Summer has arrived. What are your favorite classroom ideas for June? And, how important is playtime in early childhood education?
Undoubtedly, all children enjoy playtime. From poverty-stricken war zones to the streets of suburbia, the drive to play is so deeply ingrained in children that the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights considers “play” the fundamental human right of every child. In fact, a plethora of research shows how childhood play helps develop brain function, promotes mastery, improves motor skills, and increases happiness.
As we embrace the month of June, childcare centers may be struggling to find indoor activities that capture both the imagination and interest of young children. Still, there are many ways to incorporate the ever-important “play” factor into early childhood education.
Below, we share several fun playtime activities for June. You can use these activities to increase enrollment, bring in new leads on social media, and encourage engagement from parents and children.
June 6th: Yo-Yo Day
Suggested Activities: Life is filled with ups-and-downs. But, so are yo-yos! The beloved yo-yo dates back to 440 B.C. While yo-yos are certainly engaging toys, they also help teach critical hand-eye coordination skills and the basics of physics in a way that’s accessible to young children. There are multiple ways to approach Yo-Yo Day.
- Provide your students with yo-yos or have them bring their own to class — we personally recommend the latter.
- Yo-yos can teach children the basic idea of gravity. Ask children why the yo-yo falls when they let go of the base.
- Teach children the basic “sleeper” trick. You can have a competition to see who can make the yo-yo “sleep” the longest, or just let children have free time to explore some of the unique tricks based on the “sleeper.”
- June 6th is also Gardening Exercise Day and Drive-In Movie Day. For the former, teach your students the name of weeds and have them pull up a few. And, for the latter, have your students decorate boxes to look like “cars” they can sit in. Watch a short movie, and serve popcorn!
June 8th: Best Friend Day
Suggested Activities: There’s an old Irish proverb: “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.” On June 8th, celebrate Best Friend Day with your class. Being a best friend is about more than just wearing the same brand of shoes or clothing.
The positive power of friendship cuts across social and economic lines during early childhood development. Teaching children how to pick “best friends” can help them make smart relationship decisions later in life. In addition, teaching them how to develop the positive traits of a “best friend” can help them achieve lasting happiness and success.
- Best Friend Day can be a little tricky. You don’t necessarily want to center the day around having a best friend, since many children may not have one. Instead, use this time to teach children what qualities a “best” friend should have.
- Honesty, integrity, loyalty, compassion, and trustworthiness are all important traits that can be difficult to explain to young children. So, use stories and movies to teach these concepts.
June 12th: Superman Day
Suggested Activities: It’s a bird. No. It’s a plane. No. It’s Superman! June 12th is Superman Day and one of the most engaging classroom ideas for June. So, it’s time to have some fun with Superman-related activities. You can also make it Supergirl Day or even Wonder Woman Day.
- Invite your students to dress up as Superman, Supergirl, or Wonder Woman before class. It’s time to save the world. While dressing up as a superhero may seem corny, it allows children to explore ethical dilemmas, develop personal identities, and even form friendships based on shared interests.
- Take the opportunity to talk about the creator of Superman, the positive values of superheroes, and the traits that make a person “super.” Studies consistently show that imagination-fueled playtime is crucial for developing social and emotional skills. Young children often feel small and vulnerable. Superhero play offers opportunities to gain a sense of mastery and resilience, which are both critical skills children need to explore and internalize.
- Encourage your students to make up their own superhero personas and come up with origin stories for their superheroes.
June 17th: Eat Your Veggies Day
Suggested Activities: Brussel sprouts…do we hear groans? Why should children eat them instead of piling more chicken nuggets on the plate? It’s time to take nutrition seriously on Eat Your Veggies Day.
- On Eat Your Veggies Day, focus on teaching children the importance of a nutritious diet. Bring trays of diverse selections of veggies and let your students sample all of the unique, exotic, and delicious vegetables of the world.
- Studies show that offering children a variety of vegetable options increases both the consumption and acceptance of veggies. You can also bring some of the more popular vegetable dips to class (Ranch dressing, hummus, Green Goddess dressing, to name a few). Remember to check dietary needs before serving all those delicious crudites and dips. If you’re using Prime Childcare Software, you’ll have access to the student nutrition and allergen database as well as digital dietary notes left by parents.
June 22nd: World Rainforest Day
Suggested Activities: Monkeys, lizards, and the gorgeous birds-of-paradise all come from one place: the rainforest. This plant-packed, diverse animal biome is one of planet Earth’s most incredible marvels. June 22nd is World Rainforest Day.
- For a ton of free, virtual educational resources, The Rainforest Alliance has you covered. Have your students explore a virtual treehouse. Talk about the crops rainforests produce, and read stories about the rainforest. For a fun time, build a rainforest terrarium together or play rainforest bingo.
- Watch an episode of Wild Kratts or Zaboomafoo. This is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy some arts and crafts. Print out rainforest pages for coloring, draw pictures of plants, or divide students into groups to design the perfect treehouse.
- World Rainforest Day is a great time to talk about the basics of plant biology and discuss the consequences of rainforest deforestation. Undoubtedly, this special holiday is one of the most popular classroom ideas for June!
June 30th: Log Cabin Day
Suggested Activities: What do Abraham Lincoln, lumberjacks, and campers have in common? Answer: They all love log cabins!
- It’s time to jump into the time machine. Have your students bring their favorite set of Lincoln logs from home. Be sure to provide a supply of logs for students who don’t have their own sets.
- While Lincoln logs may seem like an “old fashioned” toy, studies show that playing with Lincoln logs and Legos can help children develop important organizational skills. On Log Cabin Day, teach children about the wonderful and diverse history of log cabins and have them make their own log cabin village from Lincoln logs.
How to Keep Students Engaged Throughout the School Year
As can be seen, these great classroom ideas for June can be used to teach a range of core values. If you’re looking for more kid-friendly activities for your daycare or childcare facility, check out 365 Days of Classroom Fun: Early Childhood Development Activities & Supply Lists for Every Day of the Year. To get this resource, order your copy from Amazon today.
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