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Child's Play
....sharing information & ideas!


Summer Fun for Kids

Crafts & Activities
Songs, Finger Plays & Nursery Rhymes

Also see Science Theme for some great science experiments for the kids!

Crafts & Activities

grdcl1j.gifFence Weaving:
If you have a chain link or picket fence give the kids strips of crepe paper, long strips of fabric or plastic and let them "weave" it through the spaces in the fence.

grdcl1j.gifFun in the Sun
You will need:

  • one piece of dark blue construction paper for each child
  • a collection of objects from around the daycare or home that have at least one flat side.  For example: keys, blocks, scissors, combs, jar lids (at least 5 items per child)
  • Take all your materials outside to a flat space that receives direct sunlight and where you will be able to leave your experiment set up for a few hours.

    Give a piece of construction paper to each child.  Let each child chose five objects, and have them arrange them on the paper with the flat side down.  Leave these in the direct sun for several hours, until the sun has bleached the exposed areas of the paper.  Then let the children take their objects off the paper, noting the patterns produced by the sun.

    grdcl1j.gifMake your own Sand Garden
    Make your own Sand Garden.  Decorate it with unusual stones, or press  objects into the sand for interesting creative effects.

    What you will need:
    large baking pan
    heavy cardboard

    Fill the pan almost to the top with sand.  Add enough water to dampen the sand.  Cut out rectangular pieces of cardboard.  Cut an interesting design on the edge of each piece of cardboard - very the designs using wavy, zig zag, or straight cuts.  Move the cardboard "comb" over the top of the sand to make patterns.  You can also draw lines  and circles into the sand with twigs, plastic spoons or craft sticks.  Also use plastic containers, cookie cutters, or other objects to press into the sand.

    grdcl1j.gifBeach Bag Guessing Game
    As well as a fun game for the kids..this game develops sensory awareness, memory and listening skills.

    Collect summer props such as sunglasses, swimming masks, swim fins, pail and shovel, bathing cap, hat and visor, sunscreen lotion, etc.  Identify the items with the children and discuss their uses.

    Reach and Feel:

    Place five or six articles in a beach bag, ask one child to come up close, close her eyes, reach into the bag, grab an item, and guess what it is (without lifting the object out of the bag). After child hs guessed remove the item to confirm the child's guess.


    Put some of the items in the bag.  How many of the items can the children recall?  Take out each item as the children name it.  For any items the children cannot recall, give them a clue and see if they can guess correctly.

    grdcl1j.gifSummer Sand Painting
    Mix sand with dry tempera paint by shaking thw two together in bags. Vary the colors by adding more or less of the dry tempera paint. Pour the colored sand into small containers or jars (baby food jars work great!) with holes punched in the lids, one color per jar. Have the children draw squiggly lines, designs,ect. with glue on construction peper or inside the lids of shoe boxes. Encourage the children to be creative with the different colors of sand. Let the sand paintings dry. Shake off the excess sand, and there you have an original summer sand painting!

    grdcl1j.gifOdds n Ends Wind Chime
    You can use a hoop or a stick to suspend any old things that ping, clink or clack!  Use monofilament fishing line to suspend the items. Don't make the lines too long or they will tangle easily. Juice can lids that come off smoothly can have holes punched in them with nails, and strung up. Nails, washers, shells, copper pipes of various lengths can be used. If you find a pretty feather or leaf in the yard or while out for a walk, tie it on and watch it flutter!

