As we are just a few weeks away from the official start of fall here and a “summer” theme in tot school was still on our list, we decided to make it a “say goodbye to Summer play bash”! I know, sounds like fun, right? Well it most definitely has been a joy just enjoying the nice weather and all the attractions that are still open. I compiled 7 things I love about summer and encourage you to do the same. Then I used this list of summer-related activities, places, things, etc. to shape our tot school week.
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1. Fireflies and Bug Catching – I have always adored lightning bugs and this is one part of summer that I could not ignore and neither could my toddler. Each night we love to go out and watch them light up our yard. We even have a bug box and net to catch them. This extends into the daylight hours as well with other bugs like cicadas and grasshoppers. It’s a fun way to connect the outdoors with the unique things it offers during the summer season. The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle is a great book to extend this concept; we also really loved reading The Very Quiet Cricket.
Other lightening bug activities for kids:
- Band-aid firefly art from No Time for Flash Cards
- Glow-in-the-dark Firefly jar from Come Together Kids
2. Strawberries, Gardening, and a thriving farmers market– Oh how I could eat all the strawberries. And now my daughter is following in my footsteps. What a fun time to revisit the food theme and talk to your kids about how food grows and when it grows. I know it’s going to be a tough conversation at the end of the season when I have to tell my tot that strawberries won’t be back until next year, but learning is tot school so it’s a lesson that must be discussed.
Activities to consider:
- Go to the farmers market
- Plan a fall garden/Micro garden with your tot, discussing when different plants grow
- Read Blueberries for Sal
3. Swimming – Of course summer is all about swimming! Swimming in the ocean, the lake, a river, a local pool, or even in your backyard. This is a fun way to talk about temperatures too. It’s an upcoming theme and you can ease into it with simple discussions about cold water during hot days.
- Five little ducks went swimming one day from Let’s Play Kids Music
- Revisit ideas from the tot school water theme.
4. Backyard BBQ – Grilling outside is one of those things that our family typically only does in the summer time or at least we do a lot more of it then. This could be an extension of the foods of summer concept as you prepare food together like wrapping corn on the cob in tin foil or having your toddler help make skewers.
5. Warm Temperatures – Ok so in Oklahoma we have had a mild summer this year and temperatures have truly only been warm rather than 113 degree days. Regardless, it’s still been in the 90s and it’s noticeable. This means we have gone outside several times in a day to see just how warm it is and I talk to her about how it gets hotter throughout the day. We even have melted ice cubes outside and talked about how we got hot and sweaty while playing.
Activities to consider doing while it’s warm outside:
- Read and do some of the simple science experiments in Heat Changes Things
- Play in a kiddie pool to talk about how hot it is outside vs how nice the water feels.
- Make Ice chalk one of 7 ways from Reading Confetti
6. Wearing Shorts – Wearing shorts is like the badge of summertime. This is the perfect time to relate the clothing learning theme to summer. It’s easy to talk to your toddler about how we pick out our clothes based upon the weather and that we wear short-sleeves, shorts, and sandals in the summertime a lot. [This can also be done with printables and felt boards. See below]. And as can be seen by the day my daughter picked out her summer attire, she may or may no understand this concept. 😉
Activity idea – get outside in your shorts try these 20 science activities for kids from Lemon Lime Adventures.
7. The sun and long, bright days – We love spending time laying in the grass pointing out clouds and the sun and the lively nature that surrounds us. This can be done in a park too. We also have played with our felt board, discussing the weather.
Activities to discuss the summer weather:
- Weather Figures for Flannel Boards and the weather wear set are fun ways to explore the hot temperatures and discuss the weather for the week. (I know here in Oklahoma we had high of 70 yesterday with rain and today it’s hot and sunny at 97…)
- Record what time it gets dark every night. This is especially fun right now as we are truly entering fall so it’s more dynamic than in the middle of summer.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!