Lemonade, tank tops, and water play…summertime is here to stay! And that means it’s time for some extra fun summer themes for preschool. We’ve wrapped up all the best summer preschool themes in a set of free lesson plans.
It’s a fantastic start to summertime fun and will perfectly complement your sunny summer activities for preschool. If you’re looking for some summer lesson plans for preschool, you are certainly in the right place!
We have an exciting selection of summer activities that will keep your preschoolers learning and entertained all summer long. Here you’ll find loads of ideas for a summer preschool theme, including book lists, art and sensory ideas, plus some super fun and hands-on math and science activities. Get your free summer lesson plans for preschool at the end of this post!
Summer is full of reasons to celebrate! It’s time to welcome outdoor play, playing with friends, and sweet icy treats! This is also a perfect theme to kick-start learning about ocean life, seashells, or even travel.
Plus, we know that keeping little ones learning, busy, and cool during the summer months also means that it’s time for some new and easy summer learning ideas! Here are some great resources to make your summer theme a success!
FAQ About a Summer Preschool Theme
A summer theme is perfect for learning about the ocean and all the amazing aspects of sea life. Picnics and camping are also great seasonal themes that encourage children to explore the outdoors. The farmer’s market is full of fresh fruit and vegetables so don’t forget to learn about healthy foods and eating habits!
Children catch on quickly that summer is the hottest time of the year, and that the trees have lots of leaves and flowers are often still in bloom. Share that during the summer season the temperature stays warm even after the sun goes down at night, making it a great time of the year to swim, go to the beach or lake, and spend time outside.
It’s important to also explain that summer comes between spring and fall. Some climates experience noticeable differences between season changes, while other climates are less different. One big difference that most children notice is that the days are longer in the summer than during winter months.
Preschoolers love completing art projects, blowing bubbles, playing at the water table (or with ice), exploring nature, playing outside games, drawing with sidewalk chalk, experimenting in the kitchen, and performing science experiments! No matter the activity, soak up the summer sun or even the rain with loads of our fun ideas! Even taking your usual preschool activities (like circle time) outside can be perfect for summer.
Engaging Preschool Activities for a Summer Theme
Get ready for the sun with these fun summertime preschool theme ideas. Here are some popular hands-on activities to keep with your summer lesson plans.
Literacy Activities for a Summer Theme
Watermelon ABCs – Watermelon is the quintessential summer food! Kids love to eat it, and it’s even more fun to make playdough letters that look like watermelon! Using dried black beans and red playdough, get those little hands rolling and molding playdough into letters. Help your preschooler say the letter and make the letter sound. Build their watermelon name, then head into the kitchen for a tasty watermelon snack!
If you’re looking for an amazing homemake playdough recipe, this is our all time favorite!
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the story I See Summer by Charles Ghigna. After listening, discuss what other types of things we might see in the summer. Cut three pieces of paper in half and staple them together to make a book. Invite your preschooler to draw their ideas on each page with the text “I see _____”, just like the story. Assist them as needed and let them write any sounds they hear on the page. Then re-read your new I See Summer book together.
Fantastic Summer-Themed Picture Books!
One of the best ways to enhance your preschool summer theme is by hand-selecting the highest quality picture books! This is a book list for our best-loved picture books for a summer theme, and it’s been approved by top preschool teachers in the nation!
Math and Science Activities for a Summer Theme
Ice Cream Counting Mats – Using pom-poms with these ice cream counting mats is the perfect way to work on counting and reinforcing number skills! Don’t have a printer? Just add pom-poms to a small bowl and pretend.
Lemonade One More/One Less – Using red/pink buttons or counters, help your preschooler master this important skill. Start by counting the middle glass of lemonade, then decide what is one more and one less and count that number out. Or use three real plastic cups and add buttons or counters to determine one more/one less.
Make Ice Cream in a Bag – It may sound challenging, but with the right ingredients this experiment is quite tasty and exciting! It doesn’t take long, the process is simple enough for a preschooler to do, and the results are worth the effort. Infuse some science by learning that the salt lowers the melting point of the ice, resulting in frozen milk (or cream)! Follow the directions step-by-step here for a cool and refreshing summer treat.
The BEST Summer-Themed Toys!
One of the best ways to teach preschoolers about any theme is by hand-selecting the right manipulatives and toys to pair with the theme. Here are some things I pull out every year for some extra fun in the sun.
Playful Learning Activities for a Summer Theme
Estimation Jars – Grab some measuring cups and some clear cups or bowls of different sizes and widths. Pour a cup of water into one of the cups. Ask your preschooler to describe how full it is, then pour a cup of water into one of the bowls. Why don’t they look the same? Use other materials like noodles, pom-poms, or dried rice to estimate and observe the differences in shallow cups or deep bowls.
Legos in a Kiddie Pool – Who says you have to build inside? Bring out some Legos and lounge in the sun while building a Lego masterpiece. Watch them float, build a floating vessel, or a water tower that rules the pool. Time to get creative!
Summer Smoothies – Invite your preschooler to make a refreshing summer smoothie with all of their favorite fruits and vegetables. Encourage them to assist in the kitchen by cutting up the fruits and adding in the liquids. Now’s the time to try new varieties of fresh or frozen fruits )and vegetables too)!
Social-Emotional Learning for a Summer Theme
Tropical Island Memory Game – Memory games can be hard for little ones. They require concentration and focus as well as attention to detail and spatial awareness. Preschoolers can be hard on themselves when playing or give up easily. Using this tropical island game, encourage your preschooler to take a “picture” in their mind of where the card goes back if it’s not a match. Help them remember to pull up that picture in their mind when they’re trying to remember where that matching card is. Building this skill is great for perseverance as they get older and start to encounter academic and social challenges.
Working Together Makes Your Heart Happy – Go to YouTube and listen to the story Day at the Beach by Tom Booth. After listening, discuss with your preschooler about Gideon’s perseverance. After 6 attempts, many would give up! But Gideon kept on and finally found the perfect spot. And yet–after all that hard work–he seemed less excited than he thought he would be. Why? Sometimes having fun together is more important than perfection.
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Summer Theme
Camping Bingo Game – Everyone loves playing Bingo! This is a game that’s fun for everyone that you simply print and play. Camp outside as you play for a double dose of camping fun!
Summer Playdough Mats – Perfect for a playdough break, these mats are full of fun in the sun and have endless options. Ideal for a rainy day or a break from the heat, your preschoolers will love making playdough popsicles or toasted marshmallows!
Lemon Stamping – Save those lemons after you make lemonade! Once cut in half, dip the lemons in yellow paint and stamp on paper. Check out the cool details inside the lemon. Try new colors, too!
Ice/Water Play – Get cool on a hot day! Add ice to the water table or bucket and watch it melt. Use tongs and scoops, too! For color fun, dye the ice cubes with food dye and dump them into the table one color at a time. Watch as they melt. Time to add in a new color! What happens when you do?
Get Online Activities for a Summer Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the story The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. After listening, discuss with your preschooler what happens to the crocodile. Do you think that a watermelon could really grow in your belly? Why or why not? Feel free to draw a picture of what you think happens to the crocodile now that he has swallowed another seed!
Mister Sun Song – Summer is all about sunshine and long summer days, so learn this snappy sun song! Warning: it just might get stuck in your head!
Summer Brain Break Song – Enjoy this song when your preschooler needs to get some wiggles out and move! Follow along with the dancers and the silly lyrics!
Get Your FREE Summer Lesson Plans Here
Love these summer activities? Grab your free printable lesson plans with all these summer theme activities for preschoolers!
I’ve made a printable for you. Just fill out the form below and it will be sent to your inbox.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.