    1 cup play sand 
    1/2 cup cornstarch 
    3/4 cup hot water 
    Sand mold (choose mold with nautical theme) 

    Mix all ingredients into a pan. Cook slowly, stirring constantly until very thick. Cool mixture. Form objects using cooking cutters with nautical shapes or sand molds. Let dry in the sun and overnight (12 hours approximately). You might even think of having children paint them when they are dry. 

    grdcl1j.gifBall in the Bucket
    Outdoor fun!  Fill a bucket with water.  Give each child a ball and let them practice throwing it into a bucket.  Take turns and stand back!  The splashes will reward the children's accurate throws.

    grdcl1j.gifShadow Play
    Stand outside on a sunny day and let the children make a shadow!  Ask questions such as:  "Can we make our shadows bigger? Can we make them smaller?  Can we make our shadows run? Can we make our shadows hop? Let's see if we can catch our shadows!"

    grdcl1j.gifFunnel Catch
    This activity is incredibly easy to do and the result is a toy that your child will be able to play with for hours.  Cut the bottom out two clean plastic milk jug (one for a friend).  The milk jug makes a perfect funnel.  Simply toss the ball to the child and let her catch it in the funnel.  Or have your child toss the ball back and forth with a friend!  Using the funnel like a baseball mitt, you can make up all sorts of games.

    grdcl1j.gifBubble Cups
    You will need a styrofoam drinking cup, a straw, a square of old towel, an elastic band, and bubble solution. Dampen the towel with bubble solution and wring it out. Attach it over the top of the cup, and secure it with the elastic. Make sure that the top is completely covered. Punch a hole into the side of the cup - just large enough for the straw to fit in tightly - making sure there is no air space around the straw. Dip the towel top into a shallow pan of bubble mix and scrape off the excess. Blow into the straw and a long stream of bubbles will come out. Put the children's name on the cup and use them over and over again

    grdcl1j.gifCool Visors
    paper plate
    construction paper shapes
    stamps or paint
    coated elastic

    Cut a visor shape out of the paper plate for each child.  Let them decorate their visor.  Staple a coated elastic at each corner of the visor after it is decorated.  Oh so cool!

    grdcl1j.gifFence Mural
    If you have a solid fence (or side of garage or house) - staple the largest sheet of paper you can find (at least the child's height) and give a variety of art materials to work with.  This a great idea for anyone who wants to avoid indoor painting due to the mess.

    Or just give them a bucket of water and a big fat paintbrush!  Let them paint the house, the fence, or whatever their little heart desires!!

    grdcl1j.gifHow does the Garden Grow?
    Many fruit seeds and vegetable cuttings will sprout easily indoors. 

    Fruit/Vegetable Ideas: whole ear of corn, potato "eyes" (any kind of potato), carrot tops, peas, beans, seeds from various fruit - peach, plum,

    Place fruit seeds or vegie cuttings in a shallow pan lined with paper towels and enough water to just cover the seed or vegetable cuttings.  Place pan in a warm, bright area and  watch and record the changes over the next few days/weeks. 

    grdcl1j.gifOther Planting Ideas:
    In egg cartons with planting soil - grass seed, mustard seed, watercress or herbs.  They are fast growing and fun to sample when grown!! 

    Pineapple -  cut off the top and trim three rows of bottom leaves. Allow to dry for three days. Plant one inch deep in soil, keep moist and in a sunny location. 

    Onion - find an onion that is already sprouted.  Plant in soil -  keep moins and in a sunny location. 

    grdcl1j.gif"Hair" Cups!
    Plant grass seed or herbs in styrofoam cups.  Have the kids draw faces on the front of the the seeds grow - their cup will grow hair!!  They can experiment with childproof scissors and give their cup a hair cut!! 

    grdcl1j.gifColorful Celery
    celery stalk, jar or glass, water, food coloring 
    Cut a few slits in the bottom of the celery stalk.   Fill the jar or glass about 1/2 full of water and add food coloring (darker colors work best - red, blue).  Place the celery stalk in the colored water and watch for changes.  Record the changes daily.   Try using a celery stalk with leaves or white carnations!! 

    grdcl1j.gifMelting Colors
    A wonderful visual experience of color changes. Make red, yellow and blue ice cubes using food coloring and water. Place one red and yellow; one red and blue; and one yellow and blue, and  one of each color in separate ziploc bags. Place them in the science area and as the colored ice cubes melt they will create new colors. The kids will be busy going back and forth to check on what is happening!  Put colorful tags on each bag for the kids to identify what colors were originally placed in the bags - and talk about what color they made! 

    grdcl1j.gifSummer Rainy Day Picnic
    Can't go outside?  Then bring the indoors in!  Have a picnic in the living room, with beach blankets, sunglasses, drink juice from funny straws - don't forget the ants (plastic ones, of course!).  Play some beach party music (Beach Boys) and dance the blues away!

