As the temperature starts to go from mild to hot outside it can be fun to explore summer themes with your kids. Whether you are just looking for summer activities you can do from home, fun summer themes to explore during summer camp or year-round preschool, or a way to keep your kids entertained during the summer months, here are some fabulous resources for planning your preschool summer theme activities. Most of these activities are designed for kids ages 3 through 5, but many can be modified for younger and older kids as well.
WHY IT’S FUN
A summer theme gives your children a chance to explore a major seasonal change that brings hot summer days and fun-filled activities for your kids such as building sandcastles, water balloon fights, and learning about animals and plants that thrive in warmer climates. Whether you live in an area where there is a drastic change or not, kids enjoy being able to pretend and engage in common summer activities.
WHEN TO TEACH A SUMMER THEME
Summer arrives near the end of June in many areas here in the United States. However, it can start to feel like summer outside as early as May or early June. This is most often the time people choose to begin teaching summer themes. Others prefer to lump all of the seasons together into a unit and investigate the cycle of seasons so kids can make connections between the different seasons.
TEACHING TIPS & MAJOR CONCEPTS KIDS WILL LEARN
If you’re planning a preschool summer theme there are many possibilities for incorporating meaningful early learning skills.
These are just some of the concepts kids can learn about during a summer theme:
- signs of summer outdoors
- changes in temperature
- comparing hot and cold
- investigating what will freeze and what will melt and the impact of placing objects in the summer sun
- appropriate clothing and gear for summer
- hobbies and activities that are popular in summer
- sensory exploration and vocabulary related to heat and warm objects
- animals that live in the ocean or warm climates
You can also use seashells or watermelon seeds as manipulatives for many learning activities to teach math and literacy concepts.
ITEMS TO COLLECT AND REQUEST IN ADVANCE
If you get parents, friends, and family involved you can enrich the experience kids have during your preschool summer theme.
Collect or ask people to help you collect:
- beach toys and gear for sensory play
- photos from trips taken in summer
- items for summer small worlds like sand, seashells, etc.
- lemons for sensory play
You might even invite special guests (or go visit if you can) to come and share about fields and hobbies related to summer. You could include:
- Other summer professionals
GET STARTED WITH OUR MOST POPULAR SUMMER FREEBIES
PRINTABLE SUMMER THEME LESSON PLANS
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set currently includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
- 10 Little Beach Balls Game (including mats 1-10)
- “Get Dressed for Summer” Activity (8 versions)
- Summer Pompoms Dice Game (1-20)
- Counting Fireflies Activity
- “It’s Summer” Emergent Reader
- Summer Letter Puzzles (in color)
- Summer Number Cards (0-35, in color)
- Watermelon Number Puzzles (1-10)
- Seashell Written Word Number Puzzles (1 – 20)
- Finish the Pattern (6 versions)
- Flip Flop Rhyming Activity (10 version)
- Pineapple Shapes (7 versions)
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers
RELATED SUMMER PRINTABLES
GET A FULL WEEK OF SHELL THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
WATERMELON THEME LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
BEACH THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
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INDIVIDUAL SUMMER ACTIVITY IDEAS ON FANTASTIC FUN AND LEARNING
Here on Fantastic Fun and Learning we’ve shared the following ideas to go along with a preschool summer theme
If you’re looking for a fun way to let the kids burn some energy, give this diy toy water balloon parachute steam activity a try.
Cut down on waste by using this recycled art for kids: boats in the sea art activity.
All you need is a few everyday supplies to make this paper sculpture relief ocean craft.
your kids will love making their own self portraits with this seashell self-portrait art project.
Get your kids up and moving with this bug alphabet game.
This watermelon sensory writing tray is a great way to extend writing practice and even do some sight learning.
This using all five senses in the garden will teach your students all about the five senses and gardening!
This amazing scented pineapple slime recipe smells amazing and is so much fun!
This torn paper watermelon craft is a great way for your little ones to practice fine motor skills.
This strawberry lemonade scented slime recipe is perfect for pretend play and a great sensory activity for kids.
Your kids will love this fun ice cream sundae fluffy slime recipe sensory play experience with a focus on ice cream!
This sponge painted ice cream cone summer art project is a great indoor summertime activity for kids.
This watermelon sensory bin will be an instant hit with kids of all ages!
This fun seashell science and math activity is a great way for your kids to explore and learn about shells.
If your kids love ice cream, they will love this ice cream sensory bin.
These beach and ocean sensory squish bags will allow your kids to continue to explore the beach even after they’ve returned home!
Make your own summer camp experience at home with this ocean theme summer camp at home.
Paint your own watermelons with this creative watermelon sponge painting.
Your kids will love practicing letter recognition with this ocean theme abc sensory bin.
Your kids will spend hours creating lemon concoctions with this lemon sensory water play.
This fun scratch and sniff five senses art for kids is a great process art activity for kids.
This fun jellyfish craft will be an instant hit with your kids!
This fun seashell sight word practice will help with sight word practice over the summer.
Match letters and spell your name with this seashell name game.
This fun rainbow fish counting play dough is a great activity to go with the book.
This easy starfish craft is perfect for easy summer afternoons.
Your kids will love making this refreshing blueberry orange popsicle recipe.
