infant crawling on grass and reaching forward

Summertime presents a wonderful opportunity to engage infants and toddlers in outdoor activities while remaining true to Montessori philosophy. Emphasizing heuristic play, independence, and freedom of movement, these activities not only entertain but also nurture the developmental needs of young children. Here are 20 summer activities that Montessori parents and teachers can incorporate into their routines, fostering an environment rich in learning and exploration.

1. Water Play

Set up a small splash pool or a water table with a variety of objects. Water play is a fantastic sensory experience that enhances fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Allow children the freedom to explore and manipulate water, learning through their natural curiosity.

2. Bubble Fun

Blowing bubbles is a delightful activity that encourages movement and coordination. Let children chase and pop bubbles, enhancing their gross motor skills and providing a joyful experience that also introduces basic cause and effect.

toddler girl sitting in grass and blowing bubbles

3. Sensory Bins

Fill a bin with materials like water, sand, or rice, and add summer-themed objects for a rich sensory experience. Sensory bins encourage exploratory play, allowing children to use their senses to investigate different textures and materials, promoting cognitive development.

4. Outdoor Picnics

Have a picnic in the backyard or a local park. Involve children in the preparation process, encouraging independence and building practical life skills. Let them choose snacks and help pack, fostering a sense of responsibility and decision-making.

5. Nature Walks

Take nature walks and explore the environment. Point out trees, flowers, and birds, fostering a connection with nature. Allow children to lead the way, giving them the freedom to make choices and explore at their own pace.

6. Sandbox Adventures

Provide a sandbox with shovels and buckets. Digging and building in the sand enhances tactile learning and fine motor skills and provides opportunities for maximum effort. Encourage children to create their own structures, promoting creativity and problem-solving.

asian toddler boy in sandbox using shovel to fill pail

7. Sidewalk Chalk

Create art on driveways or sidewalks with non-toxic chalk. This activity supports self-expression and creativity. Children can draw freely, developing their fine motor skills and exploring their artistic abilities.

8. Storytime Outside

Read books under a shady tree or in a cozy outdoor spot. Choose books that reflect nature and the environment, nurturing a love of reading while connecting with the outdoors.

9. Plant a Garden

Let children help water plants or dig in the garden with child-safe tools. Gardening teaches responsibility and care for living things and builds practical life skills. It also offers hands-on learning about plant growth and the natural world.
Black mother and toddler boy gardening. Mother is helping child use a small rake

10. DIY Water Park

Set up sprinklers, slip-and-slides, and water toys in the yard. This provides a fun way to stay cool while encouraging physical activity. Let children choose how they want to engage with the water, supporting their autonomy.

11. Visit a Petting Zoo

Interacting with animals at a local petting zoo fosters empathy and respect for living creatures. It also provides sensory experiences and teaches children about different animals.

12. Playground Fun

Spend time at a local playground, exploring slides and swings. Playgrounds offer opportunities for physical exercise and social interaction, crucial for developing motor skills and socialization.

Asian girl toddler sitting on swing and smiling

13. Music and Dance

Play their favorite tunes and have a mini dance party outdoors. Music and movement activities support auditory development and coordination as well as gross motor development. Allow children to move freely, expressing themselves through dance.

14. Mess-Free Painting

Use water and paintbrushes on a concrete surface or fence. This activity allows for creative expression without the mess. It also promotes fine motor skills and artistic exploration.

15. Ball Games

Roll, throw, or kick soft balls in an open, safe space. Ball games enhance coordination and physical development. Encourage children to explore different ways to play with balls, fostering creativity and independence.
Asian father and toddler son kicking soccer ball in yard
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

16. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Create a simple list of items to find in the yard. Scavenger hunts promote observational skills and critical thinking. Let children take the lead in finding items, supporting their sense of adventure and curiosity.

17. Fruit Tasting

Introduce children to new summer fruits like watermelon and berries. This activity stimulates the senses and encourages healthy eating habits. Let them choose and taste different fruits, promoting independence in making food choices.

18. Camping at Home

Set up a tent in the backyard for a fun camping experience. Camping fosters a sense of adventure and connection with nature. Allow children to help with setting up the tent and choosing camping activities, supporting their independence.

19. Visit a Farmer's Market

Explore local markets and let children pick out fresh produce. This activity teaches about where food comes from and supports healthy eating habits. It also provides opportunities for social interaction and learning about the community.
toddler girl holding a carrot at farmer's market

20. Ice Cube Play

Freeze small objects in ice cubes and let them melt in water for a fun surprise. Ice cube play offers a sensory experience and teaches about states of matter. Allow children to explore the melting process, fostering curiosity and scientific thinking. (Caution: Do not use these ice cubes for drinking.)

By incorporating these activities, Montessori parents and teachers can create a summer filled with joy, exploration, and learning. Each activity aligns with Montessori principles, supporting the child's natural development and encouraging independence, creativity, and a love for the natural world.

Michelle Irinyi — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 Continue Reading this Article
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