Summer Activities to Get Ready for School

Summer Activities to Get Ready for School

For the past couple of summers, we have talked about summer slide and how to prevent it. (The answer is: reading.) This summer, we are going to talk about how exploring music, art, and movement can enrich your child’s summer and help them learn important skills for school. And we will have some good reading lists for these topics, too!

How does exploring music, art, and movement help children’s school readiness skills and help kids who have already started school keep their skills sharp?

Music, arts and movement help children to build self-regulation skills. Songs and music can be fast and hectic or it can be slow. The same is true about movement, and art allows us to use big canvases where we can paint with broad strokes or to draw on small objects, like stones. Going from fast to slow and big to smaller movements helps children tune into their bodies and lets them practice controlling their bodies, which is crucial to success in the classroom. Kids use large muscle control for things like not bumping the kid in front of you when you go to line up, being able to switch from running like a hooligan on the playground to walking calmly down the hall, and of course the all important fine motor control of being able to grasp and manipulate pencils and pens for writing..  Participating in music, art, and movement activities also helps children learn to focus their attention, whether it is on listening to a song so they can learn the words or looking closely at a scene that they want to draw.  Finally, when children practice skills in the arts, whether they are learning the words to a song or working on a dance move, they can learn how to be persistent and keep working toward a goal even when it might be frustrating.

Music, arts and movement improve reading and math abilities. Studies have linked practicing music, art, and movement skills to better reading and math abilities in kids across the childhood years. Some researchers believe that learning these skills activates the same areas of the brain that are activated during reading and language learning. It may also be because these skills require the use of spatial abilities and the abilities to recognize patterns that are important in math.

Music, arts and movement can help with social skills. Art activities can help children to be better at social behaviors like sharing, helping others, and interacting with their peers. A lot of art activities are done in groups and this may help children practice getting along with others. Concentrating on an art project can also give shy children something to share with their peers without having too much pressure to be social.

When children get involved in music, art, and movement activities, they can expand their school skills in lots of ways. And summer is a perfect time to try out fun activities that will also help get (and keep) kids ready for school!  So please join us for the next few weeks as we focus on skills and activities to help kids have fun while they try out music, art, and movement!

Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2019

Image: © Neydtstock |

Katherine Pears
Dr. Katherine Pears is a senior scientist at Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). She earned her Ph.D in clinical psychology and has worked with OSLC since 1998. Katherine is the principal investigator and co-developer of the Kids In Transition to Schools (KITS) program. Currently, she oversees all the clinical and research activities for KITS. When she’s not in her office, you’ll find Katherine in the kitchen whipping up her latest creation or outdoors hiking a scenic trail.


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