3 Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained (and Learning!) This Summer

3 Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained (and Learning!) This Summer

Between the hot weather, vacation disruptions, and the big kids out of school, I know it can be hard to come up with things to do ALL day with a preschooler. The summertime struggle is very real! 

That’s why I am sharing 3 fun activities that don’t take much prep, but will keep your kids entertained and learning this summer.   

summer activities

Right now in my classroom, we are embracing the warm weather and doing a Beach theme all week. I like to start each morning with a story from our theme.

One of my favorite beach books is The Colors of Summer. It’s a cute story of a little girl’s day at the beach, but it’s also a great way to review colors and rhyming. Plus little ones stay engaged in finding the colored objects in the illustrations! You can find more of my favorite books for Beach Week saved in my Amazon storefront

colors of summer book

After our story time, we move on to our activities for the day. This first one comes straight from my Beach Week lesson plans and can be done inside or outside! 

Summer Scavenger Hunt 

Have you ever met a toddler that doesn’t love a bucket? I swear they have a magic hold over little ones. In this summer scavenger hunt activity, you get to make your little one’s day and bust out the beach buckets (without the mess of sand)! 

The only prep you have to do to set this one up is print and laminate (I recommend this so that they hold up) the beach-themed picture cards and the checklists. 

summer scavenger hunt

I hid the cards high and low all around my classroom because it was rainy outside, but this would be so fun to do outside on a playground too! My little ones loved searching all over and adding their cards to their buckets as they went. 

summer scavenger hunt

Once all of the cards were found, we gathered together to sort them (another great skill!) and littles checked off what they found on their checklists. We did this part together, but depending on the age of your kiddos you could have them check as they go, or even write in the number they found. There are three different lists to choose from and use them however you want!

summer scavenger hunt

Once we had found everything and finished sorting, my little friends were still not quite ready to move on. I took this as a sign of a successful activity, so I rolled with it and let them take turns hiding the cards from their friends. You can see it in action on my TikTok

This summer scavenger hunt was great for gross motor skills and also for getting those wiggles out since they got to freely roam all over the room. I will definitely be keeping these cards handy all summer long to pull out when I see my kiddos getting restless for a movement break. 

Water Sensory Bin

I was talking to another preschool teacher recently and she said that her motto for when things start going ary is “just add water”. She explained that no matter what the activity is, just find a way to add water to it and your kiddos will be back on track and happy.

I know this is definitely the case in my classroom, I have NEVER had a kid in a bad mood when they were playing with a water sensory bin. 

water sensory bin

This next activity idea kind of feels like the ultimate teacher/parent hack… let the kids set up their own sensory bin!

Just fill up your sensory bin or table with water, you could even add food coloring to the water, but my little ones were happy enough without it. Then, give them a bunch of objects you already have and let them decide which ones they want to use and how they want to use them in their sensory bin.

@preschoolpackets Setting up a sensoru bin can be so easy even a toddler can do it! 😉 Step 1️⃣: Grab a sorting tray and collect random objects you have lying around. Think seashells, colorful toys, or even kitchen utensils! Step 2️⃣: Fill up your sensory bins with water. 🌊 Step 3️⃣: Let your little ones do the work and create their own sensory bin! Pro-tip: Add ice cubes for those extra hot summer days! ☀️ #preschoolplayideas #summersensorybin #watersensorybin #tipsforpreschool ♬ The Little Mermaid (Marimba Remix) - Harry Goes Boom!

You would be amazed at what their little imaginations come up with. I loved listening to their explanations of their activities.

This is so great for giving them independence and really allowing them to direct their own play. Meanwhile, you get to sit back, drink a cup of (iced) coffee and observe their little imaginations going wild. I think this might be the ultimate sensory bin win. 

Summer Play Dough Centers

Another day, another sorting tray. If you have been following along for any amount of time, you would know they are my number one most used item. During different themes I like to keep a sorting tray stocked and ready to go for a number of activities, one of them being play dough mats! 

We love using play dough mats in my classroom, as they give little ones a chance to be creative but also work on valuable skills like fine motor, counting, and more! 

beach playdough center

For our beach week, I set up two different play dough centers- build a sandcastle and build a beach. For both activities, I used a lot of the same items in my sorting tray. 

To get ready for the Build a Sandcastle center, I stocked my tray with seashells, mini summer-themed and star erasers, and “flags” cut from colored paper. I printed and laminated my play dough mats and cards, and we were ready to play! 

beach playdough center

Little ones used the prompt cards to tell them how many of each item to count out and add to their sandcastle. The playdough worked as the glue to hold the items on the sandcastle. Great for fine motor and math skills, but most of all fun! 

beach playdough center

For the Build a Beach center, I printed out the playdough mats and some real-life images of things you might find at a beach to help inspire their own little beach scenes. I added some more items to my trays, but you could really use any small items that could go on a beach or in the ocean. 

beach playdough center

Little learners loved creating their own beach scenes, and the real-world photos sparked lots of conversations about trips they have had to the beach and the things they saw or did. I love when they make these connections from their own life to what we are learning about! 

beach playdough mat

If you are looking for more Beach theme activities or any of the printables you saw in the post, you can find them in my Beach Theme Lesson Plans. Each plan includes 5 days worth of book recommendations, hands-on activities, crafts, and more!

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