June 21 is the SUMMER SOLSTICE – the longest day of the year!  Celebrate by checking out Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center’s “Fire and Hike”, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. All ages are welcome! 

There are also lots of free outdoor movies for kids this week!  Click HERE to see where you can hang out on a blanket under the stars and enjoy one of your favorite family films.

And don’t forget the Balloon Lady will be at Imaginon on June 18 for 1:00 and 3:00 shows.  Go to their website HERE to register for a show of story telling, music, and magical balloon creations!



Have you ever been on a SOUND SCAVENGER HUNT?  It’s a great way to have your little one sharpen up her ears, distinguish between different sounds and noises, and have some fun!

Simply ask your toddler, “what sounds do we hear outside?” As he answers, write them down (or draw them) in a notebook together.  You may have to give suggestions:  birds, dogs, cats, trucks, rain, wind, silence, owl, dinosaur, clock, plane, waves, bees, people, door, etc.  What will you hear?  What do all those things sound like?

Then out you go!  When you hear a sound, mark it off in your book with a heart or a star (for a nice sense of accomplishment) and then really listen.  What sounds did they make?   Did anything sound differently than you expected?  Stop and smell the roses, hear the bees, splash in the puddles and enjoy the sounds of the world!  



I was watching two puppies play in the park yesterday and was reminded of how important PLAY is in learning.   We’ve all seen it – two puppies rolling around in a pile, nipping at each other, growling, chasing and rolling on their backs.  What joy!  But that joy is teaching them about their social construct, what is tolerated in their environment, what hurts others and what doesn’t, and how to move their bodies in space.

The same is true with childhood play.  Whether it’s rough and tumble play like puppies or imaginative play, solo play, ritual play or musical play, kids learn through play!  There is a strong connection between the practice of play and the emotional and cognitive development of the brain.  It fires up the cerebellum and the frontal lobe and creates complex contextual memory.  In fact, Dr. Stuart Brown has found that play is as basic a natural phenomenon as sleep; and, like sleep, many of us aren’t getting enough of it!

What might musical play look like?  Maybe it’s your pre-crawler picking up and shaking everything in order to find the sound, your toddler having ‘music class’ with his stuffed animals and ukulele, kids acting out songs from movies (think Let It Go! or songs from Moana). Play is how kids sort through the stimuli of their days. Less structure in the summer allows children lots of space and time to really play.