25+ summer activities for you and your preschool student

Congratulations on making it to the last weeks of school! You may already be looking at your preschool student and thinking, “What are we going to do with some of our time together?”

There are many fun ways that you can build upon learning that has happened during the school year. Here are a few suggestions.


Reading together is one of the best ways to prepare your child for the year ahead. We want to instill a love of story and language.

Some of our favorite authors/illustrators:

  • Eric Carle
  • Donald Crews
  • Tomie dePaola
  • Lois Ehlert
  • Kevin Henkes
  • Rachel Isadora
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Mo Willems



Here are some of the rhymes that we use at school. Ask your child to show you the hand motions.

Two Little Blackbirds
Two Little Blackbirds
Sitting on a hill
One named Jack
One named Jill
Fly away Jack
Fly away Jill
Come back Jack
Come back Jill

Jack Be Nimble
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over
The candlestick

Little Miss Muffet
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away

Five Little Monkeys
Five little monkeys
Swinging in a tree
Teasing Mr. Alligator,
“You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Alligator
Quiet as could be
And he snapped that monkey
Out of that tree
(continue on with 4, 3, 2, 1)

I’m a Little Teapot
I’m a little teapot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout!
Just tip me over, and pour me out.

Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush
Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.
This is the way you (fill in the blank with a morning activity like…) wash your face,
Wash your face, wash your face.
This is the way you wash your face
So early in the morning.
(Add more verses!)

Grand Old Duke of York
The grand, old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up the the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
The were neither up nor down.



Children need nature and nature needs children.

Camera activity:  Go for a walk and look for something to take a picture of with your imaginary camera. Zoom in, find the right angle and pretend to take a picture. Or teach your child to use your actual camera and examine the nature images more closely at home after your outing.

Ten sounds:  Go for a walk. Along the way, find a place to sit down. Close your eyes and raise a finger for every new sound you hear until all your fingers are up. Can you identify the source of the sounds?

Dig at the beach in Hoboken by Maxwell Place or in the dirt anywhere.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Take a hike.

Want to know more about how nature benefits children and vice versa? Read Last Child in Woods by Richard Luov.


dramatic play

Preschool students love dramatic play.

Have a tea party. Or a feast. Or a birthday party for the teddy bear.

Have different cloths and hats available as impromptu costumes.

Transform a big box into something or use chairs, a table and sheets to build a special place in which children can play inside.

Dramatize a book or story.

Make shadows.

Visit theater in the parks. Stay as long as the children are interested.

tea party


Take a small sketchbook wherever you go and draw what you see or what you are imagining.

Have a variety of paper sizes, colors, shapes, and types available. Include Post-its, cards, and envelopes. Also try a variety of drawing materials–chalk, crayons, pencils and ballpoint pens, flair pens, colored pencils.

Paint a rock or a clay pot.

Use water to paint rocks and walls and sidewalks outside.

Cut with scissors for the fun of it. It doesn’t have to lead to a project. Same with tape! A roll of tape and some paper can keep a child busy for some time.

Experiment with watercolor pencils.

Make a collection of beautiful recycled or found objects and create a sculpture using glue.



Play with new words you encounter. Use them in different ways so that your child understands them in different contexts.

Find rhyming words or words that start with the same sound. Create nicknames for favorite stuffed animals or for each other that rhyme or start with the same letters.

Make up your own tongue twisters or build on some favorites like, “She sells seashells by the seashore.”

Notice words on traffic signs or street signs.


Look for patterns wherever you are and point them out. Start with simple A/B/A/B patterns, like a checkerboard. You can also find patterns in fabrics, tiles, nature, and music notes.

Count everything. Spoons in the drawer. The steps on the stairs. The blue things in the room, etc.

Set the table. Determine which items are needed and how many of each before you even start laying them out.

Compare objects. Which is bigger or smaller. Heavier or lighter. Wider or thinner. Taller or shorter.

Play with blocks.

Play board games and card games that practice counting spaces and strategy.

math counting


Make simple three-page books and have your child tell and illustrate a story with beginning, middle and end.

Have your child retell a favorite story. Write the words she says on different pages. Then let your child illustrate it and staple it together. Design a cover and put it on your bookshelf.

Fill a whole page with circles. Try using different colors. Try coloring them in. Then try straight lines, squares, zig-zagging lines and curves. These forms are a foundation for writing letters.

Begin a shared journal about something you and your child want to learn. Collect items. Label them. Then draw and write about them.

Write a play and then act it out. Be sure it has a beginning, middle and an end.

Send messages back and forth to each other by make a mailboxes for family members in your home. Send some drawings to a faraway friend or grandparent.

Play restaurant and let your child take orders using whatever marks or letters he wants.



We sing several times a day at school. Below are just a few songs. Your child will know many more. Ask them about their favorite song. Add instruments!

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider
Went up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider
Went up the spout again
(variations: the silly, silly spider,
great big hairy spider)

Down by the Bay

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
Did you ever see a
Bear combing his hair
Down by the bay
(variations: goose kissing a moose, llama wearing pajamas)

Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said,
“Quack, quack, quack”
And four little ducks came back
(continue with 4, 3, 2, 1, to 0)
So Mama duck went out one day,
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said,
“Quack! Quack! Quack!”
And five little ducks came back

This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine 3x
Let it shine 3x
All though the night
I’m going to let it shine 3x
Let it shine 3x
Everywhere I go
I’m going to let it shine 3x
Let it shine 3x

Deep and Wide

Deep and wide
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain flowing
Deep and wide
If I Were a Butterfly

If I were a butterfly I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings
And if I were a robin in a tree I’d thank you Lord that I could sing
And if I were a fish in the sea
I’d wiggle my tail and giggle with glee, but I just thank you Father
For making me, me

For you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you Father for making me, me

If I were an elephant I’d thank you Lord by raising my trunk
And if I were a kangaroo you know I’d hop right up to you
And if I were an octopus I’d
Thank you Lord for my fine looks
But I just thank you Father
For making me, me

If I were a wiggly worm I’d thank
You Lord that I could squirm
And if I were a fuzzy, wuzzy bear
I’d thank you for my fuzzy wuzzy hair

And if I were a crocodile I’d thank you Lord for my big smile
But I just thank you Father
For making me, me
Have a great summer!


Emily Sytsma

EMILY SYTSMA Coleman Fung Chair for Creativity and Design; Early Childhood Director

Ms. Sytsma has been learning alongside Mustard Seed students for over 15 years. She is also the parent of two Mustard Seed students.