Officrèche Blog

Themes for summer learning

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If your child will not be attending nursery/ preschool over the summer, chances are you’re thinking of ways to entertain them over the summer. If that’s the case, hopefully these ideas will help you! You don’t need to be too prescriptive- child led play and learning is definitely the way to go. But it doesn’t hurt to have a few ideas up your sleeve to help inspire the fun this summer. So here are five themes for summer learning that we’re sure your little one will love!

Themes for summer

The seaside

Summer is the perfect time to study the seaside, and if you live near to a beach even better! If not, try to plan a visit to the seaside if you can, or to the nearest aquarium if possible. If visits aren’t an option though, there are still plenty of ways that you can enhance this theme for your little ones. Some play ideas that you can try:

  • Create a small world beach scene with play sand and water. Pop in some people, a few shells and some stones and let your little one’s imagination fly!
  • Make some sand dough. We saw this on Mama Papa Bubba and thought it looked like great fun! Simply mix sand to your usual play dough mix and enjoy!
  • Make some fishy crafts. We love this idea on Pinterest and if you search for seaside crafts there are lot of ideas that come up. Get creative!


All kids are interested in space at some point or another, so why not make the most of that this summer? Lighter evenings mean that you can set a night to go out and look at the stars- a real treat when early mornings are not a necessity the next day! Other ideas for space related play and learning include:

  • We absolutely love this foot print rocket from Fun Handprint Art. So simple and so effective!
  • Make a solar system. One for older kids maybe, but if you help where it’s needed there’s no reason why preschool age children can’t do this too. Use polystyrene balls and decorate them in fun colours, then turn to the internet to research the order of the planets and hang them correctly. Alternatively, we love this solar system glitter jar that we found on Red Ted Art-how lovely is that?
  • Space themed sensory play- this is a super idea from Growing a Jeweled Rose. Check out the post to see how it’s done.


Summer is perfect for bugs! There are lots of them around this time of year, and hopefully the weather will be nice enough to spend longer periods outside searching for them! Invest in a magnifying glass (these can be picked up fairly cheaply in pound shops) and a small basket to collect leaves, twigs etc. Some other ideas for play and learning include:

  • Sensory play- Playful Learners have a lovely activity with waterbeads that you can set up for your little ones. Looks great fun!
  • Go on a mini beast scavenger hunt. Make a visual list for your little ones to tick off as they find them, using magnifying glasses to identify them. Talk about how many legs the bugs have, what colour they are etc.
  • Hatch some butterflies. You can buy kits online; a wonderful way to teach life cycles to young children.
  • Make a bug hotel! The Nurture Store has a wonderful tutorial for this- well worth a try this summer!


We’ve already written about lots of dinosaur themed ideas for play and learning- see this post. As it’s such a popular idea we thought it was well worth another mention! If you get chance,  try to get to a museum to see some real dinosaur bones too.


Summer is also perfect for learning more about gardening too! We posted about the benefits of gardening with kids here, and other ideas for this summer include:

  • Visit a garden centre. Kids love to browse plants and flowers, and you can even bring home one or two small treats too. Perfect for the odd cloudy day this summer.
  • Press flowers and use them to make collages, cards or pictures.
  • Make a fairy garden. There’s a great post about this here.
  • Make a play dough garden centre. We LOVE this idea from The Imagination Tree. Perfect for summer!

What will you be up to with the kids this summer?

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