Having 3 boys I always need a good list of fun and engaging preschool activities for summer. We actually love the warm weather and spend a great majority of it outside so summer activities usually mean sun and water for us. However, we still do lots of arts and crafts but I try to do as much of that outside as possible. Anyways if you’re looking to keep your preschoolers away from the screen and off the couch here are some great ideas for you to do that.
Create an Obstacle Course
You do need a bit of a backyard to do this but if you don’t have one and really like this idea then you can always set it up at the park. Now you probably think about climbing a wall, jumping through tires and swinging over mud when you think obstacle course, however, for a preschooler and someone on a limited budget this is not going to work well. Instead we lay down some hula hoops that they jump through. Then we have a 4 ft length of a 2×4 that they have to walk across but can’t touch the ground. Next we bought about 4 or 5 pool noodles from the dollar store and we line those up and the kids have to jump over the noodle, sometimes we make it harder by putting two noodles together. Then we have these half-squares that stick into the ground that the kids have to crawl under, I can’t remember where we bought these but you could easily make them with PVC piping and connectors or a friend of ours glued wooden stakes to each end of a pool noodle to stake them into the ground. This is a great preschool summer activity because they stay active the whole time and they run around back and forth.
Make a Water Slide
If you have a slide and either a pool, slip-n-slide or even a tarp then this will create HOURS of fun for your preschoolers this summer. We have both a slip-n-slide and a pool so we use whichever one I want to set up that day. If you are using the pool then place the pool under the slide, the pool needs to be large enough that there is about 2.5-3 feet of space after the bottom of the slide, otherwise the kids might crash into the side of the pool and get hurt (ask me how I know.) Then you will want to fill the pool up with at least 5-6 inches of water, don’t worry too much because the pool will be full before long. If using the slip-slide or tarp then anchor it under the slide and let the hose sit on it for 10-15 minutes to get it good and wet. Now get your kiddos in swim suits, place the hose at the top of the slide and let them go down. My boys LOVE this and will spend an entire afternoon with it. Oh and our slip and slide came with these inflatable riding boards, they fit perfectly on the slide so my boys will ride those down the slide a lot.
Ice Cube Treasures
Because my wife and I often use an ice cube or two in our drinks my kids have developed what is probably an unhealthy obsession for ice. Well, this activity allows them to not just make some noise in their cup with ice but really play and enjoy some cold ice cubes on a hot summer day. We have 4 ice cube trays with 10-12 slots, in each slot we place a small toy like a sticky hand, dinosaur, bouncy ball, etc. then we add water and allow them to freeze. Then we head outside and let the kids play with the ice as it melts. Sometimes we’ll let them dump the ice in the pool, or give them Rubbermaid’s to melt the ice in or just let them rub the ice against the driveway until it melts, either way the kids always have fun and when they get the toy they think they are just the luckiest little boy in the world. For a twist you can skip the toy and add a drop of food coloring to each cube. This is great to start teaching older toddlers how you can get different colors by mixing two together, by melting a red and blue in a container to get purple, or blue and yellow for green, etc.
This is probably one of my favorites and I think I enjoy it just as much if not more then my boys. First you will need some type of container, either a Rubbermaid, a small swimming pool, even an empty sandbox. We usually use an empty swimming pool, however, our friends use they’re turtle sandbox that is now empty because they built a bigger wooden sandbox. Then you will want to grate a bar or two of soap, I use the cheap stuff from Target, some people have had success with using dish soap, but I don’t think it works as well and only use it if I’m out of soap bars. Then let your kids help you unroll some toilet paper and rip into pieces, 2-4 squares or so. The recipe I found for this said to use about a roll and a half but with three boys we usually use 5-6 rolls instead. Now you put the toilet paper, the soap and about 10 cups of warm water into your container and slowly mush it together. You will keep adding warm water slowly until you get a muddy consistency, usually it takes about 7-8 more cups. Then my boys will use cups and plastic spoons to play with this ‘mud’ for hours. You can keep the mud for a couple weeks in a covered container but you may have to add a little water each time as it slowly dries out.