The first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere is usually around June 22nd when the sun is farthest north, this is known as summer solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere the first day of summer is around December 21st. This theme day can be done in any of the sunny months wherever you live.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Discuss with your children about summer around the world. Discuss how countries in the southern hemisphere have their summer while the Northern hemisphere has winter. When do you have summer?
Don Henley ‘s “Boys of Summer” immediately comes to mind or Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer.” Any of the Beach Boys tunes would work well, too. Find a summer song on your favourite music provider and dance around (even better if you can dance outside in the sun).
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Summer coloring pages” or print out my “Summer is Fun” Coloring Page and glue the finished product in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What is your favourite thing about summer? What do you like to do in the summer? What would you like to do this summer? What is summer to you? What is a summer memory that you have?
Choose the level of your child:
Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about summer.
Print out a Summer Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about summer.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about summer.
Go to the library on your own to find books about summer from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “summer” under “children’s books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these picture books:
· Summer Beat, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Charlotte Middleton, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007—A cute book about the sounds of summer.
· The Twelve Days of Summer, written by Elizabeth Lee O’Donnell an illustrated by Karen Lee Schmidt, Morrow Junior Books, 1991—We sung this book (about various things found in or near the ocean) out loud like The Twelve Days of Christmas carol (“On the first day of summer I saw down by the sea a little purple sea anemone “).
· Watermelon Day, by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Dale Gottlieb, Henry Holt and Company, 1996 – Bright illustrations adorn this book about a girl waiting for her watermelon to grow big enough for her family to have a watermelon day!
Beginner readers might enjoy these:
· The Summer Playground, by Carl Emerson and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, Picture Window Books, 2009—This one was in the science series and beside the easy reading story it offers little text boxes with little science notes .
This title is good for conjuring up ideas on what to do during the summer:
· Lazy Days of Summer, by Judy Young and illustrated by Kathy O’Malley, Sleeping Bear press, 2007 – Twelve different summer activities (like tag, kick the can, monkey in the middle) are highlighted first through poetry and then factual notes (both historical and instructional) along with great water color illustrations.
Here are some good nonfiction/learning titles if you can find them:
· Nature Projects for Every Season; Summer, by Phyllis S. Busch and illustrated by Megan Halsey, benchmark Books, 2000—This book includes such thins as recognizing poison ivy, cloud watching, and nature walks for outside plus a number of indoor experiments and activities, too.
· Natural Treasures: Field Guide for Kids, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Biesiot, Denver Museum of Natural history and Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1996 – This book is divided into the different seasons, so for this theme day flip to the summer section in the middle of the book. This would be a great book to take outside on a nature walk. It has symbols which tell you which clues to use (sight, sound, smell and clue to examine by hand) when searching for the various signs of summer (frogs, crayfish, cicadas, hummingbirds, spiders, bees, etc.).
· What Happens in summer?, by Sara L. Latta, Enslow elementary, 2006—This easy reading science book is great for introducing subjects like the tilt of the earth, pollination, the benefits of sunlight…
This one is a good poetry book:
· Lemonade Sun and Other Summer Poems, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Wordsong Boyds Mills Press, 1998—This book has thirty poems of various lengths all about various aspects of summer (lemonade, sunflowers, bumblebees, jump rope, being barefoot…).
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers with various summer things on them (the sun, beach balls, ice cream cones...), markers and crayons.
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the stickers.
ICE CREAM PICTURE:
Materials: Coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue-stick, face cloth for sticky fingers, markers or crayons (Optional).
Step 1: You child chooses the type (colour) of ice cream he/she wants in the picture and how many scoops of each type (colour).
Step 2: Help your child cut circles from the chosen paper to represent scoops of ice cream.
Step 3: Help your child cut a large triangle of yellow or brown paper for the ice cream cone.
Step 4: Let you child glue the cone and coloured scoops together to form an ice cream cone on the coloured paper of his/her choice.
Step 5: (Optional) Let your child draw details on the cone or toppings and sprinkles on the ice cream scoops.
Materials: Coloured paper, markers or crayons.
Step 1: Let your child choose the colour of paper he/she wants the fan to be.
Step 2: Let your child decorate the fan with markers and crayons.
Step 3: Show your child how to fold the paper like an accordion (over and under) to form a simple fan.
Step 4: Use the fan on hot days to cool off!
Give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them be creative on a different medium from paper.
Look for any summer related crafts at your local craft store, including foam sun visors to decorate, or summer themed foam stamps or stencils, or foam sticker kits.
Of course you can buy some delicious popsicles already made but it is also fun and very easy to make your own. There are many different recipes using juices, yogurt, puddings, Jell-O mixes, fruit purees...the possibilities are endless. For a simple easy freezy treat try this simple recipe:
Ingredients: 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup of white grape juice.
Step 1: Stir both juices together and pour into popsicle molds.
Step 2: Freeze for several hours then enjoy!
Ingredients: ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, lemons or 2 tbsp of lemon juice per glass, water and ice-cubes (a juice squeezer is a good thing to have, too).
