It’s the same issue every year. Summertime opens with a whole host of excitement. You’ve got summer preschool activities planned for every week.
This year, things are going to be different. You’re not going to wake up in August, wondering why you feel like the months were a blur of routine activities that gobbled up all the family fun time.
Good intentions make no memories. This year, I’m going to provide you with a PLAN. A variety of summer preschool activities that hit all the right notes, and will leave you feeling like the parenting superstar you really are.
Creative Summer Preschool Activities Made Simple
Want these memories to actually happen? Break out the calendar and schedule time for “Preschool Fun”. You can figure out what that exactly means later in the week.
- 5 Art Preschool Summer Activities
- 9 Nature Preschool Activities
- 4 Sports Summer Activities for Preschoolers
- 4 Food Summer Preschool Activities
- 6 Brain-Boosting Preschool Activities
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That’s right. There are new and exciting adventures awaiting you and your preschooler this summer, and you don’t even have to look very far.
Great! So, where do I start?
Before you get deep into the summer rut, take these steps:
- Pick out a few new activities to delve into this summer.
- Make plans to work those activities into your schedules. (Consider investing in a family calendar, to help keep you accountable!)
- Pick up any supplies you may need well in advance to avoid frantically changing plans at the last minute. (Thank the dear Lord for Amazon Prime because 2 days is about as “well in advance” as I get, amiright?!)
I can do all that! But what about the actual activities?
Never fear! I’ve found 28 new interests for you to try and organized them into the following categories: Art, Nature, Sports, Food, and Brain-Stretching Activities.
So, let’s hop on that tour bus and discover a few that will appeal to you and your preschooler!
Screens Happen: So Make Them Happen On Purpose
Let’s be honest. You can’t spend every waking minute of the summer shooing your kids out the door and breaking open the craft box. There will be times that the screen flashes on, and they want to zone out for a while.
That’s okay. You can allow Screen Time without feeling guilty.
They key is to encourage them to use their screens in ways that build brain cells, instead of destroying them. For example, CodeSpark is a game app for kids that teaches them the foundation of coding. They think they are playing a fun game with cute little monsters, but you know that you’re introducing them to skills that will be hugely helpful as they get older and look for good-paying jobs!
Heather’s daughter Isabella loves CodeSpark. It’s usually the first thing she goes to when the iPad gets turned on. (Even over Netflix!) Let your kids try CodeSpark for free.
5 Art-Related Summer Preschool Activities
Is your preschooler the next Flannery O’Connor? Or Andy Warhol? Do you ever find him muttering about “happy little trees” under his breath?
You can help your child explore hidden talents and new hobbies with these fun artistic activities. Just be warned: Some of these will be more than a little messy, so make sure you have some old clothes or a smock for the kids to wear while working on these projects.
Preschool Art Activity #1: Squirt Gun Painting
This is exactly what it sounds like! Load a few squirt guns (like this one with a 20-foot range!) with different colors of paint, and make some Jackson Pollock knock-offs in the backyard. But for the love of all that is holy, make sure you use a washable paint!
Preschool Art Activity #2: Origami
If summer storms have you stranded inside the tour bus (or for your mental health, you just need a less messy project), why not try your hand at the ancient Japanese art of folded paper? This complete beginner’s kit has 3 books of projects and 96 sheets of fun origami paper.
Preschool Art Activity #3: Tie-Dyeing
Feeling courageous and reckless? As in, the kind of reckless that makes you think you can trust your tiny summer tourists with fabric dye? Channel your inner flower child and break out this old summer party favorite! This complete deluxe kit comes with a whopping 18 colors, disposable plastic gloves, and twine for tying up your t-shirts or other chosen textiles.
Preschool Art Activity #4: Story-Writing
Some kids seem naturally gifted at spinning yarns.
“Mom, you just missed a giant, growling dog who ran into the house chasing a woodpecker, trying to eat him! But we saved the woodpecker by catching him with my bathtub net, and the dog got sad and ran back out. But the woodpecker flew into the kitchen and stole our cookies, so that’s why they’re all gone!”
Guide your child’s knack for storytelling into helping them create their own books with this handy blank book set!
