Summertime is Learning Time

Summer camp themes for preschoolers can be so much fun to create. Young children are filled with so much wonder, and they soak up everything like a sponge.

When creating camp themes, you need to keep in mind the developmental abilities of the children you are teaching. Crafts for two year olds will be much simpler than the ones the four year olds will be doing.

Parents at home can also use these summertime themes to make their own special “Mommy Camp” or “Daddy Camp” experience. Having a special themed activity to do each day will make the day go by so much faster.

When organizing activities for preschoolers, try to have one craft that is theme related and one snack that also ties into what you are doing. While the children have free play, have a CD of music that fit’s the theme of the week.

Here are some ideas for you to try.


Under the Sea

An “Under the Sea” theme for preschoolers lends itself to so many learning opportunities. Bring in seashells, starfish and sand for the kids to play with at the sand table. Have others seashells and a magnifying glass to let the kids explore the shells up close.

At the Play Doh table, use nautical shaped cookie cutters.

Songs that can be taught are “Three Little Fishies” and “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. You can have the CD from the Disney film playing in the background.

Serve Pepperidge Farm Goldfish or Stouffer’s Whale crackers as a snack, or make a trail mix that includes Goldfish or whales. Make cookies with fish cookie cutters and use chocolate chips for the eyes. Buy mini Swedish Fish to top ice cream that you serve.

Music Kids Will Adore

Little Mermaid
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The Little Mermaid was Disney's return to it's roots-making animated musicals for families to love and enjoy. Preschoolers can dance and sing to all of the songs that they know and love.

WIld West

Preschool Summer Camp ThemesCredit:

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips /

For this preschool camp theme, have miniature horses to come to camp and the kids can go horseback riding if they are brave enough. Give children straw cowboy hats and bandanas to wear so they feel like they are in the Wild West.

Cowboys and cowgirls can be made from an empty toilet paper tube, and a covered wagon can be made from an empty orange juice or milk carton. Fringed vests from brown grocery bags and painted to add a child‘s own personality. Sheriff badges can be cut and glued onto them with the child’s name written inside the star.

For a snack, bake some Cowboy Cookies. Teach the kids some cowboy songs like “Home on the Range” and “My Darling Clementine”. Read Mark Teague‘s How I Spent My Summer Vacation, to the children. They will love his delightful pictures and funny story.

A Children's Author You Need to Know

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Dragonfly Books)
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Wallace Bleff tells his class a the tale of what he did when he was out of school for summer. Mark Teague is an children's author whom I adore. I recommend this book and every one written by hi

Ice Cream

Ice cream is the perfect summertime treat, so it fits in well as a summer camp preschool theme. Of course one activity you will do is make your own ice cream! There are many ways to do this with children, such as making it in a coffee can or in a plastic bag. Have an assortment of toppings so you can have your own ice cream sundae bar.

For a craft, use different colored circles for the children to paste on top of a triangle to make a large ice cream cone. This fun activity teaches about shapes and colors. Another craft is to have the children fill a precut ice cream cone shape. For the cone, crumple brown issue paper or strips of brown paper and glue it on. For the ice cream, children glue cotton balls and then glue confetti for sprinkles.

Steve Metzger’s The Ice Cream King is a wonderful story to share with the children. You can sing “Do You Know the Ice Cream Man” to the tune of the “Muffin Man” song.

Use These Sticker for Art Projects

Make-Your-Own Sundae Stickers 75-pak
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What a great way to reward the kids at the end of the day or to use in an arts and crafts project. These themed ice cream stickers almost look yummy enough to eat.

Camping Theme Activties

Tents for KidsCredit:

There's nothing like the great outdoors!  You can go camping both indoors and out.  If you have access to a tent, you can set it up and tell stories while sitting inside.  Campfire song classics like "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" and "On Top of Spaghetti" can be taught that week and sung around a fake firs made up of brown paper "logs" and flames of red, yellow and orange taped to them.

For a craft, kids can go outside and collect nature items and glue them to paper.  Another use for these items is a sorting anc classifying activity.  Children can put them into piles of how they are alike by characeristics.

Of course,  you have to make the classic s'mores!  Instead of roasting marshmallows over a fire, which is dangerous, have children spread icing onto graham crackers and top it with chocolate icing.  Or else they can spread chocolate icing onto a marshmallow and sprinkle it with graham cracker crumbs.

These are just a few camp themes for preschoolers that parents and teachers can use for fun during the easy days of summer!