With the harsh heat of July slowly fading away, August promises sunny days, apple pies, and a few short weeks until the ever-beloved Fall time. We all love August! In fact, August marks the start of National Happiness Month. What better way to spread happiness than with a few in-class activities to boost morale, invoke play, and reduce stress?
With a little help from the authors of 365 Days of Classroom Fun, we’ve brainstormed some happy-spirited activities for students this summer. We’ve already covered June and July (tip: bookmark these for next year). So, grab a few vinyl records, a book, and some pet pics. Let’s create some magical moments.
Here are five fabulous classroom ideas for your childcare center this August.
1) August 9th: Book Lovers Day
Supplies needed: Some books!
Suggested Activities: Like a butterfly in the sky; your children can go twice as high with the power of books. Bring your favorite child-friendly books to class. Or, better yet, have the children bring their favorite books. You can either split children up into groups to read, or you can read out loud to the class. Get this: reading to children daily boosts language skills, literacy skills, numeracy, logic, and cognition. So this is a fun activity with a dash of good ol’ positive impact.
- Make sure to read each book first. You can create voices for each character, come up with questions, and bring some props or toys that relate to the book. You want your children as invested in reading as possible. And the easiest way to make that happen is by making reading fun.
- If you’re reading from a picture book, hold it up in front of the class. You want children to see the pictures, guess what’s happening, and use their imaginations. This also gives children who are still in the early stages of literacy a chance to join in on the activities.
2) August 12th: Vinyl Record Day
Supplies needed: Brand new or dusty old vinyl records.
Suggested Activities: Time to step back into the time machine. Back to the days when we dropped a needle on a big, flat, physical disc of music grooves to jam to our favorite bands. Chances are, none of your children have seen a vinyl record. So, what better way to teach them about vinyl than to bust out the records? This is a fun activity, sure. After all, who doesn’t love to listen to some “jams”? But music expands imaginations, breeds emotional maturity, and can lead to music creation — which has a host of benefits for early childhood development.
- You don’t have to listen to music. There are plenty of story-based vinyl records for children on the market. If you don’t have a record player, that’s ok too! Vinyl records are highly visual, and simply discussing what they do will be interesting to children in a generation of digital streaming.
- Discuss the history of vinyl records. This is a great time to add in some other history lessons in the process. Vinyl dates back to the 1930s, so there are plenty of opportunities to discuss famous figures, innovations, and events that happened in history.
- August 12th is also International Youth Day and World Elephant Day. For the former, rent out a bouncy house, bring in a face painter, or throw a small party to celebrate your children. For the latter, bring in books about elephants and talk about how our massive gray friends eat and live.
3) August 16th: Tell a Joke Day
Supplies needed: A sense of humor!
Suggested Activities: What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh! Jokes and humor create positive relationships and emotional maturity. Who doesn’t love to laugh? On tell a joke day, bring out your knee-slappers (as long as they’re child-friendly!) This is a fun activity. Have children tell jokes (this can improve their storytelling abilities) amongst each other, and consider bringing a few child-oriented joke books to class.
- Humor is associated with social competence, popularity, and adaptability. Telling jokes isn’t just fun; it’s a great way to develop early social skills. Try to break children into groups and have them tell jokes (out of a joke book) to each other.
- Laughter is one of humanity’s most important bonding tools. Babies typically learn to laugh or smile by 10 weeks old. Encourage laughter, and try to get everyone to join in on the fun.
4) August 20th: World Mosquito Day
Supplies needed: Books or pictures of mosquitos
Suggested Activities: Here’s a secret about humanity’s most-hated insect: mosquitos serve an important role in our ecosystem. They clean plants, are a food source for many different animals, and help pollinate flowers. But, they’re also dangerous. Mosquitos are the world’s deadliest animal — and they’re responsible for over a million deaths each year. So, take time on Mosquito day to discuss the benefits of mosquitos as well as teaching children how to protect themselves from their nasty little bites.
- There are over 3,000 different species of mosquitos. The average mosquito can drink 3x its body weight in human blood. And only female mosquitos bite. These are all fun tidbits to share with your class. Take time to learn about some interesting mosquito facts. They’re unique insects.
- Make sure to cover mosquito safety. Again, mosquitos are dangerous. Wearing insect repellant, covering up, and avoiding mosquito-heavy areas are all good lessons for children.
- This can also be a great time to discuss dinosaurs! There are 46 million-year-old preserved mosquitos in amber. Feel free to segue into other interesting topics related to mosquitos.
5) August 26th: Dog Day
Supplies needed: Books, photos, and figures of doggies
Suggested Activities: Fur-get about cats! August 26th is National Dog Day. Time to talk about one of our most beloved and pawsome household pets. Bring photos, books, and figures of doggies to share with the class. Discuss some of the different breeds of dogs, their traits, and think about discussing the long history of the human-canine bond. We’ve been keeping puppers around for over 15,000 years for a reason; they raise the woof with their cute faces and loveable tails.
- Have children bring pictures of their dogs, cats, or other pets. Share the pictures with the class and discuss their names, behaviors, and eating habits.
- The human-canine bond dates back thousands of years. In fact, children often have a stronger bond and relationship with their dogs than their siblings. Simply put, dogs make us happy. Even staring into their eyes releases oxytocin (i.e., the love chemical) into our brains.
- Don’t orient the lesson entirely around dogs. Children may have other types of pets (e.g., cats, hamsters, rats, lizards, turtles, snakes, ferrets, etc.), and you don’t want to leave them out of the fun.
How to Keep Students Engaged Throughout the School Year
We know that coming up with activities is difficult for many teachers. Most spend up to 7 hours a week looking for classroom materials. Luckily, the writers of 365 Days of Classroom Fun took care of the legwork for you. This book is jam-packed with classroom activities for every day of the year (summer included!) Pick up your copy on Amazon to start engaging more and planning less.
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