Fun Summer Activity Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Ice blocks, sprinklers, sand and swimming –it must be summer! Today we are sharing a bunch of fun summer activity ideas to enjoy with the small people in your life – they’re perfect for toddlers and preschoolers but (just quietly!) your school aged kids are sure to want to play too!

Super fun summer activity ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

1. Summer Sensory Bins
One super fun activity for toddlers is the sensory bin. What is a sensory bin? Basically it’s a tub filled with fun materials to explore with the senses. It can get a little messy, and there may be a theme that ties together the items included in the bin (but not necessarily).

I made up  two for super summer time play – an Ocean Sensory Bin with blue jelly/jello and a Kinetic Sand Beach Sensory Bin. Both were a big hit with my two year old!

Summer activities: Blue Jelly Sensory Bin

Summer activities: Beach Sensory Bin

To adapt these activities for babies or toddlers who are still at the stage where little objects pose a choking risk and everything goes in their mouth – simply place the materials in an empty plastic bottle and you have a sensory bottle instead!

If you don’t have blue jelly, substitute water with blue food colouring and glitter to create an ocean discovery bottle.

2. Ice Play

Have fun cooling off on a hot day with ice play! There are so many things you can do with ice! Here are some of my favorites (as mentioned above, please exercise caution and closely supervise children under the age of three);

  • Ice cube color mixing: Before the activity, add a few drops of food coloring to water – we used red, blue and yellow, and freeze into ice blocks. Place each of the color combinations pictured below into some glasses, and watch the magic happen. What a wonderful way to teach young children the primary and secondary colors! Alternatively,  place the colored ice blocks into a sealed zip lock bag (this makes this activity work for younger children too). As the ice melts, talk about what happens to each of the colors.

Summer activities: Ice colour mixing science experiment

  • Ice excavation: Preschoolers love being ice excavators and archeologists – tapping away at a huge frozen ice block to find treasure! This is easy to prepare – simply, place some objects in a large tub with water (don’t over fill it) and leave it to freeze for a few hours. Add a collection of play tools (or small, blunt real tools) to get them started. The excavation gets easier as the ice melts.

Summer activities: Ice Excavating

Another fun idea to keep little ones cool in the heat is with our ice cube painting tutorial.

3. Water Play

No Summer activities for kids activity collection would be complete without water play! A paddling pool, the sprinkler, a water play table or just a slow running tap with watering cans and buckets can provide hours of fun in the sun.

  • One of my favorite simple play ideas is to ‘paint’ the ground or walls using a paint brush and water. It’s so fun to watch the ‘paint’ disappear as the water evaporates.
  • Sponge water bombs: These water bombs are heaps of fun for any age! Cut thin strips of dishwashing sponge and then tie the strips tightly around the middle. Dunk into a bucket of water and you are ready to play!
  • For even more water play fun click through via the link to find our top 10 ideas for water play.

Summer activities: Sponge play

4. Bubble blower painting

This has to be one of the funnest ways to paint! Check out our post about bubble painting here.

If your kids really love bubbles, this What Can We Use to Blow Bubbles? bubble science experiment is lots of fun too.

5. Flower collage creatures

If you have an abundance of bright flowers and interesting greenery in your garden, creating these flower collage creatures keeps preschoolers (and bigger kids) engaged for ages.

For more nature play inspiration check out our 101 Things For Kids to Do Outside poster.

Keep learning throughout Summer with this collection of themed picture book booklists;

Have older children at home for Summer? Here are some fun summer activity ideas for bigger kids;