12 Summer Themes for Preschool

Are you wondering what to do with your little learners during the summer months? Whether your classroom is busy with students in June, July, and August or you’re planning a special summer playtime for new classroom friends, here are some inviting and exciting summer themes for preschoolers to keep the fun and learning going during those sunny days.   

Little boy blowing bubbles and wearing sunglasses

Beach, Sand, and Seashells 

Even if your preschoolers aren’t visiting the beach this summer, you can bring the best of the beach to them. Set up a sensory bin with sand and seashells for tactile exploration, create beach-themed art using sandpaper or salt dough, or organize a dramatic play area with beach toys and towels for imaginative adventures by the "shore." Round out the fun by crafting these fun beach creature flip flops! 


Bubbles add an element of magic to summertime play and capture children's fascination with their colors and movements. Head outside for a bubble-blowing contest to see who can create the biggest or smallest bubble, set up bubble painting stations for unique art creations, or facilitate bubble-themed storytelling sessions where children can imagine themselves soaring through the air on a bubble.  

Here’s a great recipe for homemade bubble solution!  


Camping fosters a sense of adventure, outdoor appreciation, and provides opportunities for kids to connect with nature. Set up a camping-themed dramatic play area with tents, sleeping bags, and pretend campfires. Take the adventure outside by organizing nature walks to observe trees and flowers.   

Sports and Summer Olympics 

This theme encourages teamwork and friendly competition and works on gross motor development and social skills. Play games like relay races and obstacle courses, create   Olympic-inspired crafts such as gold medals or torches, and introduce students to different sports from around the world through books.  


Gardening teaches kids about the growth cycle, and it’s always fun to play in dirt, right? Set up a classroom garden in small pots for your students to plant seeds, observe the plant growth, and learn about the importance of water and sunlight. Create garden-themed sensory bins with soil, seeds, and gardening tools to let the kids get their hands dirty and work on fine motor skills. Bring the garden theme to circle time through gardening related books and songs. 


Exploring the sun introduces students to science, weather, and sun safety, while celebrating the warmth it brings in the summer. Conduct experiments to demonstrate how sunlight affects different materials, create sun-themed art projects using yellow and orange colors, and talk about the importance of wearing sunscreen when spending time outdoors.  

Ice Cream and Popsicles 

What a perfectly sweet summertime theme! Set up a pretend ice cream shop in the classroom for imaginative play, organize taste tests of different ice cream flavors or homemade popsicles, or invite kids to create their own ice cream-inspired artwork using materials like cotton balls, playdough, or tissue paper.   


Preschool picnics offer a fun and relaxing way for children to enjoy meals outdoors. Set up picnic blankets in a shady outdoor area for a shared mealtime experience, and lead nature scavenger hunts or play outdoor games like sack or relay races.  


Exploring the world of bugs can help children appreciate their roles in the ecosystem. Have a “bug hunt” either by bringing children outside or setting up one in the classroom. Start by setting up observation stations with magnifying glasses and bug identification guides. While looking for bugs, talk about the importance of respecting and protecting insects in their habitats.   

Summer Weather 

This theme encourages kids to observe the changing weather patterns of summer and fosters curiosity and scientific inquiry. Create a weather chart for students to track daily weather conditions for a period, and after the chart is complete, work with the children to count the different types of weather they observed. Conduct simple weather experiments, like making rain clouds in a jar or observing the effects of sunlight on ice cubes. During circle time, discuss about how summer weather impacts daily activities and clothing choices.  


Sharks capture children's imaginations with their mysterious and powerful presence, and if you’re a Shark Week fan–this is perfect! Introduce kids to different shark species through books and videos and organize your own "shark week" in the classroom with shark-themed crafts and activities, like making shark tooth necklaces or creating shark fin hats. Circle time is the perfect time to talk to your preschoolers about the importance of shark conservation.  

Sea Creatures and the Ocean 

This theme allows children to delve into the wonders of marine life and ocean habitats and the importance of ocean conservation. Set up a sea creature sensory table with water, toy seaweed, and toy sea animals for sensory exploration. For dramatic play, encourage your preschoolers to pretend to be underwater creatures like fish or dolphins, having them mimic movements and sounds. Use craft time to make sea creatures like jellyfish using paper plates and streamers and crabs and turtles from paper plates and construction paper. For extra classroom fun, construct a “leaping dolphins” box for your preschoolers to enjoy! 


About the Author:

Amanda Mushro is a writer and content creator whose creative tips, tricks, and life hacks have reached millions of people through TV segments, videos, and her writing. However, her favorite job is being a mom of three.