This messy sticky shaving cream sensory play is perfect for messy play at home.
You only need four ingredients to make this easy strawberry lemonade popsicle recipe.
Your kids will love pretend play and fine motor practice with this coral reef play dough activity.
You only need two materials to make this 4th of July craft bracelet for kids.
If you’re looking for a fun summer craft, your kids will love this yarn-wrapped fish craft.
Enjoy these fun family camp empathy summer fun for families activities that will help your kids build empathy and grow closer as a family.
Savor the last bits of summer with this delicious candy bar popsicle recipe.
This fun water balloon name game is perfect for toddlers!
Water shooters aren’t just for water fun, you can use them for this water shooter painting for kids too.
Let your kids create their own underwater scenes with this fish play dough.
All you need are a few basic supplies to make this sunflower suncatcher craft for kids.
You can use natural elements to make this camping small world.
This simple and relaxing seashell painting art for kids is the perfect summer activity to wind down after a trip to the beach.
Get your kids in the kitchen with this cooking with kids seashell snack & play.
Make your own coral reef with this egg carton sea life recycled craft.
This coral reef sensory play is so easy to make and is so much fun!
If you can’t make it to the beach, you can still pretend you’re there with this beach sensory play and small world.
Give little fingers a workout and start scooping some summer fun and creativity with this ice cream cone art project.
Create your own shimmering seashell art with this creative shell craft project idea.
MORE ACTIVITIES FROM CREATIVE EDUCATORS
Learn name recognition with a summer twist using these summer-inspired name games.
Create your own summer theme play dough invitation with these creative ideas.
The possibilities for summer sensory play are endless. Choose one of these creative summer sensory bins to create for little sensory seekers.
These ocean crafts are perfect for an ocean unit or a fun summer craft.
Create sandcastle texture art with this summer sandcastle collage art project.
There are so many fun watermelon activities that you can do with your kids during the summer months.
Have your kids help make a summer bucket list to help you come up with creative ways to spend your summer days.
These fun ladybug activities are perfect to do with your kids during the summer months.
These fun water play ideas are perfect for hot summer days.
There are so many fun activities in this list of Gail Gibbons books and activities perfect for summer to keep your kids occupied.
These water balloon games for kids are the perfect way to beat the heat.
These 40+ fish theme activities for kids has everything you need to play a fun activity for your fish unit or summer theme.
Your kids will love learning about the ocean with these preschool ocean theme activities.
For the days when your kids can’t play in the ocean, they can still play with this ocean small world summer sensory play.
If you’re looking for fun crafts to go with a fish unit, consider these adorable fish crafts for kids.
These fun summer diy projects for backyard fun are great for outdoor play!
Help kick off summer with these end of year gifts kids can make for friends.
This totally awesome summer tie-dye tutorial has everything you need to make a fun summer tie-dye project.
You can plan the ultimate summer of fun with these fun summer activities.
Create fun outdoor play activities with this kids’ outdoor play.
Use up all of your beach shells with these shell activities for kids.
INFORMATIONAL YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Do fun summer science experiments alongside squeaks in Fun Summer Science!
Learn all about sea turtles and where they come from in this sea turtles educational video.
There are so many fun insects out during the summer months! Learn all about them in 10 Interesting Insects
Learn all about fun facts of summer in Summer Facts For Kids
This fun song about watermelons has everything your kids need to learn more about their favorite summertime fruit.
Learn all about the golden song by singing along to Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
The Singing Walrus gives us a fun summertime jam Summer Song for Kids to sing along to.
Learn all about the animals in the ocean with this fun song!
FAVORITE SUMMER BOOKS
Visit these book lists to find our favorite suggestions for summer theme reading!
OTHER PROPS AND TEACHING TOOLS
Reinforce learning with these hands-on materials for your summer theme. They can be used for sensory bins, crafts, and learning activities.
These seashell counting numbers math mats are a great way to learn about numbers and learn to count.
Practice building letters and learn the alphabet with this fun watermelon ABC preschool letter printable.
Practice math facts and beginning addition with these seashell addition math mats.
Sing and count to ten with this 10 Little Seashells Counting Song.
This roll and say summer ABC game would be a fun summer alphabet game to play with your kids!
Put your favorite beach treasures to use with these fun beach theme counting mats.
Practice counting to 10 with this free printable 10 Little Fish counting song.
Let your kids practice math in a fun and creative way this summer with these roll and color summer math games.
Your kids will love identifying numbers with this one more one less number sense fish math activity.
Get up and move with this fun Ocean Animals Preschool Song.
If you’re looking for a fun book activity you’ve got to check out these read play create summer activities for kids.
POSSIBLE FIELD TRIPS OR ADVENTURES
By all means if you can get outside and head to the beach with your little ones, DO IT! Even if you can’t take a walk on the beach or play in the sand, you can still have some summer fun at home.
- Head to the beach. Bring a lot of parent helpers!
- Visit a U-Pick local farm to see which fruits and veggies are ready to harvest in the summer.
- Head to a local splash pad.
As you wrap up your preschool summer theme take note of what the kids were most interested in throughout the theme. Continue on by investigating one of those concepts more in depth. Below are some possible suggestions. Themes we have printable lesson plans for include links after them.
As summer winds down begin to plan your fall theme activities.