Keeping Cool in August!

August is typically the hottest month of the year…we’ll see if it rivals the heat we’ve experienced so far this summer.  When it’s hot, try heading over to one of the Chicago Park District’s parks/playgrounds that have water spray features… the perfect combination of enjoying the weather, playing at the park, and getting wet to cool off.   Bonus- you don’t even need to bring a towel if it’s very warm!  Besides being a fun and memorable experience, visiting a water park incorporates many aspects of language, from “packing the bag” as detailed in a previous blog to vocabulary (temperature of the water, color/size/shape of the sprayers, feel of the ground, drain) to relating the experience afterwards to another person.   Below is a list of parks with water spray features that are closest to Skokie.  Enjoy!

Mayfair Park
4550 W. Sunnyside Ave. (just east of 94 and north of Montrose)

Chippewa Park
6748 N. Sacramento Ave. (between Kedzie and California, just south of Pratt)

Independence Park
3945 N. Springfield Ave. (Irving Park just east of 94)

Brooks Park
7100 N. Harlem Ave. (Harlem and Touhy Ave.)

Pottawattomie Park
7340 N. Rogers Ave. (north of Touhy between Ridge and Clark)

Jensen Park
4650 N. Lawndale Ave. (south of Lawrence between Pulaski and Kimball)

Eugene Field Park
5100 N. Ridgeway Ave. (Foster and Pulaski, close to 94)

Athletic Field
3546 W. Addison St. (just east of 94)

Food can be Fun!!

Summer is a time for picnics, barbeques, sandwiches and light meals. It is exciting to explore the foods that can be a part of our summer meals. Taking a trip to the grocery store and the farmer’s market can be educational for the child who is picky about eating. Teach your child where fresh fruits and vegetables come from and the ways in which they can be prepared and eaten. Allow your child to smell and touch foods without having to eat them. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful and generously offered at one or more meals daily. These offerings can be new opportunities to try new foods or learn to eat familiar foods in new ways. For example, maybe your child is willing to eat pureed or canned peaches. This time of year is perfect to offer the peach perhaps whole or in small pieces. It may take a picky eater many opportunities to look at, touch and smell a food before they are willing to taste it. Let your child help you pick fruit to be brought home, wash the fruit, cut fruit and even play with the food. Be creative! Be playful! Help your child make faces, train cars, beach balls, etc. using a variety of food shapes and textures. Soon your child may be willing to lick his fingers or even taste the foods you never thought they would eat!

Good luck! Remember, learning should be fun. Let me know how these ideas have worked in your home. Now hurry..the farmer’s market closes at 12!

Fun and Learning in the Sun!

Hey Mom and Dad are you planning on taking a trip to the beach with your kids soon?  Why are you packing the bags?  A great activity to boost a variety of language skills during the summer would be to “pack that bag” together.    You can have your kids make a list of things they think they would need for the beach.  They can sequence through all the events from getting to the beach to getting home, and what objects and actions they would have to have and do.  Additionally you can have them locate the necessary objects within your house as a way to categorize by location.  Your kids will be learning and problem -solving, you will have less to do, and it might make the entire trip more memorable for all.

Tired of the heat?

Need a change in environment? Want to learn something new? Try visiting one of our great state’s many museums. Chicago museums offer free days throughout the year. You can check the schedule on this website: http://museumfreedays.com/
Click on Chicago on the left and scroll down to the bottom to click on “Calendar” for an easy-to-read overview. Many free days are offered in the fall as visitation decreases at this time of year. The Chicago Public Libraries offer museum passes for free; however, the most popular museums are often hard to get. You can call various libraries to ask what they have “in stock” but they will not reserve them so you have to pick it up right away if you find one.
Besides the well-known museums in and around Chicago, there are many smaller museums around the greater Chicago area. These tend to have fewer lines to wait in, fewer crowds to navigate, less walking time and even free parking (closer to the museum entrance)! Suburban libraries including Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview, and Winnetka-Northfield offer free passes to many smaller museums and include the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Gardens (free parking; admission is free). Passes are good for a week and expire so that, as an added bonus, you don’t have to return them. Check out the entire list at www.museumadventure.org Happy Learning!
Katharine Elsbree M.S., CCC