Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Outdoor Programs for Summer

Do you want to do messy programming but dread the indoor cleanup? Do you want to include more nature elements in your summer program? Maybe the weather is nice where you live and you want to take advantage of it. All of the above are true for me and I am going to share some ideas for outdoor programs that you can use in the summer or other times of the year if you have good weather.

Messy Programs

All photo credits: Kirsten Caldwell

The easiest and one of the most fun and messy programs is art! You can use chalk or chalk paint which is super easy to make. You can create hopscotch, an obstacle course, and let them create whatever their hearts desire.

With paint that may get too messy indoors, let them use a variety of tools like paint brushes, cotton balls, sticks, forks, etc. to promote the technology aspect of STEAM. Painting with bubbles is becoming popular now and doing that in a grassy area will greatly improve your cleanup time.

Nature Walks

Nature walks are a great way to expose your community to the amazing trails and parks that you have in your area! You can tell a story as you walk, read a picture book and follow it up with a walk, do a nature scavenger hunt, have a community partner come in and teach about the local animals and/or plants, have children choose some SAFE leaves, flowers, and sticks to create an art project when the walk is over and so much more.

Outdoor Storytimes

Yes, the outdoors can be distracting with birds, bugs, lawnmowers, etc. but they can be so much fun! Get kids dancing, running, and scooting closer to see the pictures in your book. Encourage parents to bring a picnic blanket to sit on or lawn chairs. Bring a speaker to play music and pull out the parachute that can get a little hectic inside. I usually plan a shorter storytime when it is outside, but I truly enjoy these.

Nature BINGO

Provide a nature BINGO sheet to families and allow them to bring it back before summer ends. You can provide a simple and fun incentive like a special sticker and it gets them out into nature.

Other ideas

Erika Hogan wrote a post in January about All Weather Outdoor fun with even more ideas!

Bridges Library System has a fun post for summer outdoor fun.

Do you have any plans for outdoor summer programs?

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