Summer is almost done [yeah, right! – Ed.] but what quintessential aspect of summer is actually with us all year round, through rain and shine, day and (technically) night? What else could it be but … the SUN!

That big, golden ball of fire that keeps smiling down on us from above. [Well, for at least another 5 billion years or so, anyway. – Ed.] 

First observations to note and discuss with your children will revolve around the simple things that happen with the passage of time and across the year, like: day and night; the changing of the weather with the seasons. 

Book cover for Summer
Book cover for The seasons : my first animated board book
Book cover for Llama Llama sand & sun
Book cover for An Island in the sun

Ideas about the Sun and Earth, the Solar System, etc. may be a bit beyond the grasp of your average toddler, so most early concept books will invariably incorporate all the activities and adventures that go with getting up in the morning, going to bed at night; the time of the day – like, lunchtime at noon, a bath in the evening; and so on.

After reading a story or two, why not take an opportunity to challenge your child’s creative and lateral thinking. Ask them: how would we notice any of these changes without the sun? Would they even be possible? What would happen if there was no sun? Would an ice cream at the beach be as fun if it wasn’t melting down the side of your arm in the blazing hot sun? So many questions!

Book cover for Sweet summer
Book cover for How the sun got to Coco's house

From the Dawn of Time … (pun intended)

The sun is as old as … er, the Sun! So why not engage young imaginations with some tales of myth and legend. Every ancient culture has stories to explain the origins of the natural world and the life giving sun is no exception.

Book cover for Be careful, Icarus!
Book cover for How Māui slowed the sun
Let's learn about the Dreamtime

Although most ancient fables hold a cautionary tale, not all cautionary tales have to be old stories. Here is a contemporary story about ‘self-care’.

Book cover for The boy who longed to look at the sun : a story about self-care

Setting aside legends of old or adventures anew, or sneaking lessons on being “sun smart” into a classic Aussie summer tale, a story that can provoke thought about our world and how we all live in it is always something worth imparting. 

Here is a wonderfully illustrated book that will introduce young readers to the growth cycle of a seed, from its planting to flowering.

Book cover for A seed needs sun

Okay, we’re reaching the end of the sunbeam on this post, so why not end on a light note – get it?

I wanted to finish with a nice, sun related rhyme but can you believe I could not find one! I searched high and low but drew a complete blank! So, as a last resort, I have the lyrics to the chorus of an old song for you:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away