Celebrate Summer With Fun Activities!
Celebrate the Summer with your little ones. The first day of Summer is June 20st. Also called the Summer Solstice, it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of Earth. Show your children a world globe and point out the northern hemisphere (above the equator) and the southern hemisphere (below the equator). Explain that the sun, the closest star to Earth, will be at its brightest and most powerful in the northern hemisphere all summer long providing lots of light and warmth. Here's a map depicting the northern and southern hemispheres.
Please remember that even though your young child may not fully understand the words and concepts you are using -- just exposing them to new vocabulary and ideas sets the groundwork for further learning as they grow.
Caution! While you can celebrate the sunshine please remind your children never to look directly at the sun. Direct viewing of the Sun without a filter or viewer specifically designed for the purpose is dangerous and can result in eye damage or blindness. Here's more information.
Here's a picture of the sun that your children might like to see.
Make Your Own Sun!
To kick off the summer festivities break out the art supplies and invite your children to make make their own sun. Fashion a sun using a round piece of clay or beeswax -- then make rays around it using colors like red, orange and yellow to evoke the sun's warmth and radiance. Use toothpicks to carve and sculpt a face on the sun. Draw or paint the sun. Or make this very easy paper plate sunshine.
Place your sun art directly in the sunshine for a few minutes to soak up some of that great sun energy before finding the perfect place to hang them in your home.
Make A Suncatcher!
Suncatchers are easy and fun to make. Take your kids for a walk and collect leaves, flower petals, feathers, and other relatively flat nature treasures. Arrange the items on clear contact paper and then cover them with another piece of clear contact paper. Press and smooth out the air bubbles. Now, trim the paper into a sun-shape (a circle will do). Punch a hole in the top, thread some ribbon through the hole, and hang the suncatcher in front of a window where the sun will shine through it. These make great decorations for your windows -- and are nice gifts for family and friends too.
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Here are some great books about summer to read with your children. Look for these titles at your library or bookstore.
- The Summer Solstice by Ellen Jackson (Ages 4-8)
- Ready for Summer (Tundra Books) by Marthe Jocelyn (Baby-PreK)
- Sunshine Makes The Seasons (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Franklyn M. Branley (Ages 4-8)
- Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer by Susan Hood (Baby-PreK)
- Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic by Stephen Schnur (Ages 4-8)
- One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews (Baby-PreK)
- Summer (Beginner Books) by Alice Low (Ages 4-8)
- It's Summer by Linda Glaser (Ages 4-8)
- Mouse's First Summer by Lauren Thompson (Baby-PreK)
- Summer Stinks by Marty Kelley (Ages 4-8)
- The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing (ages 4-8)
- Summer (Four Seasons Series) by Maria Rius (Baby-PreK)
- The Summer Solstice: Celebrating the Journey of the Sun from May Day to Harvest (Parent resource)
- Summer (First Step Nonfiction) by Tanya Thayer (Parent resource)
Sunny Day Activities!
Make the most of the summer weather! Here are some fun activities to do outdoors when the sun is shining.
Note: With all water activities constant adult supervision is required. Remember to limit sun exposure, wear protective clothing, and use water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours.
Don't forget that some medications can increase sensitivity to the sun -- for example, tetracycline antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends wearing wide-brimmed hats and utilizing shade under a beach umbrella or a tree. Sunscreens alone may not always protect you. And don't forget sunglasses to protect your child's eyes.
- Blow Bubbles! Little kids like to try to blow bubbles. If they can't quite get the hang of it yet, blow some for them and let them try to catch and pop them. Here are some recipes for home-made bubble solutions.
- Play Water Hose Limbo! (Just hold the hose, turn on the water, and tell the kids to take turns by doing the Limbo under the water stream. Lower the water stream after each successful group pass-through. Eventually someone will get wet!)
- Purchase an inexpensive, plastic kiddie pool to cool off in the backyard.
- Visit a community pool and take a refreshing dip.
- Put your water shoes on and wade in a calm, slow-moving creek or stream. Don't forget to take a field guide with you and try to identify various aquatic insects. Before you go learn about dragonflies. Then make your own dragonfly.
- Play Hopscotch. This classic game teaches or reinforces counting skills while developing physical coordination. Here are instructions for how to draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk, patio, or driveway along with directions on how to play the game. You may also be able to find a hopscotch grid at a local schoolyard.
- Run through the sprinklers! Or get a Slip-and-Slide and invite the neighbors to join in the fun!
Make Surprise Ice Blocks!
It's fun to play with ice cubes and ice blocks before they melt in the summer sun. If the ice cubes just won't withstand the heat long enough -- make some big ice blocks with a surprise inside. Here's how:
You will need these materials:
- Clean milk cartons of various sizes -- pints, quarts, and half gallons.
- Small plastic toys, trinkets, or coins
Fill some clean milk cartons with water, drop in a few plastic toys or trinkets, and put the containers in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the ice blocks from the milk cartons. Give them to your child to play with outside. As the ice melts, the toys and coins will appear to your child's utter delight and amazement.
Summer fun is enhanced with refreshing popsicles. Make your own for pennies! Just invite your kids to help you fill an ice cube tray with fruit juice or Kool-Aid. Put the tray in the freezer. Once the cubes start to freeze, place craft sticks or toothpicks in the center of each cube. Continue to freeze until solid. Remove your home-made popsicles from the tray and enjoy! To make bigger pops, use paper cups and follow the same procedure.
For No-Mess Popsicles: Save the lids from small yogurt containers. Cut a small slit in the lid and slide the popsicle stick through it to make a "catch-all" for the drips.
More Fun Summer Activities
Don't forget to check out these fun ideas for summer at UniversalPreschool.com
Special Article on S-U-M-M-E-R Fun by Marty Layne
Marty Layne, mother of four adults who learned at home, works as a parent educator, infant massage instructor, homeschool workshop presenter, and children's entertainer. She'll travel to your community and help you set up a Games to Play With Little Ones Program to encourage parents and caretakers to use fingerplays, rhymes and songs with their children.
She wrote "Learning At Home: A Mother's Guide To Homeschooling" and recorded "Brighten the Day - Songs to Celebrate the Seasons," a CD with 21 seasonal songs about the natural world. Marty wrote a terrific article with lots of great summer learning ideas that you can read here: Summer Activities For Little Ones
Have fun celebrating summer, and give your little ones a hug for me,
Diane Flynn Keith, For Unpreschool
Author of Carschooling, Carschooling.com
Find More Summer Fun!
- Living and Learning with Preschoolers
- Summer Learning Fun!
- Summer Activities For Little Ones
- Summer Moon Illusion
- Discretionary Playtime Needed!
- Learning Calendar
Article Updated May 23, 2011