Those blue skies and beautiful weather can only mean one thing: it’s time to look for summer activities for preschoolers!
I understand that it may be difficult to entertain your kids during the entire summer, but don’t worry that I got you covered. In this blog post, you will get a variety of activities to do with your toddler and even extra resources to help you out.
Here are the summer activities for preschoolers and toddlers:
- Summer activity #1 – Activities for preschoolers at home
- Summer Activity #2 – Register on summer reading programs
- Summer Activity #3 – Stop by your public library
- Summer Activity #4 – Watch some movies
- Summer Activity #5 – Visit a museum
- Summer Activity #6 – Attend the city activities
- Summer Activity #7 – Take a class
- Final thoughts on summer activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Summer activity #1 – Activities for preschoolers at home
The activities that your child can do at home are probably the best ones for them to learn. Take advantage of those times that you are at home with your kids.
These activities help them develop important skills. For example, many arts and crafts require kids to grasp, cut with scissors, write their names, identify colors and count.
Books are always a good option for kids. Yes, I love books and I might be a little biased. But, experts agree that reading books to your child has many benefits including school readiness and coping skills.
Create a collage together. That’s a great way for your toddler to improve the skills of using scissors. Plus, you can put your old magazines to good use. Work with your child to decide on a theme for the collage. Then, use magazines to identify and cut related pictures.
The last option at home is technology. Just remember to always monitor what they are watching and the amount of screen time.
But, if your child has access to your phone, tablet, or computer, there are websites out there where they can play too.
Summer Activity #2 – Register on summer reading programs
Reading programs are one of my favorite summer activities. These programs encourage kids to read and provide them the opportunity to learn, have fun, and socialize.
Here are my favorite summer reading programs:
Your local libraries – Many libraries have summer reading programs for kids, and sometimes even for adults. Depending on the library, kids can earn different rewards throughout these programs. My kids have earned toys, books, free pool passes, tote bags, electronics, and even gift cards!
Half Price Books – Last year, we participated in this reading program for the first time and my daughters loved it. You just need to track the reading time every day. Then, when your child reaches a total of 300 minutes, take the official HPB form to your local store to claim the Bookworm Bucks. Those Bookworm Bucks work as a $5 store credit which is great.
This reading program is divided into two groups. One group is for kids that are 14 and under and the other group is for teens. This means that if you are like me, with kids that have a big age gap in between, they may still be able to participate!
Barnes and Noble – In this summer reading program, kids from grades 1 through 6 can score a free book. They need to record each book on the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Journal, write which part of the book was their favorite, and why. That journal is available on their website and in stores. After reading eight books, take the journal to the participating stores to claim the free book.
Chuck E. Cheese’s – With this program, kids can earn 10 free tokens by reading every day. Just use the official Chuck E. Cheese’s Reading Rewards Calendar to log the days that your kid reads. After two weeks, you are ready to redeem your tokens.
Summer Activity #3 – Stop by your public library
The local libraries have plenty of summer activities including the reading programs as mentioned in the previous activity.
Here are some examples of the activities offered by the libraries near me:
- arts and crafts
- story time
- magic shows
- zoo visits
- family movie nights
- science experiments
- puppet shows
To find out those type of activities, visit your local libraries’ webpage, check out their newsletter, or contact the library staff.
In my case, I print the newsletter of three to four libraries nearby and circle the activities that my kids would like to participate in. I immediately add those summer activities to one of my planners and block the time using Google calendar. In that way, I can make sure that I don’t overlook any of their activities.
Summer Activity #4 – Watch some movies
Summer is the time to watch movies at a discount price. Get ready to watch the movies that you missed or to watch your favorite ones again.
By the way, you can click on any of the movie theater links below to obtain a complete list of the locations, movies, and showtimes.
As a reminder, always double-check the information before making any arrangements.
Here are the summer movies for 2021:
Their Summer Movie Express runs for 16 weeks! Each week, they offer two movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This year, it starts on May 25 (until September 8) and the admission is only $1.00!
Keep in mind that every week, both movies will be shown on both days.
Week 1: May 25 and May 26
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
- Wonder Park
Week 2: June 1 and June 2
- Smurfs: The Lost Village
- A Dog’s Way Home
Week 3: June 8 and June 9
- Playing with Fire
Week 4: June 15 and 16
- Lego Movie
Week 5: June 22 and 23
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- The Emoji Movie
Week 6: June 29 and 30
- Pokemon Detective Pikachu
- The Lego Batman Movie
Week 7: July 6 and 7
- The Croods: A New Age
- Muppet Movie
Week 8: July 13 and 14
- The Lego Ninjago Movie
- Trolls World Tour
Week 9: July 20 and 21
- Sonic The Hedgehog
Week 10: July 27 and 28
- Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
- Angry Birds Movie 2
Week 11: August 3 and 4
- The Lego Movie 2
Week 12: August 10 and 11
- Kung Fu Panda
- Despicable Me
Week 13: August 17 and 18
- How to Train our Dragon: The Hidden World
Week 14: August 24 and 25
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Week 15: August 31 and September 1
- The Secret Life of Pets
Week 16: September 7 and 8
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
- Wonder Park
Their Summer Movie Clubhouse runs for eight weeks, starting on June 16 (until August 4, 2021). In this case, your child can watch a different movie per week. The admission is $1.50 per ticket.
