Summer Fun in Your Child Care Center

Summer is in full swing and with this time of year, usually comes a more relaxed child care/family care environment. Most teachers are happy to be outdoors, and most children are even happier to have more free time to explore and play. Walks to the local library, playground, bookstore, park, etc. are all possibilities now. As a student of and as an aspiring educator in the early childhood field working towards obtaining your CDA, it is helpful to remember that not every summer day needs to be the same thing over and over again.

Here are a few ideas I came across that can help spark some summer excitement for both yourself as the educator, and more importantly, for your early learners!

Paint With Water Balloons

It’s not as crazy as it sounds! Just put some non-toxic, washable craft paint inside water balloons, fill them up with water and let the kids throw them onto poster boards in the grass. It’s a bit messy, but the kids will end up with a splatter-paint keepsake that to take home or give as a gift.

2. Cool Down With Ice Chalk

Another artsy alternative for beating the summer heat is modifying that time-treasured outdoor activity of sidewalk chalk. All you need to do is: Whip up a batch of homemade chalk paint using equal parts corn starch and water. Split it up into smaller batches, and then add in your favorite washable paint colors. Pour the mixtures into ice cube trays and freeze them. TIP: prep the night before you intend on using the chalk. When it’s time to play, pop the ice chalk out of the trays into a bowl and let the kids draw and experiment on the pavement. The colors get more vibrant as they melt.

3. Play in the Water

Water is where it’s at in the summertime. It keeps the kids cool, and there isn’t a lot of prep required. Pools and sprinklers are great, but they’re not the only option. Water Tables can be fun for children of all ages. Just feeling the eater and being able to splash

in it is something all kids cherish! When it comes to water play, however, just make sure to let the kids’ parents know to pack a bathing suit, change of clothes and towel for those warm weather days.

4. Start a Garden

Take the nice weather as an opportunity to teach kids about nature by letting them plant something and watch it grow. Gardening can be a fun daily project, and you could even rotate the responsibility of watering among the kids to give them each a chance at participating.

5. Rediscover the Sandbox

You can’t go wrong with letting the kids play in some sand. If your child care program doesn’t have one, it’s a good idea to invest in one. Filling a sandbox with plenty of tools and toys will encourage the kids to be creative as they dig, pour and create designs. Just make sure to get one with a cover, so you can keep out rainwater and critters when the kids aren’t playing in it.

6. Nature Explorers

Get outside and create your own adventure! Play “I Spy” or make-believe you are in the jungle. Try to spot some birds, worms, etc. Count how many red cars drive by. Anything that allows the kids to play outdoors and experience nature is a win-win!

7. Have an Indoor Picnic

The weather won’t always cooperate. So, for those rainy days or unhealthy hot days, it’s a good idea to have indoor activities on tap. For instance, an indoor picnic can be a lovely way to simulate outside play. If you see a rainy day in the forecast, invite the kids to bring their favorite stuffed animal as their guest.

8. Start a Band

Another idea for those rainy or sweltering days is to encourage a bit of noisy indoor fun by forming a band. Collect empty plastic bottles and fill them with dried rice to create maracas. Take elastic bands and an empty tissue box to make a guitar. Get creative the kids will love playing the instruments they helped make.

There are so many other activities you can put together for summer play, both outdoors and in. Keeping kids engaged is what matters. Boredom shouldn’t be a factor when there’s fun to be had. So go get ‘em, Teachers!