picnicIn this new children’s picture book by renowned author and illustrator John Burningham, Boy and Girl go out for a picnic. Along the way they meet Sheep, Pig, and Duck.

“Come and have a picnic with us,” said Boy and Girl.
So they all went to find a place to have their picnic.

But soon they see Bull. And Bull started to chase them! Duck, Pig, Sheep, Boy, and Girl run to the woods to hide. They cleverly peek out from behind trees and Burningham invites the child reader to find them. “Can you find Boy, Girl, Pig, Sheep, and Duck?”

After Bull goes away, Boy, Girl, and the animals come out to have their picnic. They play in the sun until it’s time to head home and find their beds.

Burningham’s playful, bright paintings bring lovable characters to life. What’s more, Picnic is interactive. Children are encouraged to find objects easily hidden in the pictures. “Can you find Sheep’s hat? Can you find Pig’s ball? Duck’s bed?”

Perfect for reading aloud, this hunt-and-seek tale captures the outdoor fun that children love. Here’s a storybook that’s sure to become a favorite.

Playful Early Learning:

• Ask your child what she sees on the front and back covers. Be sure to find the three animal friends!
• Check out the inside cover. Name what you see.
• As you read aloud, point out the details in every picture.
• Discover the objects hidden in the pictures.
• Talk to your little one about picnics. Plan your own special lunch. Set a date. Plan the food. Pack a basket.


martinedehart / Pixabay

Imaginary play with pretend characters, a cardboard box, and a set of crayons is one of the most valuable educational opportunities for children. In fact, open-ended play is an essential part of childhood.

Jessica Lahey in her article, “Why Free Play is the Best Summer School,” says, “It’s the end of another academic year and time for summer … Unscheduled, unsupervised playtime is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills, and shore up their physical health.”

But for many children, summer time is simply a shift from one group of structured activities to another.

Lahey reports on a new study by psychologists at the University of Colorado on the play habits of six-year old children. They measured how much time each child spent in spontaneous play versus time in structured activities, such as lessons and sports practice.

The findings?

“Children who engage in more free play have more highly developed self-directed executive function. The opposite was also true: The more time kids spent in structured activities, the worse their sense of self-directed control.”

Free play literally develops a child’s intellect: their planning, organization, problem solving and goal setting skills.

All of that happens when children play—just play.

So what’s the take away for parents?

  • Fill the summer months with unstructured, creative playtime for your child.
  • Remember to keep open-ended play a part of your child’s everyday life. Horseplay and role play with your little one.
  • Tell stories and use your voice to become a character.
  •  Listen to music and move to music.
  • Read aloud and talk about storybooks.
  • And remember the basics: blocks, a cardboard box, a box of crayons, saucepans, and wooden spoons are just fine.

“Parents, if you really want to give your kid a head start on coming school year, relinquish some of that time you have earmarked for lessons or sports camp and let your children play. That’s it. Just play.” —Jessica Lahey

one year old reads“We learned the importance of emotion, language, face time, books, reading aloud, and how simple, everyday things can be the best tools for learning. We learned to see the world through our child’s eyes. There was so much priceless information for parents of babies and toddlers. Jan, thank you so much!!”  —Laura & David Hollenger

Baby & Toddler:
The Essential First Years
in partnership with Winnie Palmer Maternal Education

When: Mondays, August 11, 18 and 25, 2014 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Where: Winnie Palmer Hospital Classroom One, 83 W. Miller Street, Orlando, 32806 MAP