Summer Activities & Centers for Little Learners
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Summer is finally here, and it’s time to celebrate with FUN, hands-on SUMMER activities your little learners will go bonkers for! Take the learning outside or get messy inside and enjoy the summer season. Grab your lesson planner, and let’s jump right in!
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Summer Activities for Math
I am totally loving using pool noodles in the classroom for summer. They’re cheap (at most dollar stores), colorful, and you can cut them up; they float and do tons of fun activities with them! They are just so versatile!
So, for this pool noodle activity, students are making PATTERNS in a tub of water. It’s just a plastic tub filled with some water and cut-up pool noodles. In the photo above, I cut about a one-inch thick or so. Students stack the pool noodles in various patterns, and because they are in the water, the pattern towers float!
See the foam numbers floating around? Students also were making number towers with the noodles! Students would identify the number, stack up the corresponding amount of pool noodles to make a tower, and place the number on top. It was fun to compare the height of the different number towers.
You can do this activity outside or inside in the sensory table.
Watermelon seed count! I don’t know about you, but we eat watermelon all summer long! I have excited to make a counting game using watermelons. Students put together the watermelon counting puzzles and then place the corresponding number of seeds (aka black beans) in the ten frames. Use tweezers for older pre-k students to develop those fine motor muscles.
Summer counting stew is a fun counting game. You can read all about Counting STEWS & BREWS HERE. It’s a simple game, but students go crazy for it! Students pick a card, count out the corresponding amounts, place the items in the pot, mix, and eat the stew.
Summer Activities for Blocks, STEM, & Science
More pool noodle fun in the blocks’ center! Cut some of the pool noodles in half, creating long ramps. We cut them in different lengths to spice it up, too. Then, I added in some of the pool noodle rings, fun ice cream bowls, bugs, cars, road tape strips (just road tape on black cardstock), ramp books, and SUMMER STEM I CAN BUILD challenge cards on the wall for inspiration.
Summer is full of ramps (roller coasters, water slides, playground slides, carnival rides, mini golf courses), and these long pool noodles can be used to create all kinds of ramps!
Check out this water slide and roller coaster a few of my pre-k kiddos created! You will need a heavy, small ball for the ramps. We used bouncy balls.
Summer Activities for Art & Sensory
Summer is full of sunshine, so make a sun name craft to practice scissor skills and learn their name! These also make a super cute (and easy) summer bulletin board.
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Summer Sensory Bin! Dye some beans with paint and create an adorable summer sensory bin. Add in some summer-themed manipulatives, and you are ready to go! I found this adorable pineapple silicone candy mold, some mini erasers, tweezers, pom poms, and scoops.
Summer Activities for Literacy
If you are having an ooey gooey science day or just want to do fun experiments, try letter volcanoes! Read all about letter volcanoes Letter Volcanoes HERE. I always try to sneak in letters into any activity I can.
Make word work FUN, and stamp the words in kinetic sand! Put a handful of kinetic sand into pencil boxes to keep the sand in one place, which is hopefully not the floor. Students stamp summer vocabulary words, sight words, or students’ names in the sand with regular stamps.
If you want to do some handwriting activities to help kiddos learn how to make letters, do it on bubble sensory bags. It’s just hair gel, blue food coloring, and sequins in a baggie taped shut. Students pick a bubble letter and make it on the bubble baggie.
You can also use the bubble sensory bags to practice writing sight words!
Summer’s all about the pool, so play the Pool Time Syllable Clap and Build to practice counting the syllables in words. As students build the syllable towers, they can visually see which words are long (tall tower) and which words are short (short tower)
A fun way to explore letters is to sort their summer style with Beach Letter Sort! By sorting them, students notice different things about the letters, like if they have holes (like letter P) or no holes (like letter L).
Fill the bookshelf with tons of fun-in-the-sun summer books! Books about boats, the beach, rivers, summer bugs, and vacations.
Flip Flop Rhymes! I feel like sometimes, in the summer, students need more sensory, so I filled the bottom tray in my board with cut straws! Students can find the flip-flop rhyme card in the straws and then find the match in the pocket chart.
The summer writing table is filled with all things summer: summer words (uppercase and lowercase as always), summer paper, markers, blank books, and student name cards. I feel like summer is the perfect time to explore writing letters and the mail because, in the summer, people are sending each other postcards and letters when they are at summer camps or on vacation. Put envelopes and “stamps,” aka stickers, in the center so students can write their family “mail”.
More Summer Activities for Sensory & Art
Pool party play dough tray is perfect for a summer theme. Make a pool, put people counters in it and “floaties” in it (pineapple sticks, summer mini erasers), and add waves (blue gems). Mini umbrellas would be fun to add in the tray!
My kiddos LOVE play dough trays, and I love them because they’re great fine motor work! Plus, students are practicing sharing, problem-solving, and engineering as they play.
Bubble art is a ton of fun (but super messy, so make sure you use trays). Put an inch of water, paint, and soap into a cup. Test the solution to make sure you have enough paint. If you don’t have enough paint, the bubbles won’t show up well on the paper.
Students each get a straw and blow bubbles in the cup. After the bubbles have towered over the cup, pat the paper in the bubbles. My biggest trick is to either move the trays or move the kids; don’t try to move the cups. Learned that one the hard way.
Summer Activities for Dramatic Play
Now that you have tons of summer activities, grab your lesson plans and get busy planning a fun summer season!
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I’m Jackie, your go-to girl for early childhood inspiration and research-based curriculum.