Summer is full of many wonderful pleasures. I celebrated the Fourth of July in Michigan with my family. We went to a parade, had a cookout, watched fireworks, ate rocket popsicles and went blueberry picking. I returned to Helena just in time for the Cherry Street Fair. It was great to see our parents and children enjoying summer time fun. Wonderful!

Summer is full of many wonderful pleasures. I celebrated the Fourth of July in Michigan with my family. We went to a parade, had a cookout, watched fireworks, ate rocket popsicles and went blueberry picking. I returned to Helena just in time for the Cherry Street Fair. It was great to see our parents and children enjoying summer time fun. Wonderful!

The word wonderful comes from the germanic word ‘wundor’ meaning surprise and or curiosity. The world is a place we can all wonder about — have you wondered about anything lately? For example, I wonder why fireflies are able to light up, I wonder what makes the stars sparkle, I wonder about the red sky at night – is it really a sailor's delight? I wonder what it was like to travel only by boat, for example, on the Mississippi River.

According to the NCFL (National Center for Families Learning), children should be encouraged to wonder – “The excitement of learning that comes from curiosity and wonder is undeniable.”

Here are six ideas on how we can encourage our children to wonder:

Encourage children to taste, feel, hear, see, explore, and get into things that are interesting and safe.

Read a story and play or listen to music with children.

Help children create a theatre, puppet show or dance performance – invite friends to watch and celebrate with enthusiasm and encouragement.

Take a walk down by the river or head over to the Mississippi State Park and wonder together about nature.

Visit the NCFL website wonderopolis.org and read what others are wondering about – post your own wonder in the wonder jar.

Star gaze with children, catch fireflies and have everyone wish upon a star.

My wish is that all our children are free and encouraged to wonder about the world. Wonder leads to emotional and social learning which helps to grow strong readers.