Preschool Art Activity #5: Sculpting
Is your budding artist ready to graduate from Play-Doh? This modeling clay set comes complete with a variety of sculpting tools to allow your preschooler to take his creativity skills up a notch.
For extra inspiration, take your preschooler to a nearby museum to show him what his practice with modeling clay can lead to before unleashing the magic at home!
These art activities are an excellent way to give your child practice refining his fine motor skills. If you’re concerned your child needs more practice in that arena, check this article out.
9 Nature-Related Preschool Summer Activities
What better way to spend those summer-y days with the extra daylight hours than outdoors in nature? Plants, animals, and even the skies above you are just waiting to be explored by your child’s curiosity.
Take her imagination on a tour she’ll never forget by trying out some of these nature-related activities!
Preschool Nature Activity #1: Gardening
You’ve been meaning to tackle those flower beds anyway, haven’t you? Well, your preschooler is now ready to lend two tiny extra hands. She may be thrilled for a good excuse to get dirty and check out all the bugs and worms she never knew lived right outside her window. She just needs a few pint-sized tools that fit easily into her hands.
For an extra hidden educational push, plant a vegetable or herb garden to help her see the journey her food goes on before it gets rejected at the dinner table. Surely if she grows the greens herself, she’ll be more likely to eat them, right???
Preschool Nature Activity #2: Astronomy
With the stubborn summer sun refusing to set before many kids’ bedtimes, you may have to keep your preschooler up later than you’d like in order to have a good astronomy lesson. But it’s worth it! A warm, summer night spent sitting on a blanket with a good-quality telescope may turn out to be a memory you’ll cherish forever.
But remember, a tour guide must be well-informed about her subject, or your astronomy lesson may go something like, “So, um…there’s a star. And another star. And a, uh…a slightly bigger star.” So make sure to pick up a children’s guide to the night sky before you break all the bedtime rules.
Preschool Nature Activity #3: Biology
One of the most mind-boggling, yet familiar magic tricks of nature is the butterfly. Capture an early love for science by letting your preschooler care for live caterpillars and monitor their metamorphosis into majestic butterflies! This live caterpillar kit includes everything you need to monitor their winged transformation.
Preschool Nature Activity #4: Ant Farming
A flashy butterfly transfiguration is pretty awe-inspiring, but what do everyday activities look like for insects? An ant farm can be a great way to introduce your preschooler to beginning entomology.
Bonus: You can also discuss the values of dedication and teamwork as you watch the ants build intricate tunnels together.
Preschool Nature Activity #5: Agriculture
Do you know of a nearby farm? Drive your summer tour bus a short way down the road, and your preschooler will be fascinated to see the wheat field and the cows who may have provided her breakfast! (Hint, hint: you may want to leave off discussing where bacon comes from, unless you think she’s ready for it!)
If a farm visit is not feasible, find out when any county fairs or livestock shows may be happening in your area. Your tiny tourist will have a great time checking out all the animals. When you’re done, read this book and build your own tiny farmyard playset!
Preschool Nature Activity #6: Fishing
Even if you have exactly zero interest in touching live bait (or a live fish, for that matter), just spending time outdoors with your preschooler wearing these a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e munchkin-sized hip waders will create a memory you can both cherish forever!
This child-sized fishing rod is perfectly adequate for catching real fish, but it also includes tiny practice sponge fish, perfect for adding extra fun to a quick learning session on how to cast a fishing line!
Preschool Nature Activity #7: Birdwatching
Summer is a great time to check out all the birds native to your area! Teach your preschooler about nests and bird families by reading Birds, Nests, & Eggs by Mel Boring, and then head into your backyard (or the nearest hiking trail) on a quest to meet some feathered friends.
Preschool Nature Activity #8: Forestry
Did you know that 41 out of 50 US states have national forests that you can tour and explore? Learn what trees are native to your area, and find a spot where you and your preschooler can work together to plant a tree. Then play I-Spy with an interesting tree field guide and collect leaves for at-home art projects he can do without you!
Bonus: If you’re feeling particularly sappy–pun fully intended–take a photo of your child with the tree, and do your best to make it an annual event so you can watch your child and her tree grow together!
