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Bill Cirone: How to Help Your Child Enjoy Summer

Start a marble collection, help with family recycling efforts or organize a garage sale

There are many ways to help your child have a good summer. First of all, get organized. Have children start a collection — rocks, stamps, baseball cards, bottle caps, labels, marbles, leaves or bugs. They can arrange them in some orderly fashion by categories, by color or alphabetically, for example.

Bill Cirone
Bill Cirone

Ask youngsters to organize photos in an album by date or activity. Save newspaper or magazine photos of favorite athletes or heroes to create a scrapbook.

Suggest that kids swap paperbacks, comics or magazines with extended family and friends.

It’s also a good time to help your child develop a sense of responsibility. Ask children to take charge of family recycling. Teach boys and girls how to take care of their clothes, sort and fold laundry, use the washer and dryer or help at the laundromat, sew on buttons, iron or polish shoes.

Summer is also a good time to bolster the three Rs. Recommend that children keep a diary or a journal of their activities or the family’s outings. Take time every day for the whole family to read by themselves or together. Even 10 or 15 minutes is fine. Allow children to choose reading materials. Introduce children to library’s summer reading program.

You can also have children follow a favorite newspaper comic strip all summer. Have them write letters or send postcards to cousins, grandparents, and friends, or review cash register receipts. Children can check them for accuracy when you’re unloading groceries. Adding the prices up each week will keep math skills sharp.

You can also teach youngsters to compute gas mileage. If you hold a yard sale or garage sale, allow children to set prices and make change, to further sharpen skills.

These are just a few suggestions that can help make for a good summer, while reinforcing learning.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.

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