    Songs, Fingerplays & Nursery Rhymes

    grdcl1j.gifRow, Row, Row Your Boat
    Row, row, row your boat 
    Gently down the stream. 
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, 
    Life is but a dream! 

    grdcl1j.gifMr. Sun
       From Raffi's Singable Songs for The Very Young 
    Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun
    Please shine down on me. 
    Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun, 
    Hiding behind a tree. 
    These little children are asking you. 
    To please come out so we can play with you. 
    Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun, 
    Please shine down on me. 

    Great on a rainy day.  The word "sun" can also be replaced with "moon" to sing a song to Mr. Moon! 


    grdcl1j.gifGraham Cracker Sandwiches 
    Mash 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1 large or 2 small very ripe bananas with a fork. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and mash again. Spread on one graham cracker square and top with the other for a fun treat.  You can also use this as a dip with teddy bear shaped graham crackers.

    grdcl1j.gifBugs and Dirt 

    Chocolate Graham Crackers 
    Chocolate Sprinkles - Ants 
    Gummy Worms 
    Raisins - Beetles 

    Crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin. Place into a bowl then add the ants, beetles and worms to the "dirt". Place the bowl in the middle of the table  with a clean sand shovel and let each child scoop up a cup of dirt and bugs. You can let them eat with their hands or spoons. 

    This is also great for outside at the picnic table, using small paper cups or plastic bags for their treats. The real backyard critters will help clean up the mess on the grass! 

    grdcl1j.gifSnake Hot Dogs 

    1 Hot dog weiner 
    1 Hot dog bun 

    Take hot dog weiner and make horizontal slits (that go a little more than halfway through the hot dog) down half the length of the hot dog. For the other half of the hot dog do the same thing but make the slits on the opposite side. When boiled (or microwave) the hot dog will twist like a snake. Serve on a hot dog bun with chili or cheese if desired.

    grdcl1j.gifTuna Sandwiches 

    1 can tuna, drained 
    1 small can crushed pineapple 
    1/2 cup raisins 
    3 small chopped sweet pickles 
    1 stick celery, chopped 
    3 Tbsp. mayonnaise 

    Mix all ingredients and spread on raisin bread or white bread. 

    grdcl1j.gifGrape Apple Pops - Makes 9 

    1/2 (12 oz) can (3/4 cup) frozen grape juice concentrate, thawed 
    23 oz Jar MOTTS Chunky Apple Sauce 
    9 (3 oz) cold drink cups 
    9 wooden popsicle sticks 

    In medium bowl, combine juice concentrate and apple sauce; blend well. Fill each cup with about 1/3 cup juice mixture. Place cups in freezer until partially frozen, about 1 hour. Insert sticks; freeze until firm, about 2 hours. To serve, remove drink cups by dipping cup into warm water for a few seconds.

    grdcl1j.gifKid Kabobs 

    cooked ham or chicken 
    cheddar cheese chunks
    pineapple chunks

    Cut ham, cheese and pineapple into bite-size chunks. Put one piece of each on a pretzel.

    grdcl1j.gifWatermelon Slurps 

    Fresh watermelon 
    Plastic drinking straws 
    Zip-lock baggies 
    Serrated plastic knives 
    Knife for adult use only (for cutting watermelon) 

    An adult cuts the chilled watermelon into one-inch chunks. Adult (with help from children) carefully removes seeds. Children can help cut with plastic knives. Place seedless chunks of chilled watermelon into zip-lock bags. Close all but one small corner of the bag. Insert the plastic straw into the open corner and push it down to the bottom of the bag. Children can now squish the watermelon chunks and sip the juice through the straw.


    *Beary* special thanks to
    for the wonderful graphics for this page.

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