Preschool Nature Activity #9: Marine Life
Some days, it’s just going to be too darn hot to get out and enjoy nature. And that is why mankind invented air conditioning, which can be found in any local aquarium! And let’s face it; have you ever met a kid who didn’t like the aquarium…because I haven’t!
When you get home, spend the next few days reading through this Oceanpedia, drawing out the animals, and talking about what you learned.
4 Sports-Related Summer Preschool Activities
This may come as a bit of a shock to you, but your tiny tourist has a lot of energy to burn. You can either let that youthful animation bowl you over and sweep you up into its tornadic chaos, or you can funnel some of that excess stamina into focused exercise or organized (well, okay, semi-organized) sports.
Preschool Sports Activity #1: Jump Rope
Jump rope can be anything from a playful, leisurely activity to an intense competitive sport. When I was a kid, I experienced an obsession with learning jump rope rhymes, and this same book was my all-time favorite!
Jump rope rhymes are a great way to not just keep your preschooler active, but rhymes are also great for honing language skills.
Make sure you choose a jump rope that makes a “snap” sound when it hits the ground. This is a helpful auditory cue for your preschooler to jump! A rope-only jump rope may frustrate your budding athlete.
Preschool Sports Activity #2: Mini-Golfing
This classic summertime activity is fun for both a one-on-one outing and an all-out party for a large group, making it a great full-family outing! If you don’t go mini-golfing at least once before school starts, did summer even happen? This is one stop your tour bus simply cannot miss.
Besides, learning to putt a golf ball is an excellent fine motor skill that helps with eye coordination and balance. When you get home, invite your preschooler to create their own golfing obstacle course in the backyard for the family to play after dinner.
Preschool Sports Activity #3: Juggling
My old college wellness prof, Professor Bush, was adamant that learning to juggle was key to improving athletic performance and hand-eye coordination. So while you may not be dreaming of the day your little prince runs away to join the circus, getting a good beginner’s juggling kit and learning a new skill together is a fun way to help your preschooler hone his fine motor skills.
Preschool Sports Activity #4: Bowling
And, of course, you always need to find a way to have fun and be active even when it’s 119° outside and that preschooler energy has nowhere to go. A great option for days like that is simply to slide on a pair of those funny-soled shoes, raise the gutter bumpers, and carefully–I repeat, carefully–help your tiny firecracker guide his small boulder down a greased lane.
This is another preschool activity easy to recreate outside during backyard cookouts. All you need for your preschool horde is the right lawn bowling set!
4 Food-Related Preschool Activities for Summer
Does it seem like your toddler has a tardis where her stomach should be? (It’s bigger on the inside.) Perhaps it’s time she shoulders some of the responsibility of providing her own food.
Or are you having trouble getting her to try new things? Let her have a hand in making her own food, and it may open some doors to her taste buds.
Preschool Food Activity #1: Baking
Even if your summer tourist isn’t ready to work the oven, there are still plenty of memories to be made in the kitchen. Simply pick up this Baking With Kids book, get her outfitted with her own apron and utensils built for tiny hands, and prepare to guide her foray into mixing, measuring, and decorating!
Preschool Food Activity #2: Itzza Pizza!
But before you can have dessert, you need a meal. (Then again, it is summer vacation…) A great food to try with a novice chef is homemade pizza!
These days, you can seriously put anything on a pizza. I recently learned a small pizza restaurant near me serves crab rangoon pizza, and I’m dying to try it! Not only will your preschooler have fun deciding what fun combination to put on his pizza, but he can also leave his artistic mark with the toppings.
Preschool Food Activity #3: Homemade Ice Cream
Can you think of a better summertime food-related activity than making homemade ice cream with your kids? This is the perfect project for any preschooler who may not be ready for the full kitchen experience. All you need is a simple ice cream maker, a few solid recipes, and a sweet tooth!
Preschool Food Activity #4: Berry-Picking
Luckily for all of us, pick-your-own-produce farms are growing in popularity around the USA. If you start to pass one as you’re cruising down Highway Summertime, you’re going to want to pull that tour bus over immediately.
After all, what could be better than spending a summer’s day surrounded by fresh, healthy fruits and veggies and sneaking in a little education on where food comes from at the same time? (Again, surely…surely…this will encourage her to eat something besides McNuggets, right?)
