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Summer Activity Ideas for Children in Preschool & Pre-K

Jun 10, 2022    |   Preschool & Pre-K LearningSummer

It’s only two weeks until it is officially Summer! The sunshine and warm weather make this one of the best seasons to spend time with children outdoors. Preschoolers and children in pre-k enjoy opportunities to spend time in nature, while engaging in playful activities that allow them to learn and explore. In this article, we share several fun activities for 3-5 year olds to enjoy during the summer months. 

Coconut Five Senses Activity

This simple activity requires only two items…a few coconuts and an instrument, like a hammer or screwdriver, to break them open. You might also want to have a few pictures of coconut trees printed out to talk with children about where coconuts come from. Pass the coconuts around and encourage children to use all five of their senses to explore the coconuts. Start with asking them to look at the coconut and notice what it looks like. Then, touch the outside and notice how it feels: Is it rough? Smooth? Hairy? Soft? Next, listen to the coconut! Shake it up and see what it sounds like inside. 

Finally, taste and smell! You might need the assistance of another teacher to help with opening the coconut and breaking pieces for each of the children to smell and taste. Ask questions throughout the activity that encourage the children to use all of their senses to investigate. If the children enjoy this activity, you might try it with other summer fruits, such as pineapple or papaya!

Icy Literacy Sensory Bin

This fun, icy activity combines STEM and early literacy. Simply place plastic letter magnets in an ice tray or muffin tin, add water, and freeze overnight. Place the ice-covered letters in a large bin and give the children containers like squirt bottles, pipettes, and other items filled with warm water that they can use to melt the ice. This activity is all about exploration, experimentation, and observation as the children melt the ice to find the letters that are frozen inside. 

As they are working, talk with children about what they are observing: Which items melted the ice cubes the fastest? How many ice cubes do you have left? It looks like you were able to unfreeze the purple letter “A”! Children can engage in this activity individually or as a group, depending on how you would like to set it up. These conversations help to encourage children’s learning and sense of discovery, while practicing counting, the alphabet, and color recognition in a playful setting.

Exploring Sunography: Making Sun Prints

Making sun prints is a fun STEAM activity that allows children to be creative as they investigate and experiment. This activity is also completely mess-free, so it is a great option for busy days when you find yourself with less time for cleaning up. 

Encourage children to pick out different objects to create their sun prints. They might use blocks, wooden toys, natural items (such as leaves or flowers), or any other items that might leave an interesting shape. Leave the items outside in the sun on sun paper or fabric. Practice forming hypotheses by guessing what kinds of shapes different items might leave behind on the paper: What will it look like? What colors will they be? After the items have spent time in the sun, go outside to reveal your prints! They can be displayed in your classroom or incorporated into future art projects.

Wet and Dry Chalk Painting

Have you ever noticed how vibrant chalk becomes when it gets wet? This activity is a fun way to explore the differences in colors and textures between wet and dry chalk. All you will need is an assortment of sidewalk chalk (if you don’t have any on-hand, they are available at most Dollar Stores) along with spray bottles and small bowls of water. This activity can be set up on a chalkboard, on the sidewalk in your yard, or on thick construction paper. 

Invite children to get their chalk wet, by soaking it in a bucket of water, dipping it in a small bowl of water, or spraying it with a water spritzer. As children apply chalk to the surface, talk with them about the differences between the wet and dry chalk: What color is each of the pieces of chalk? Do we think the chalk will look different once it dries? What does the wet chalk feel like? This activity is a fun way to explore contrast, and it can be revisited throughout the week as children continue to add new layers and colors to their project. 

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