Epic Kids Summer 2022 – 7 Theme Weeks

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Summer vacation is upon us and if you’re anything like me, you might be wondering what to do with your kids while school isn’t in session. Having over two months at home with my toddler and preschooler seemed daunting, so I came up with a plan to take advantage of all that extra free time. Have an epic kids summer 2022 with these 7 theme weeks!

Theme Weeks

It is so important to allow kids to play. It’s essential for their development and overall well being. I also want to make sure they’re not losing essential academic skills learned in the past year at school. 

Enter theme weeks. A plan for play while also weaving in activities that will reinforce everything that I’m hoping isn’t lost over the summer break.  For my preschooler, that includes letter and number recognition, shapes, letter sounds, handwriting, personal information, counting – to name a few! 

I’m basing our theme weeks on my boys’ interests and building in “field trips”, crafts, and lots of time for outside play. We will be going to our local seacoast libraries each week and weaving in music, stories, and rhymes – all great ways to support literacy in our kids. Each week will end with a special Friday night movie and homemade snacks

Does this sound too ambitious? Maybe it is! But I’m going to try my best, keeping in mind that “bored” time is also really beneficial for children. However, having a plan for the open ended weeks is also going to give me – and my boys – that structure that I know is also really helpful. The reinforced skills will be an added bonus. If you’re looking for summer ideas, here’s what I will be doing with my kids over the next few months. 

Week 1 – Zoo Animals 

Library Book Suggestions – Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, Curious George Visits the Zoo by Margret & H.A.Rey’s, Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, and Kids Wild Animal Atlas by National Geographic Kids.

Play – Build your own zoo with toy animals and play Monkey See Monkey Do (a copy game).

Craft – Make a paper plate zoo animal.

Songs and Rhymes – “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”, “Animal Sounds”, and “Let’s Go to the Zoo”.

Extra Literacy – Create your own letter animals.

Extra Math – Try an animal sort using toys or printed pictures to sort by shape, color, size, number, and amount.

Field Trip – Spend the day at York’s Wild Animal Kingdom

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – Madagascar, The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Zootopia, and Happy Feet.

Zoo themed books we will be reading during the first week.

Week 2 – Fairy Tales and Fables

Library Book Suggestions – The Gingerbread Man by Paul Gadone, Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg, The Three Little Pigs by Paul Gadone, Forgotten Fairy Tales of Kindness and Courage by Usborne Books, and Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls by Usborne Books.

Play – Teach your kids how to play the Candy Land board game. 

Craft – Bake and decorate homemade gingerbread, or plant your own beans.

Songs and Rhymes – Tons and tons to pick from! We will be singing along to “Friend Like Me”, “Let it Go”, and “Be Our Guest”.

Extra Literacy – Put on a puppet show based on your favorite tales.

Extra Math – Read the story of Hansel and Gretel and then create your own patterns using your kids’ favorite sweet treats.  

Field Trip – Hike the Winnie the Pooh Trail or follow the story walk at Mount Agamenticus. If you feel like venturing farther away, a trip to Story Land would be perfect for this week!

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – Aladdin, Frozen, and Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin

Additional books to use for the fairy tale and fables week.

Week 3 – Bugs and Frogs 

Library Book Suggestions – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog! by Lucille Colandro, Bugs A to Z by Caroline Lawton. 

Play – Show your kids how to play leap frog and go on an outside bug and frog hunt.

Craft – Get creative and make a bug hotel.

Songs and Rhymes – “Five Little Speckled Frogs”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and “The Ants Go Marching”.

Extra Literacy – Have your kids write their own fiction or nonfiction story about bugs and frogs. Give them a hand if they need some help and then encourage them to draw pictures.  

Extra Math – Help your child count ladybug spots.

Field Trip – Visit the Great Bay Discovery Center

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – The Princess and the Frog, A Bug’s Life, and Antz.

Books about bugs your kids are sure to enjoy.

Week 4 – Ocean 

Library Book Suggestions – The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, Look Inside Seas and Oceans by Usborne Books, and The Brave Little Crab by Beth Costanzo. 