Don’t let all those berries go to waste! Put on some adorable flirty aprons, crack the spine on Pie School and have her pie-making kit ready to go.
6 Brain-Stretching Summer Preschool Activities
Do you want to challenge your preschooler’s brain this summer by truly stepping outside the box? Do you want to capture magic and wonder? These are activities designed to stretch both you and your child, while still keeping 100% of the fun.
Preschool Brain Activity #1: Kite-Flying
A long-neglected hobby, kite-flying is not the boring, idle activity it’s been branded. Learning to launch a kite teaches coordination, problem solving, and critical thinking–not to mention the thrill your preschooler will feel when the bold colors leap successfully into the sky!
Be sure to get a high-quality kite with durable fabrics that will last for years. (Remember those dollar-store ones that looked like they were made from cling wrap and swizzle sticks? *shudder*)
This vibrant, rainbow-colored kite has over 1,300 5-star reviews on Amazon and is therefore an excellent choice for your family!
Preschool Brain Activity #2: Geocaching
Geocaching is modern-day treasure hunting. It’s a great way to tour your local area and see familiar sights with new eyes as you search for hiding places carefully selected by locals. In your search for these hidden caches, both you and your preschooler may be stretched in new ways of creative thinking.
Not sure how to start? This guide is all you need.
Preschool Brain Activity #3: Jigsaw Puzzles
I’ll let you in on a little secret.
Out of a large family of jigsaw lovers, I’m the only one who hates puzzles!
I know, I know. Puzzles are good for my brain. So in the spirit of encouraging our children to be problem-solvers, I went looking for some jigsaw puzzles that are so cool even I would be willing to give them a try.
These may look too hard for your preschooler, but if you’re doing them together, as a bonding activity and long-term project, you may find that they’re just right!
- A cool, abstract wooden work of art
- Disney characters as stained glass
- Thomas Kinkade’s Tangled puzzle
- 3-D castle puzzle
- Shaped ship-in-a-bottle puzzle
Preschool Brain Activity #4: Magic Tricks
Help your child put on his own magic show as he learns the basics of sleight of hand and misdirection. Melissa & Doug has an adorable magician’s costume and trick accessories set that is specifically designed with ages 3-6 in mind, along with this First Magic Set to reveal all those hidden master secrets.
If he does a really, really good job, hopefully he’ll get his Hogwarts letter when he turns 11! (*fingers crossed!*)
Preschool Brain Activity #5: Archaeology
A good tour guide knows where to find local hidden gems, such as fossil sites or other historical markers.
When people think of archaeological digs or fossil sites, they often think of exotic locales, such as the Pyramids in Egypt or the Mayan ruins in Central America. But archaeological dig sites are also scattered all throughout the USA! Your preschooler would love to see a local dig site where he can check out mammoth bones, remnants of indigenous civilizations, or even dinosaur fossils.
After you finish your field trip, use this T-Rex kit by Dr. Cool to do your own little at-home excavation!
Preschool Brain Activity #6: Volunteering
Volunteering may stretch your preschooler’s heart more than his mind, which might make it the most valuable suggestion on this list. Find an animal shelter who could use some volunteer animal-snugglers or take supplies to a food pantry. Expanding your child’s world also means helping him see where he can fit in, help others, and do good in this world.
Whatever You Do, Keep It Fun!
Guiding children through the preschool years can feel hectic, chaotic, even a little frantic at times. (Can I get an, “Amen!”)
But it doesn’t have to be just survivable, it can also be enjoyable!
Don’t let this summer run you down, but rather, make plans to use this summer in ways that count. Help your child’s world grow by offering her the grand tour through this adventurous season!
But whatever you do, don’t get bogged down trying to accomplish everything on this list! Maybe Perfectionist Polly down the street can churn out a Pinterest craft every day, but our kids aren’t impressed by that. Make this summer a time of learning and exploring, not lists and deadlines.
Maybe pick one item from each category and take a couple Saturdays a month to explore those potential interests.
With any luck, your tiny summer tourist may discover a new activity that will lead to a lifelong, beloved hobby!
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