Here is the schedule for Cinemark:
June 16 – Trolls World Tour
June 23 – The Secret Life of Pets 2
June 30 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
July 7 – The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
July 14 – The Angry Birds Movie 2
July 21 – Dora and the Lost City of Gold
July 28 – Minions
August 4 – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
They have the 10-week Summer Movie Fun. Each movie costs $3 for My Harkins Awards Members and $5 for Non-My Harkins Awards Members.
Also, My Harkins Awards members can get 50% off a Kids Combo by going on a weekday (Monday – Friday) before 6 p.m.
Their summer program starts as early as June 11 and lasts until July 22. However, the location near me closed permanently so make sure to check before going.
Here is the schedule:
- June 11 to 17 – Despicable Me
- June 18 to 24 – Trolls World Tour
- June 25 to July 1 – Abominable
- July 2 to 8 – The Croods: A New Age
- July 9 to 15 – Kung Fu Panda
- July 16 to 22 – Madagascar
No information has been posted for 2021
Their Summer Movie Camp is available every Wednesday from June 5 to July 31. For $4.00, you get an admission ticket and a KidsPack for your child. The KidsPack includes popcorn, drink, and a snack.
Note: Their schedules vary by location.
They had the Morning Summer Movies Series before but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.
Now, they have the Summer Flicks & Fun when ALL first shows on Wednesdays are $3.99 and include a FREE (46oz) mini popcorn! And, that for anybody regardless of age.
However, it excludes the Eastdale and Willow Knolls locations.
Marcus Theatres has scheduled movies for their Kids Dream Family Film Series. This series of movies starts on June 4 and ends on July 8.
There’s a different movie every week for $5.00. In a previous year, their summer movies were only available on Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday but that’s not mentioned on the website anymore. Just double-check with your location before going.
Here are their dates for this summer:
- June 4 – 10 / Monsters vs. Aliens
- June 11 – 17 / Pokemon Detective Pikachu
- June 18 – 24 / The Boss Baby
- June 25 – July 1 / Megamind
- July 2 – 8 / Trolls
There’s also a note on their site that more titles will be added soon.
Summer Activity #5 – Visit a museum
Visiting museums is a great summer activity for preschoolers and toddlers. It’s the perfect time to introduce your kids to museums if they haven’t visited one yet.
Museums don’t have to be boring or for adults only. Nowadays, there are many museums that focus on teaching and entertaining kids. Plus, museums usually have a new show or exhibit during summertime.
This great list of the Best Museums for Kids in Every State can help you find a children’s museum to visit.
Summer Activity #6 – Attend the city activities
The city where you live is an excellent place to look for summer activities.
Finding the information shouldn’t take you too long. Just go to your city’s website and look for words like “calendar” or “events”. There’s where they publish activities like concerts, festivals, special holiday activities, movies in the park, etc.
Sometimes the city calendar allows you to choose between different city’s departments. You may have the library, park, and recreations, community center, senior center, etc. I normally check most of the options to avoid missing something that my kids would like.
Even though some cities are active in social media, I prefer to check their online calendar for a complete list of events. There, I quickly check all the activities scheduled for the upcoming weeks and even months. And, as I do with the library activities, I check the calendar of several cities near me.
Don’t skip the small cities. Sometimes, those activities are less crowded allowing you to really enjoy the time (and take lots of pictures! 😊).
Summer Activity #7 – Take a class
I can already hear some “Come on, give them a break”. With a background in human resources, it’s kind of difficult to keep “training” out of my mind. 😊
On a more serious note, summertime is a good time to help your child develop skills, learn a new sport, or to explore other areas. Make a list of some classes and check for availability in your area.
Here are some ideas:
You kid’s school district – There are school districts out there offering great summer activities for kids. I have seen short camps or classes related to science, robotics, and cooking. Visit the district’s website to find that information. While there, look for posted flyers of sponsored companies or organizations. These flyers are normally approved by the district before being posted on the site.
YMCA is a very popular place for kids. A couple of years ago, I registered my oldest daughter for swimming classes and she loved them. She went from not knowing how to swim to feel super confident in the water, and even attending a pool party by herself where she applied all those skills learned.
Michaels Camp Creativity – For seven weeks, Camp Creativity is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting on June 10. Their craft groups are divided into kids age 3+ and 6+. Each 1-hr session requires a small fee for your child to participate.
Home Depot workshops – Click on the link and enter your location to get a list of upcoming workshops in your area. Depending on your location you may see some Kids Workshops too.
Final thoughts on summer activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
There you have plenty of summer activities for your preschooler.
For more ideas, don’t forget to consider popular places like the park, zoo, and aquarium. Also, check the offers at Groupon (affiliate link) where you can find additional activities or places to try.
I hope you have a wonderful summer with your family!
Which other summer activity would you like to add? Let me know in the comments section.