For many, summer flies by too fast, but for parents with toddlers and preschoolers, it can seem like an eternity. Instead of counting the days until your little one goes back to daycare or preschool, why not plan some activities and crafts with a summer theme? They’re sure to shorten those long hours a bit and give you back a smidge of your sanity.
You don’t have to get sand on your shorts to enjoy a beach theme with your preschooler or toddler. String small shells together on lanyard and tie the ends to make a shell bracelet or necklace. Spread white glue on some construction paper and add colored sand, dried starfish or shells to make a beach collage. Or, make an ocean in a bottle by filling an empty soda bottle 3/4 of the way up with water and the rest with mineral oil. Add a few drops of blue food coloring, some small seashells and a few plastic fish. Seal the lid on with hot glue so you don’t spring a leak in the middle of your living room floor. Once the glue is cool, hand the ocean in a bottle over and let your child rock it back and forth to watch the ocean sway.
Grab your coconuts and grass skirt for a luau theme. Have your child dress up in some luau gear, such as a grass skirt, swimming suit or Hawaiian print shirt and shorts. Party stores are a great retail outlet to buy gear for themed parties. Throw on some tunes to get the party started. Anything really catchy your child likes will do if you can’t find any luau-themed music. Grab a few more people and start a game of limbo. If you thought you were limber as a child — well, your little one just might show you up, and limbo lower than you ever could! Finish this theme off with a fruit smoothie. Something along the lines of banana, pineapple, berry goodness, with a juice and yogurt base, unless any one has a dairy allergy. Don’t forget the little umbrellas, too.
Fun in the Sun
Most people look forward to summer so they can get out and have some fun in the sun. You might as well do some crafts and activities to go with that theme. Grab some sidewalk chalk and let your child draw to their hearts content. You can wash it off afterward, so don’t worry if she decorates the whole driveway. Make a hand print sun tracing her little hand four times on yellow construction paper and cut them out. Sponge paint a paper plate with yellow tempera paint and let it dry. Staple the hand prints to the paper plate and draw a face on your sun. For some messy, yet entertaining fun, cut some seedless watermelon up and have a race to see who can eat the watermelon the fastest without using their hands. You may want to do that outside. Finish the day by blowing bubbles in the park.
Under the Sea
Since the summer heat draws people to water, it’s a great time to discuss sea life. Read “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister to your child and then make your own rainbow fish. Cut a triangle pie slice out of a paper plate and staple in on the opposite side of the plate, with the little end stapled to the paper plate to make it’s fin. Glue some sequins all over the fish and let it dry before you hang it proudly on the fridge for all to see. No need to hop on a boat or endure the fishy smell of seaweed to go fishing. Cut several fish shapes out of construction paper, cut dime-sized sections out of a sticky-backed magnet strip and attach one section to each fish. Attach a magnet to some string and tie the other end of the string to a long dowel. Have you child try to catch some of these little fishies.