Ideas & Activities for Elementary Summer Programs
Many of us have to get creative when planning for summer camp & summer program activities for elementary aged youth, especially with regard to space & activity planning. Here are some tips for creating portable activities. Think of filling a milk crate with the things you need for an activity that you can take with you to the park, to the beach, the library or even the school yard.
While some of the resources are local, to Philadelphia, you get the gist and can search for similar places where you run your summer programs.
Let me know if you use any of the activities and how you make out with your portable classrooms. Send photos, too!
If you’re looking for items to create portable centers, check out these resources & ideas:
Local grocery stores – ask them for the empty milk crates- have staff decorate their own crate.
Create a donation center at your location NOW and ask families to bring in/donate items like: egg cartons, soda bottles, paper towel rolls that can be used for art/STEM project; or books they are no longer reading, even toys that could be pulled apart or reused.
Places to get items to fill those boxes:
Dollar Stores have a ton of items that are affordable
Habitat for Humanity ReStore http://www.habitatphiladelphia.org/restore
The ReSoure Exchange: http://www.theresourceexchange.org/
This is an oldie-but-goodie Oriental Traiding Company!: http://www.orientaltrading.com/
Flea markets are a fun place to look for items- and folks are often willing to barter.
Resources for Activities: A great website for STEM activities is called www.howtosmile.org. It’s also an APP so counselors and staff can access these activities right in the palm of their hand. The activities range from very little preparation, to lots and lots of preparation. Activities can be searched a wide range of ways including by: Age, group size, cost per activity, etc.
This website www.ultimatecampresource.com provides a ton of activities that are perfect for camp programs. There are printable worksheets and even videos of counselors singing camp songs.
The list below is from About.com and provides links to easy to use & fun summer activities for elementary school youth.
Science: Summer time is the perfect time to get students outside and explore! These activities will allow students to practice their exploration and observation skills in the great outdoors.
Teaching the Scientific Method with Bubbles
Mentos and Diet Soda Experiment
How to Make Colored Chalk
Caterpillar to Butterfly Lesson
Math: Math concepts is by giving students the opportunity to learn by using food. Use these math activities and lessons to teach your students math using a variety of of foods.
Trail Mix Math
Using Chocolate Bars to Teach Fractions
Art: While art projects are usually done inside thought out the school year, try making these crafts outdoors for a change of scenery. You will find a variety of easy to make crafts and projects for all ages.
A Collection of Flower Craft Projects
A Collection of Sun Visor Crafts
Language Arts: Summer school is the perfect time to let students use their imagination and explore their creativity. Use this time to have students practice writing poetry, use their descriptive writing skills and write in their journal.
Biography Poems Lesson Plan
Writing a Haiku Lesson
I Remember Poems
A Tongue-Twisting Language Arts Lesson
Journal Writing Prompts
The Unwritten Word Lesson Plan
Social Studies: To help your students continue to grow their knowledge in social studies, have them partake in variety of fun activities and lessons. Students will enjoy getting hands-on experience while learning about maps and other cultures in the following activities.
Topographic Maps Lesson Plan
Map Skills Lesson Plan
World Culture Activities
Geography for Kids
Summer Reading: A great way to kick off every morning in summer school is to have students begin the day with a good book. For elementary students in grades k-6 this usually means having the students choose a picture book. Use the following book lists to help you fill your classroom with age appropriate books your students will enjoy all summer long.
K-6 Summer Reading List
Notable Children’s Books
Summer Reading Resources for Kids
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Summer Printables: Summer isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Use these fun puzzles, word searches and coloring pages when the weather is just not cooperating outside.
At the Beach Word Search
Summer Crossword Puzzle
Summer Field Trips: It’s going to be hard for any child to stay motivated in summer school when all of their friends are outside playing. A great way to keep students engaged in learning is to take them on a field trip. Use these articles to help you plan a fun outing for your elementary school students.
Where to Find Summer Field Trip Ideas
Ten Things to Consider When Planning Summer Field Trips
How to Plan Fun Field Trips Online