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Activities for Summer
Early childhood activities for teaching preschool and kindergarten children pre math, science, and creative skills. Seasonal activity plans plus easy cooking ideas to use in the classroom. When you want to return to the first page of the Summer Theme, this arrow To Main Winter Theme  will take you there. The  schoolhouse will take you to Activity Central.
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Preschool Activities for Summer

Picnics and Barbecue
Jasmine W. offers this preschool curriculum activity plan saying the objectives are, "To talk about the different types of food that are appropriate for a picnic. To learn about the different tools that adults use for a barbecue. To learn what foods can be put on a grill. To learn what items are needed for a picnic."

1.   Picnic basket filled with picnic items such as ketchup, mustard, 
 utensils, paper plates, napkins, blanket, food items
2.   Empty ketchup and mustard bottles. Yellow and red tempera paints.
3.  Food magazines, paper, glue and scissors
4.  Three to 4 bottles of different flavors of barbecue sauce e.g. honey mustard, teriyaki, zesty spice, etc.  Slices of cucumbers or celery cut up into bite sizes.

Large Group Activity: During large group time, bring in a picnic 
basket and ask children what they think the basket is for?  Ask what they think is inside the basket?  Then select a few children, one at time, to pick out something e.g. paper plates, cups, forks, spoons, ketchup, napkins, blanket, pictures of food appropriate for a picnic, etc. from the basket and talk about the items.
Art Activity: Ketchup and Mustard bottle painting: Fill ketchup bottle with thick red tempera paint and mustard bottle with thick yellow tempera paint.  Let children create their own designs or drawings on construction paper.
 Art Activity: Collage of picnic items. 
 Nutrition / Math: Tasting different types of barbecue sauce.  Children dip bite size cucumbers or celery into the different sauces and tell which which sauce they like best. Chart children's responses on a experience chart. Discuss which sauce has the most responses, which the least and why.
Flannel Board Fun: Summer Days (Reference: The Best of Totline Flannel Boards, page 270).

  • A Picnic, Hurray!  by Franz Brandenberg
  • Barbar's Picnic   by Laurent deBrunhoff

Game: Going On Vacation
During this early childhood game by Arline, youngsters use coordination skills and follow instructions.

Materials: 2 suitcases, 2 summer shirts, 2 summer shorts, 2 sunglasses, and  2 summer hats

Description: Let the children know that you will be taking a pretend trip all week.  The first thing that you have to do when you go on a trip is to pack everything you need.  Let the children tell you what they would pack.  After you have discussed this, bring out your two pre packed suitcases.  Show the children what you have packed.
Now it is time for the game.
Have the children divide into two teams.  Have half of each team go to one side of the room and the other half of each team go to the opposite side of the room.  Tell the children that what they are about to play is a "relay race".  The first time they play you will have to constantly instruct them what to do.
The first child of each team is handed the suitcase.  He or she will put on everything that is in the suitcase and then run with the suitcase to their teammates on the other side of the room.  He or she will take off the suitcase clothing only, and give them to their team mate to put on. Continue this until the last player puts on the clothes, runs to the other side of the room and packs the suitcase.  The first team to finish wins.


ocean and sea ideaBulletin Board Idea: Seaweed
Teachers create a sense of seaweed in the classroom with this idea from Lynn P. A wonderful addition to a Ocean or Sea Theme.

Materials: 2 or 3 inch wide green ribbon and a ribbon shredder.

Description: I used this idea in two ways.  On my bulletin board I put blue paper. Then I run a strip of the ribbon from the top to the bottom for length. Before I attached it, I shredded sections of it leaving about a three inch gap between each section.  Attach it to your bulletin board.  As you do your art projects associated with the ocean you can mount them on this bulletin board with part of the fish, lobster, whale etc. nestled amongst the seaweed.

If you make aquariums, or fish pictures, you can cut two or three inch long pieces of the ribbon and shred it.  Then divide into one inch sections and provide as a selection for the kids to use on their pictures.

