This is a two part activity that will touch on a lot of areas of development. First, go on a nature walk and talk about the changes that are happening now that it is summer. Is the temperature different? What things are growing? What colors do you see? While on your walk, encourage your child to collect nature items that look interesting to them. Then, you can glue the nature items onto a piece of paper and create a collage.
Stuff to Have:
-Items from nature: leaves, flowers, twigs, grass, small pebbles…
Fine motor, large motor, art, planning and follow through, early science
Set out your jar and ping pong balls (or similar small ball) and ask your child how to put the balls in the jar. Let your child try dropping the balls in. If your child is young or not interested, demonstrate to them how to drop the balls in. Can they get it out? If it’s too easy for your child, make it more difficult by trying to drop the ball in from a higher point. Or, try something different by dropping a smaller object into a container with a smaller opening.
Stuff to Have
-Ping pong balls, or ball similar in size
-Jar or plastic container with opening wide enough to fit ball
-Craft balls (smaller than ping pong balls), optional
-Jar or container with smaller opening, optional
Fine motor, hand eye coordination, problem solving
Splash Time! Water Play
Every child loves water play, and playing outside in water is a natural option in the summer. It is also a great learning opportunity! Fill a small pool or a large shallow container with water, or use a hose attached to a gentle sprinkler. Not only is it a sensory activity, it is science (water properties), fine motor (playing with spoons, cups, etc.), math (volume and measuring), and of course one of the most fun things for kids! Capitalize on the chance to play in water by adding anything that will enhance their play and their learning. This could be plastic cups, bowls, spoons, ladles, colanders, sponges, etc. Be creative and have fun!
Stuff to Have
-Small pool, hose with a gentle sprinkler, small shallow tub
-Cups, spoons, sponges, bowls, colanders, etc.
Sensory and texture, early math, early science, problem solving, colors, fine motor
*Safety Note: Please stay with kids no mater their age while doing activities with water. Close supervision is a must even with older toddlers and preschoolers. I also do not recommend the use of a large bucket filled with water, as small children could tip in while reaching down to the water and not be able to get back out.
Science and Math
Melt an Ice Cube
Take your child outside, preferably a hot one to see the change happen quickly. Set your ice cubes in various locations and see how they melt. One could be on the sidewalk in the direct sun, one could be in the shade, and one could be left inside… be creative! Your older child may be able to describe the differences in the melting ice cube. Younger children might enjoy playing with the ice as it melts. Either way, ask questions, describe what you see, give your child a chance to make their own observations, and let them experience the changing ice cube by touching, splashing, maybe even tasting the melting ice.
Stuff to Have
Early science, sensory, fine motor
Cooking and Baking
Peanut Butter Balls
Using a food processor or blender, grind oats to medium coarseness. Blend oats, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla with a mixer until combined. Scoop 1-2t of the mixture and roll into balls with hands. Place peanut butter balls on parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 1.5-2 hours or until firm. Kids can get their hands messy helping measure, dump, mix, and roll with this activity! I encourage you to let your child take part with as much as they can, they will absolutely love it and will have so much pride in getting to snack on their own creation when it is ready!
Stuff to Have
1/2 c. peanut butter (or other nut butter)
2 c. oats
3 T honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
1 t. vanilla
Fine motor, early science, early math, following instructions
Add On Activities
Large Motor: Find ways to use the big muscle groups. Activities would include things like jumping, kicking or throwing a ball, dancing, twirling…
Music and Rhymes: There are many online resources for music and rhymes. Look for some that focus on summertime, water play, and playing outside.
Books: Take a trip to the library and look for books about summer as well as books that match your child’s interest. Read, read and read some more! They will love it and it’s prime time to get some snuggles.