activity book, covering the planning steps between January and May needed to prepare for a summer program. Topics covered include marketing, staffing, training, safety, programming, scheduling, field trips, themes and older children.

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