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!
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!
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 favourites (as mentioned above, please exercise caution and closely supervise children under the age of three);
- Ice cube colour mixing: Before the activity, add a few drops of food colouring to water – we used red, blue and yellow, and freeze into ice blocks. Place each of the colour combinations pictured below into some glasses, and watch the magic happen. What a wonderful way to teach young children the primary and secondary colours! Alternatively, place the coloured 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 colours.
- 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.
3. Water Play
This post couldn’t 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 favourite 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!
- Click through via the link to find our top 10 ideas for water 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.
Still looking for more inspiration – check out our 101 Things For Kids to Do Outside poster and our summer learning activities poster – 101 Fun Ways to Keep Kids Learning All Summer Long.
What is your favourite way to have fun and stay cool during the hot summer months?