Fun And Educational Activities For Young Kids This Summer

Summer is here, but while some people welcome the long-awaited arrival of warmer weather, longer days and the outdoor life, the season can be a bit of a challenge for parents with young children.  How do you keep your little ones occupied?  What activities can you do that won’t cost a fortune?  How do you combine fun with opportunities for learning?

The team at Evoke Early Learning has compiled a list of some fun and educational activities which will keep your kids entertained, occupied and stimulated over summer - and the good news is, your wallet will be safe too.  All our suggestions involve ordinary household items or things found in nature and the kids will be developing important skills while they’re out there having fun.  And if you’re keen to find out more about the best way for kids to learn, have a read of this short piece on how play-based learning benefits children.

Go on a scavenger hunt

Choose an age-appropriate area to have your scavenger hunt (around the home, around the neighbourhood or in the park) and then compile a list of things that the kids have to find.  You can print off a list using pictures, sort items by number (for example one orange flower, two pebbles) or by shape (a round object, a square object etc), by letter (eg items starting with ‘B’ etc).

Learning opportunities include counting, sorting, problem-solving, communication

Build a fort or castle

Set up a space in the yard where children can build their fort, palace, castle - whatever they choose!  Provide them with a ‘starter pack’ of construction materials such as large cardboard boxes, bits of fabric and foam offcuts and watch their creative juices start flowing!

Learning opportunities include problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, resilience

Paper plate faces

Set up a creative space in your yard (for example an old bed sheet in a shady spot) You’ll need some paper plates, a paper punch and some arts and crafts supplies like wool, cotton wool, crayons, scissors and a glue stick plus a couple of old magazines.  Each child can then create a face on their paper plate (think wool, dry spaghetti or cotton wool for hair) and cut out eyes, mouths and other facial features from the magazine. 

Learning opportunities include fine motor skills (cutting, sticking, threading) as well as cognitive and verbal skills

Paper planes

Paper planes may be as old as time, but the joy kids that get from them will never go out of fashion!  All you need is some paper, some crayons (for decorating their plane) and some open space in your garden or in the park for the airborne activation!  It’s a great way for young children to practise their construction skills and expend some energy chasing after their winged wonders!  (Note to adults: it’s a good idea to try out some designs ahead of time to ascertain which ones work best).  You can also change up this activity and get the kids to design boats using paper or card - and then try them out in the pool, pond or tub of water.

Learning opportunities include fine and gross motor skills, maths skills like measurement and symmetry, problem solving

Obstacle course

Set up an obstacle course in your backyard or in the park.  You can use ordinary items like a box (for climbing over), a piece of wood (for balancing on), a piece of fabric connected to the ground using tent poles (for crawling under), balls and a tub for a throwing activity … the choices are endless. 

Learning opportunities include physical development, problem solving and taking turns

Chalk hopscotch

Mark out a hopscotch grid on your driveway and get the kids hopping and jumping for joy.

Learning opportunities include gross motor skills, counting, co-ordination, taking turns

Outdoor ‘ten pin bowling’

All you need for this are some empty aluminium cans or plastic containers (empty 2 litre cold drink bottles are ideal) with a little sand in the bottom to stabilise them if need be.  Kids can then take turns throwing or rolling a ball at the cans or bottles, trying to knock them over.

Learning opportunities include maths skills (counting the number of fallen tins etc), physical skills, dexterity, sharing and teamwork.

Frozen Lego

Put bits of Lego into a couple of ice trays, fill them with water and freeze.  Once frozen, put them all into a tub on the lawn and get the kids to take turns fishing out an ice cube (either using a net or a pair of tongs).  Once they’ve each had turns to accumulate a number of cubes, they can wait until the ice melts and then make something fun with the bits they’ve collected before describing their construction to the other children.

Learning opportunities include fine motor, language and communication, science (why ice turns to water etc).

Create an outdoor kitchen

Find a space where kids are free to get wet and play with mud where you can set up an outdoor ‘kitchen’.  Find a couple of plastic containers, wooden spoons, whisks, pots, a sieve, a box for an oven etc and then get them to bake something or make their favourite dish.  They can use water to mix sand into a paste, mould mud pies, make a soup with bits collected from the garden etc and once they’ve ‘cooked’ their dish, they can have a ‘pretend’ meal together.

Learning opportunities include dramatic play, language and communication, collaboration, science (what happens when water is added to sand etc).

A last word on summer fun with young kids

Play-based learning is the very best way for children to discover the world, identify their areas of interest and develop their skills.  And when summer’s here, there’s no better place than the great outdoors to get their creative juices flowing and you can learn why in this article entitled why outdoor education matters in early childhood.

We know that children are naturally inquisitive and capable of constructing their own learning (these are among the guiding philosophies of our Reggio Emilia-inspired childcare centres in Clayton and Albert Park) and they’re masters of ingenuity when it comes to playing games.  However, as collaborators in their learning journey, our role as adults is to support and encourage (and of course, participate when appropriate!) 

By introducing some of the above activities during the summer season and joining in the fun, you can be sure your young children will be having heaps of fun whilst learning and developing valuable skills along the way.

If you’d like more ideas or want to chat about our Evoke Early Learning centres in Clayton and Albert Park, you are most welcome to get in touch or book a tour.  We’d love to meet you and your little one.

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