The Ocean and Sea Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.


Dramatic Play: Lunch at the Beach
This early childhood dramatic play activity focuses on social learning experiences, creative thinking, and expressive and receptive language skills.

You will need:  Props related to beach activities; beach towels, hats, sunglasses, picnic baskets, dishes, a beach ball and sand toys.

Ask children if they have ever been to the beach and what they did there.  Show pictures or magazine photos of people at the beach and ask what do they think the people in the pictures are doing? Share the beach props and encourage children to talk about them by asking, "Who knows what this is?  What could you do with it?"  Allow children time to touch and explore each items.

In the dramatic play corner spread out the beach towels and props and silently observe how the preschool children use the materials.  If the children need help getting started you might ask, "What things can we pack to go on our picnic?  What foods would you want to prepare or take?  The children may want to extend the activity into another area (block area etc.) to have their beach picnic.  The children might want to move the sand table to their picnic site. This is a great indoor activity to try on a rainy summer's day.  On a warm day this activity is terrific outdoors.


Science:  Colored Ice Cubes
Young children explore mixing colors and making observations during this early childhood activity by Kristen L.

Materials: 3 Ice trays, red, yellow and blue food coloring,
3 clear plastic glasses, and water.

 Description: Tint the water with food coloring and freeze to make one tray of red ice cubes, one tray of yellow and one tray of blue.  Place three clear plastic glasses on the science table and put a different colored ice cube into each glass. Periodically, have the children observe as the ice changes to colored water. 

Then place a red ice cube and a yellow ice cube together in another glass and have the children observe as the ice melts and creates orange.  Repeat the process using a blue and a yellow ice cube to make green and a red and a blue ice cube
to make purple.  Then let the children use the remaining colored ice cubes to set up their own color experiments.


Bubble Prints
Expand pre-school and kindergarten children's knowledge of how bubbles form and what ingredients are needed to make bubbles during this activity by Marin F.  Have fun too!

Materials: Dish soap (Dawn works best), water, straws, food coloring, plastic glasses and light colored paper.

1. First fill 3-4 cups about 3/4 full with water,
2. Add dish soap (needs quite a bit),
3. Add a few drops of food coloring to each one,
4. Ask children to take a straw and put it into the bubble solution,
instruct them to BLOW not suck or they'll get a yucky surprise
in their mouth.  Ask them to blow until the bubbles are coming up
over the top of the cup,
5. Ask them to lay their paper over the cup and the bubbles will pop
leaving a beautiful design on the paper.
6.  Cover the entire paper with designs and hang around the room
for others to enjoy!

Comments: Make sure to lay newspaper or plastic under where you will be blowing bubbles to help catch spills.

There's LOTS more Bubble Activities in the Rainbow Resource Room!


insects and bugs Bug Table
Young children learn about bugs and their environment during this sensory experience from Sharon M.

Materials: Sensory table or plastic tub, potting soil, plastic fishing worms, plastic bugs and large rocks.

Description: Teachers fill the sensory table with potting soil and add the plastic worms, bugs, and rocks. Have 2 children at the sensory table with digging tools to search for bugs and worms. The kids will love playing in the dirt and seeing what kinds of insects they can find. 
Comments: Your kids will love it!

If you're looking for rhymes and fingerplays about insects and bugs you'll find them at Preschool Nursery Rhymes about Insects and Bugs.

An entire theme about Creepy Crawlers is in the Rainbow Resource Room

Cooking & Science: Ice Cream In A Bag
Nichole P. offers this method for making a delicious summer treat. If you cool liquids down, how do they change?  Explore and observe how freezing changes milk. 

1 cup milk 
2 tbs. sugar 
1/4 cup salt 
ice cubes 
2 resealable sandwich bags
larger resealable bag
plastic shopping bag, and twist tie.