Play – Create a sensory bin using water beads and treasures collected from the beach for your kids to explore.

Craft – Make an ocean themed snow globe. 

Songs and Rhymes – “Baby Shark”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Down by the Bay”, and “Under the Sea”. 

Extra Literacy – Round up your favorite books about the sea and have a book picnic.

Extra Math – Graph multicolored goldfish crackers to see who has the most and the least of each color. 

Field Trip – Explore the Seacoast Science Center or any of the beautiful Seacoast beaches. 

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – Finding Nemo, A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, and The Little Mermaid

We will be reading these ocean themed books during our book picnic.

Week 5 – Dinosaurs

Library Book Suggestions – How to Catch a Dinosaur by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton, Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs by National Geographic Kids, and Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.

Play – Have your kids play Pin the Tail on the Dinosaur. If you don’t want to buy the game, make your own!

Craft – Create dinosaurs out of clay and then paint them if needed.

Songs and Rhymes – “We are the Dinosaurs” and “Dinosaur Pet”.

Extra Literacy – Have your kids “dig” for dinosaur letters.

Extra Math – Help your kids measure ingredients and make a dinosaur cake, or work on sizing up dinosaurs

Field Trip – Visit the New Hampshire Children’s Museum and check out the dinosaur exhibit.

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – Dino Dana: The Movie, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, LEGO Jurassic World, The Good Dinosaur, Dinosaur Train on PBS, and The Land Before Time.  

Books to read during the dinosaur theme week.

Week 6 – Farm Animals 

Library Book Suggestions – On the Farm Shine-A-Light by Usborne Books, Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, and Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.

Play – Show your kids how to play Farmer May I and Duck Duck Goose. If you have pretend farm animals at home, help them create their very own farm. 

Craft – Make your own little red barn, or talk about the all the different places on a farm and create your own map.

Songs and Rhymes – “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, “Ba Ba Black Sheep”, and “This Little Piggy”.

Extra Literacy – Gather a few farm themed items (toy animals, a small shovel, farm food) and create letter cards to match the first letter of each word.  Help your child match the item to the correct letter card – a great review of letter recognition and sounds.

Extra Math – Set up a pretend farm stand and have your kids “buy” and “sell” their products. 

Field Trip – Take a trip to Tendercrop Farm (adorable animals and a great farm store!) or any of the wonderful Seacoast farms.

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Babe, Homeward Bound, and Curious George: Go West, Go Wild

You can’t go wrong with any of these farm themed books!

Week 7 – Games 

Library Book Suggestions – Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Pete the Cat: Go, Pete, Go! by James Dean, I Spy Winter Olympic Games by Foxes Publishing, and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.

Play – So many great options like Red Light Green Light, Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, soccer, tennis, Sequence for Kids, Pop the Pig, and Don’t Spill the Beans. The list can go on and on!

Craft – Help your kids make a Senses Spinner Game.

Songs and Rhymes –The Floor is Lava”, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, and “The Dance and Freeze Song”. 

Extra Literacy – Create the Letter Egg Hunt Game for your kids.

Extra Math – Play Hopscotch together and have your kids draw the board with chalk. 

Field Trip – Check out Planet Playground in Exeter, or any of the wonderful seacoast playgrounds

Friday Night Movie Suggestions – The Mighty Ducks and the Air Bud movies.

How are you keeping your kids busy this summer? Let us know! 

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I’m a Maine native and after a long stretch of time living in Chicago, I feel lucky to again call the Seacoast my home. I currently live in Kennebunk with my husband, two sons, and a spaniel mix who truly believes he is a furry big brother to our boys. I hold a Master of Education degree from the University of Maine and as a certified English and Special Education teacher, a passion of mine has always been helping students and connecting them to reading and writing. Free time is best spent in the sunshine with family and friends, curled up with a good book, eating my husband’s incredible cooking, running the beautiful roads of the Maine and New Hampshire coastlines, or creatively writing for the kids in my life. Being a mom is the most challenging and amazing job I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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