"Sunshine On My Shoulders" was originally released by John Denver in 1971, however, when it was released as a single in 1973 it quickly moved up the charts to number 1. For parents of young children who love the mellow sounds of John Denver's voice as he sings this ode to spending time outside enjoying the feel of the warm sun, there is a children's book that is perfect for introducing the song to those youngsters. Read the book and choose some of the activities listed below to soak up the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course) with the kids as summer gets in full swing.
The "Sunshine On My Shoulders" children's book comes complete with a CD of the song and is illustrated by Christopher Canyon. It shows a girl and her dad enjoying one another's company as they spend time outside on a sunshiny day. The pictures feature flowers, butterflies and pets that offer plenty of inspiration for a day with one's preschool-aged children. Whether home is in the city or in a location more rural, there are lots of ways to spend time outside with little ones that will help them learn and feel closer to their caregivers. Here are a few of the Eureka Preschools Examiner's favorite outside activities.
Go for a walk in a park or on a local trail. Rohner Park in Fortuna offers trails as does Sequoia Park in Eureka. Depending on the age of your child you can go for the simple, no-incline type of walk or try the up and down of a trail with a little more difficulty.
Pick flowers and make a daisy chain. Often small daisies grow in our yards and while normally we see these as weeds, kids see these as beautiful flowers just waiting to be gathered. Show your child how to make a daisy chain and spend the morning or afternoon creating crowns and jewelry for one another. If you don't have daisies in your yard, perhaps a neighbor will let you pick their's or you can find an empty lot around town that has a few growing in it. Just make sure you aren't trespassing.
Draw on the sidewalk with chalk and create all sorts of real and make-believe creatures. For those preschoolers who are starting to recognize letters and words, this is a great way to make learning fun. Read the "Sunshine On My Shoulders" book, go outside and recreate some of the illustrations. Label each drawing and have your child help you write the letters. Fun!
If you don't have a hummingbird feeder or some bird houses somewhere in your yard, you are missing out on opportunities to observe the natural world with your little one. Adding some flowers that attract butterflies and bees is even better. You can sit on the porch and observe these creatures as they feed from what you have provided. You are also helping to create lost habitat for insects and birds that are beneficial for the survival of the human race.
These are just some of the ways parents and caregivers can share "Sunshine On My Shoulders" with preschool-aged children and have a time of bonding enjoying time outside in the sun. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments section.