Parenting Resource

Top Five Ways to Enjoy Summer with Your Little One

Jun 28, 2018

Summer means sunshine, bright colors, warm weather and lots of outdoor fun. ZERO TO THREE has some simple tips to help you and your baby make the most out of summer!

Pay attention to and talk about your surroundings.

Discuss colors and shapes you see outdoors, asking open-ended questions that encourage your child to explore and discover. A few examples: What color are the flowers? Can you tell me about the shapes of the leaves? Do all flowers have the same shape leaves? Which flowers are fragrant? Which house has a red door? Are all the houses you see the same size? Which one is bigger?

Asking open-ended questions encourages your child to think through simple concepts and builds a foundation for later learning. To find more ideas visit A Year of Play.

Incorporate STEM skill learning into everyday play!

Everyday summer moments are a chance to dive into concepts focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math! Count together! Count the number of times your child goes down the slide at the playground. Talk about swinging while on the swing set. Perhaps your toddler is ready to begin grasping the concept that pumping his legs to go higher. Collect rocks, shells, or leaves and separate them by features (color, size, shape). Then count each group and determine which has the most. Count the number of steps it takes to get to your front door. All of these simple concepts lay the groundwork for analytical thinking. For more ideas visit our STEM video series.

Read together.

Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday loving moments, such as sharing books, telling stories, and talking to one another. Change your surroundings by bringing a few favorite books outside. A book you may have read a million times can take on a whole new life when read outside. Your local library is also a great resource for age-appropriate books about summer and outdoor reading activities. Learn more about early literacy here.

Incorporate music!

Sing a song together! Here’s an example of wheels on the bus with a summer theme: “The waves on the beach go up and down, up and down up and down. The waves on the beach go up and down, all day long. “The clams on the beach open and shut, open and shut, open and shut. The clams on the beach open and shut, all day long. “The crabs on the beach go side to side, side to side, side to side, the crabs on the beach go side to side, all day long. “The lobsters on the beach go pinch-pinch-pinch, pinch-pinch-pinch, pinch-pinch-pinch, the lobsters on the beach go pinch-pinch-pinch, all day long. The waves on the beach go up and down, up and down up and down. The waves on the beach go up and down, all day long.” For more ideas visit Beyond Twinkle Twinkle: Using Music with Infants and Toddlers..

Cool off with some water play.

If you’re going to be in a pool, lake or ocean talk to your baby about how water is wet. Does it feel warm or cold? Talk about colors: the pool is blue or the dirt is brown. Discuss the texture of sand then change it by adding water and explain how wet sand sticks together. And, don’t forget water and sun safety! Check out these great tips from American Academy of Pediatrics.

Do you have more suggestions for how parents can enjoy summer with their infants and toddlers? Share them with us! Visit or tweet to @ZEROTOTHREE.

  • Author

    Karen Stecher

    Former Communications Manager

  • Author

    Vera Alsova

    Social Media Specialist