1.  Add sugar and milk to the small resealable bag. Taste the 
    solution. Let out some of the air as you zip to seal. Seal this
    bag inside another sandwich bag.
2. Place ice cubes in the bottom of the big bag.  Add the small bag
    of milk and surround with more ice cubes.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup
    of salt over the ice. let out some of the air as you zip to seal.
3. Wrap a towel around the bag of ice. Place the bundle into a plastic
    shopping bag and seal with a twist tie.
4. Shake the bag for about 15 minutes.  Remove the small bag and
    quickly rinse off  the salt with cold water.
Did the milk change?  The ice cream you made is ready to enjoy!

Comments: You probably noticed that ice cream from your bag freezer
is soft and light.  Why?  The shaking adds air to the ice cream.
Machines keep the ice cream you buy moving as it freezes, so
there's enough air to make it soft enough to eat with a spoon.

Fun and Easy Cool Cooking
These cooking summer activities don't require heat and make healthy snacks. Use ripe fruits and encourage pre-k children to do the peeling, cutting and mixing. 

Summer Strawberries
Wash thoroughly, and drain enough for each child to have 3 or 4.  Leave stems on for holding. Dip in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, orange juice or other fruit juice, whipping cream or cinnamon and sugar mixed.  Don't forget to plant some whole strawberries with their seeds in a pot, 1/2 inch below the surface of the soil, if you keep the soil moist, they may grow. 

Cinnamon sugar can be premixed by combining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Cool Fruit Shakes
Use any very ripe summer fruit, children peeling it if necessary. Blend in the blender with an equal amount of milk, adding honey or sugar (to taste). crushed ice, and vanilla or almond extract (to taste).  When you use 1/2 cup fruit, 1/2 cup milk, and 2 ice cubes, the yield is 12 ounces.  A preschool child's serving is 3 or 4 ounces.

Fun Fruit Salad
Any number of varieties of fruit can be mixed in this easy salad.  Just make sure children cut the larger fruits into bite size chunks (peeled if the skin is tough or too dirty to clean), and dip the pieces into orange or lemon juice to prevent darkening.  Any fruit juice makes an easy and simple dressing if you pour it on, a tablespoon full at a time, till the salad is moistened.  Make enough to serve each child 1/4 cup.

  • For desert, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream or sweetened whipped cream to the fruit.

  • Add marshmallows, raisins, nuts, or coconut (grated or shredded.

For more cool cooking ideas go the Food & Nutrition Theme in the Resource Room


Water Painting 
For this lesson plan pre-k children use fine and gross motor skills, language skills and the science skills of observation experimentation and evaluation.  The concept of evaporation is explored.

You will need:
Water, plastic containers for transporting water and easel paint brushes in a variety of sizes.  Smocks or old shirts for the children and a hot sunny day.

Teachers explain to the children that, "Today we are going outside to paint with water."  Encourage them to gather the smocks, paint brushes and containers for carrying the water. Once outside the sidewalk, pavement or the side of a building can become the canvas for a class mural.

Give the pre-k children time to experiment with painting on the different outdoor textures using brushes of various sizes.  Help children notice what happens to their pictures as the water evaporates, "What's happening to your picture? Where did the water go?"
Extension: A Friend of the Preschool Rainbow agrees that this is a wonderful activity and writes: "You will need 1 or 2 buckets of water, 1 large paint brush per child...it won't matter  if they get water on their clothes (it dries) and this is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day!


End of the Summer Book
This preschool curriculum idea by Kristin B. can be used at the end of any season to encourage youngsters to recall what they liked best and to develop creative skills.

Materials: Construction Paper, crayons, hole puncher, 3 4 inch strands of yarn, 1 marker (for the teacher).

Description: First, Write on a piece of construction paper, "What I Liked Best About My Summer".  Then ask each child what was the best thing about their summer and have them draw a picture of this event.  Gather all the drawings together and form a book out of them. 

Comments: Be sure to ask the children this question individually. They tend to "copy" one another and then you get 10 children with the same answer all drawing the same thing,

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