Fun in the Sun Summer Activities

Summer time offers us a great opportunity to take much of our learning outside and let children play and explore different materials with all their senses.
Grade, Age Range or Specialized Learner: Multi-age, Preschool/Pre-K, 3-5 year old
Target Learning Skill(s): Sensory Exploration
Everyone seems happier with a little more warmth and sunshine in their day. In addition, we are able to do activities that are not so easily accommodated indoors. This is especially true for sensory play. There are many messy activities that become less daunting when you are able to use hose to spray off the play area and the children. Below are a few of our favorite outdoor sensory activities.
Water Play
This is probably the most obvious of the summer time outdoor sensory experiences. Sprinklers, water tables, watering cans, empty containers of all variety and kitchen tools make for a fun way to cool off. If your preschool is licensed by your state make sure you know what your regulations are for water play, before setting up a splash day with your class.
Preschool Activities: 
Car Wash
Get out all of your bikes, trikes, scooters and other riding toys that have needed a good cleaning and let the children scrub away. Cutting an old towel into small squares is a great way to make several washing clothes. You can also provide scrub brushes or sponges. Buckets of water with dish soap mixed in will make for the perfect sudsy solution.
Preschool Activities: 
The best part is when the toys are ready for a rinse, have the children drive them under a garden hose with a sprayer nozzle attached. Another idea is to involve the parents of your children to create a drive through car wash made from PVC pipes, plastic streamers, and sponges.
Preschool Activities: 
A River Runs Through
Together with children form a river with foil. Add a water or use a water hose to make water flowing along the river. Children can use toy boats or other nature items to disover what floats the fastest down the river.
Preschool Activities: 
We found this lovely idea at
Rainy Summer Day - Natural Splash Day
Try to plan a splash day for a day when the temperature is warm and rain is forecasted (no lightening of course). The children will enjoy exploring the playground in bathing suits and rain drops. The slide becomes much more exciting when wet and slippery! Help the children look for puddles to jump and encourage them to find mud to explore. The rain will help clean the mud off, or you can hook up a garden hose to spray off what the rain misses.
Preschool Activities: 
Quick Sand
Fill dish tub sized containers with Oobleck (a mixture of equal parts corn starch and water that acts as both a liquid and solid). You will need roughly 1-2 boxes per container. Some grocery stores will let you order large quantities at a discount rate, or you can check with food service stores in your area for getting bigger containers of cornstarch. The children can take turns stepping into the containers and trying to stay standing on top of the mixture. If they move back and forth on the feet quickly they can stand on top, if they stand still too long they will slowly sink to the bottom. The Oobleck will dissolve with water for an easy clean up.
Body Painting
Children love painting, especially when they are able to paint things that are usually off limits. There are a few ways you can have body painting fun with your class. Before doing any method, make sure to inform for families ahead of time so they are able to send in older swimming suits or clothes they don’t mind getting wet and possibly stained.
Preschool Activities: 
The children will need to use sponges or their hands to get their skin a little wet.Then provide them with several colors of sidewalk chalk to color their legs, arms and faces. They can use the sponges to erase their creations are start again as desired.
Finger Paint
Finger paint has a great texture for squishing and smoothing on paper and it works just as well on skin. To help the paint wash off more easily, have the children rub a layer of mild dish soap or body wash over their skin before they begin painting.
Tempera Paint
Thin down some tempera paint with water and dish soap, then offer it to your children with paint brushes. Again the soap will help the paint wash off more easily and will make it less likely to stain the children’s bathing suits.
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DIY Paint
If you would prefer not to use your classroom art supplies for these activities you can make paint with a few common household items:
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
2 1⁄2 cups water
1 tbsp. dish soap
1⁄2 cup flour
1 tbsps. salt
Food coloring
Combine the flour, cornstarch and 1⁄2 cup water in a sauce pan until it forms a thick paste. Add in another cup of water and whisk over low-medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken. It will take a bit of time, just keep stirring and don’t give up! Once your mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in more water to your desired thickness (anywhere from 1⁄4 cup to 1 cup). Let the mixture cool and add in the dish soap. Divide and add food coloring as you wish.
Make sure you get in on the fun too! The children will remember the day they we able to paint their teacher for years to come!
Preschool Activities: 
Yes thats me :-)

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