Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean learning stops. Sure the schedule might be a bit more flexible and we may not plan full theme weeks for preschool time, but we can do a lot of playful learning with summer activities inspired by picture books.
On days we stay home we love to read a story at the beginning of the day and then do an activity or two related to the topic of the book. And because I know you’d rather be out enjoying time with your little ones than researching ideas for your own playtime, I’ve gathered some ideas for all the best summer themes and put them all in one place for you.
Below you’ll find a book recommendation, a play activity, and an arts and crafts project related to nine themese that are fun to explore with kids in the summertime.
Playful Summer Activities Inspired by Favorite Books
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Create: Fork Painted Fish
Read: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
Play: Watermelon Sensory Play
Create: Puffy Paint Watermelon Art by Crafty Morning
Read: Shells! Shells! Shells! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Create: Painted Seashell Art
Read: Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes
Play: Coral Reef Play Dough
Create: Egg Carton Sea Life
Create: Sand Castles that Last by Meaningful Mama
Read: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Play: Jellyfish Puppets by Picklebums
Create: Jellyfish Painting
Read: Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer
Play: Shark Sensory Bottle by Stir the Wonder
Create: Shark Suncatcher by Buggy and Buddy
Play: Camping Small World
Create: Glowing Campfire Craft from Buggy and Buddy
Read: Toating Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
Play: Marshmallow Sensory Play
Create: Painting with Marshmallows by Fun-A-Day
More Book-Inspired Summer Learning and Play
Here you’ll find a ton of playful summer activities to do after reading nonfiction books by Gail Gibbons.