Step 1: Put the sugar and the water in a small pot and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature or make before and put in the fridge to use when you and your child are ready to make lemonade).
Step 2: squeeze the lemons with a juicer or a fork to get 2 tablespoons of juice per glass.
Step 3: in a glass combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar syrup and ¾ cup of water.
Step 4: Have your child mix it gently with a spoon and then add ice cubes.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Garden Vegetables: If you have a garden, try some fresh veggies for a snack, or visit your local Farmers Market for some seasonal vegetables that make a crunchy summer snack.
Berries: Try a mix of fresh summer berries for a delicious snack.
Watermelon: This fruit always reminds me of summer.
Hot Dogs: Barbecued hot dogs make a tasty summer lunch for kids.
Picnic Wraps: Let your child pick his/her favourite sandwich toppings and wrap them in a tortilla, then wrap that in plastic wrap and you’re good to go for a picnic or some fun at the park or beach.
Barbecue: Anything cooked on a barbecue (like burgers or chicken) make a great summer dinner.
Serve some corn on the cob on the side for a seasonal vegetable.
Ice cream in a bag:
For something really different make your own ice-cream in a bag with this fun recipe: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/printrecipe?id=40986
Ice cream cones:
Make your own at home or go out to your favourite ice cream shop for an evening outing while the sun stays up late.
SUMMER NATURE WALK:
Go for a family walk around the block or head elsewhere to explore nature at a State or Provincial Park. Print out my Summer Nature Walk chart to record what you see, hear, smell, touch/feel while out exploring.
Look at the earth’s rotation and revolution: http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6h.html
Check out the 1983 Australian add reminding everyone to “Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAu5wCTEBt0&NR=1
FAMILY WISH LIST:
If you want, print out my Summer Family Wish List Page and then, together as a family, brainstorm ideas of things to do together during the summer, from the simple (walk to the park, buy an ice cream treat) to activities that require more planning (a picnic, a trip to the zoo, attending a festival, visiting a relative or friend far away). Place the list where everyone can see it (like on the fridge) and cross off things as you do them.
WHAT TO DO WHEN I AM BORED LIST:
While it is important to do things as a family it is equally important for children to learn to do things on their own and to feel comfortable doing things by themselves and learn to occupy themselves. To teach your child/children that they must entertain themselves during the summer help them to come up with a list of activities that they can do on their own.
Print out a copy of my What To Do When I’m Bored This Summer List and brainstorm with each child to come up with a number of activities they can do without a parent or a sibling around like read a book, play with puzzles (or any number of other toys), draw a picture, write a letter (to a friend or relative far away), etc..
Have your children decorate an empty jar with stickers. Print out my Summer Jar Printout with boredom buster ideas and cut out the ideas OR make up your own ideas (based on your children’s interests or neglected toys or local activities or pre-purchased craft kits or surprise backyard gifts like hula hoops). Fold the slips of paper and put them in the jar. When your kids complain about having nothing to do let them draw an idea from the jar. You can also use the ideas on your child’s list from the above activity as well.
I’ve updated this idea with many new activities. To read more about it and to access the new Printables check out this new webpage Summer Jar.
Make a summer soundtrack playlist for your MP3 player or burn your own CD with favourite music picks from every family member—Perfect for car trips or just for playing in your backyard or balcony on a hot day.
Dig out the summer gear and try some games in the sun like Frisbee, croquet, lawn bowling etc.
Go online to find a recipe for homemade bubble liquid or buy some at the dollar store and sit outside as a family bowing bubbles in the sun.
Q: What did the little bee say to the big bee in the summer?
A: It’s swarm here isn’t it?
Q: What did the summer say to the Spring?
A: “Help me! I’m going to Fall.”
Q: Why do dogs sit in the shade during the summer?
A: Because they don’t want to be hot dogs.
Q: What do you call a snowman with a tan?
A: A puddle.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows that take place in the summer.
For young children try this title:
· Elmo`s World: Summer Vacation, Sesame Workshop, 2008— Three episodes of Elmo`s World show the fuzzy red monster learn about the beach, skin and cameras.
· Kipper: fun in the Sun, HIT Entertainment, 2003—Seven little episodes about Kipper the dog and his friends as they embark on mini adventures in the outdoors.
Older kids might like this:
· Summer of the Monkeys
If you have a backyard and it’s a hot day hook up your sprinkler for a short time and have everyone race through it.
Purchase a small blow up wading pool to use in your back yard or on your apartment balcony.
Use the sidewalk chalk to play hopscotch together.
Young children may simply enjoy playing with a bucket of water and some rocks as my sons did.
Don’t forget sun screen!
Visit your local park or one further away and pack a picnic lunch or snacks and then play at a playground.
Visit your local outdoor (or indoor) pools or any parks with water features for some wet fun in the sun.
Ice Cream Pictures
Summer Sticker Collages
Watermelon is a summer treat.
Lemonade is perfect for a hot day.
Photo: C Wright
Make a Summer Jar and add slips of paper with ideas of boredom busters.