Check out these preschool outdoor activities for summer! Plenty of fun, learning activities for kids, especially 3-5 year olds who want to get outside.
Does your preschooler love to spend time outdoors? This would be all well and good, except for the times when the weather is blazing during the summer months.
The poor guy gets stir crazy cooped up indoors, bored playing with the same toys and games. He’s not the only one itching to get outside, either—you’re also looking for fun activities to do with him. With your partner at work all day, it’s just the both of you stuck at home.
While he loves to walk and explore, you worry that being outside for long during the summer days will just get too hot. As much as you’d love to head outside, the heat and humidity don’t make for long stretches of fun time. What do you do with him all day to keep him occupied and get some fresh air?
Preschool outdoor activities for summer
Last summer was the first time I was home with all three kids. No summer camp or year-round preschool to rely on. Instead, it was me and the boys together, all day.
Not only that, we had also just moved to a hotter part of Los Angeles county. No longer could we relish the cool, stable weather of living near the coast. We were now deep in the heat of the valley, feeling the sizzling heat of three-digit temperatures on some days.
But, perhaps like your child, mine simply couldn’t stay indoors for long. No amount of air conditioning, library events, or even bounce houses could keep them from being outside.
This is when we get creative. You can mark your calendar with places to go and activities to do that work with the heat of the summer, all while still being outdoors.
So, what can you do with your preschooler when it’s hot outside? Take a look at these tips and activities to stay outdoors, even during the warm summer months:
1. Eat breakfast outside
Do the summer days heat up pretty quickly in your area? Take advantage of the early mornings, especially come breakfast time!
If your child is like mine, he’s already up early in the day, usually far earlier than you’d like. Make the most of it by eating breakfast outdoors. Maybe that’s eating on your patio furniture, a picnic blanket on the lawn, or even at your favorite outdoor restaurant.
Some summer months, the only respite from the heat is during those morning hours. Squeeze your outdoor time during these cooler hours before the rest of the day warms up.
Free resource: Want play ideas? Join my newsletter and get my Play Ideas Calendar! The first sheet includes ideas, while the second is a blank template to fill with your own. Download it below—at no cost to you:
2. Go “camping” at night in the yard
An alternative to eating breakfast outdoors is to set up a “camp” in the backyard at night.
Pitch a camping tent (or even a beach tent) in the yard as the sun lowers for the day. Cook a camp-themed meal to eat outdoors, like hot dogs or s’mores. Bring books and a flashlight to read inside the tent, or tell stories and jokes to one another.
3. Play in the garage
One way to go “outside” while still staying beneath the shade is to play in your garage. Move the cars out of the garage and park them onto the street. With the garage door open, you’ll now have extra space to play and get fresh air without being in direct contact with the sun.
For instance, you might inflate the kiddie pool and fill it with water, or move the water table into the garage. Your preschooler can ride his tricycle around the garage, or draw on the driveway with sidewalk chalk.
With the shade from the garage, you can spend some time out of the house without the sun glaring down directly on you.
4. Go swimming
My boys and I were visit our community pool every week, where they learned how to swim from the frequent practice and stay cool when the days are hot.
Enjoy the cool water and head to the pool, but always remember to lather with sunscreen. In fact, set your timer to either re-apply or head home. You can also blow up a kiddie pool for the yard, with the added advantage of placing it in a shaded place so you can stay outdoors longer.
Down the line, a local water park, splash pad, or aquatic center are also fantastic ways to get outdoors during the summer while still staying cool. Go when they open to avoid the crowds and avoid the hottest times of the day. Or consider going toward the end of the day, when the sun is making its way down.
5. Play in the backyard
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Don’t forget to make use of your backyard for simple summer fun. Dress in swim gear or clothes you don’t mind changing out of and try these activities:
- Hand your preschooler the hose (or have him run through the sprinklers).
- Blow bubbles in the shade for him to chase.
- Kick a ball on the yard in the early or late hours of the day.
- Toss water balloons to each other.
- Fill water squirters and try to drench each other.
- Use a water splash pad to play on.
- Practice pouring water with cups.
6. Go to the beach or lake
If you’re lucky enough to be able to drive to the beach, schedule some time in your summer to enjoy the water and sand.
Let your preschooler play with sand toys, dip his feet in the water, and take walks along the beach. Bring plenty of sunblock, snacks and water, and either a tent or umbrella for shade. And go either during the week or early in the weekend mornings to avoid crowds.
7. Go to the park after dinner
Make use of the extra sunlight during the summer months and head to the park after dinner! This is the perfect time to unwind from the day or get that energy out before going to sleep.
You might play on the playground, bring a ball to kick and throw, walk along a trail, or ride trikes and scooters. You can even bring a cool treat like ice pops to eat on a bench or chilled fruits in a cooler.
8. Take a weekend or day trip
Is the weather sizzling in your area? Take a quick weekend or day trip to a nearby city with cooler weather.
When the weather was baking hot around my area, we drove to nearby Santa Monica, which was a whopping 30 degrees cooler than our neighborhood. Another time, we headed farther north to Santa Barbara to enjoy sunny, breezy weather when ours was scorching hot.
Where can you go for a quick trip that’s cooler than your home?
9. Go to a farmers market
Visiting a farmers market is a fantastic way to spend time outdoors, support your local economy, and enjoy yummy treats! (Search for your local farmers market.)
Go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and hot weather and grab the food while they’re still fresh and around. Enjoy special treats like freshly popped popcorn or ready-made meals like crepes and tamales.
And stick around for the music—many markets feature musical entertainment, from solo violinists to a full band.
10. Go to a garden
Enjoy the outdoors by visiting a local garden. From botanical to rose to Japanese, gardens can be a fantastic outing for your preschooler to explore. Many libraries offer free passes to your local gardens, which can cut costs.
Hopefully you now have ideas on outdoor activities for kids to do in the summer. Drive to places like a garden or the beach, or simply stay home and make use of your backyard, garage, or local park.
With these ideas, you can make sure your preschooler gets out of the house—even during the hot summer months.
Get more tips:
- 25 Fun Outdoor Activities for 3 Year Olds
- Realistic Examples of a 3 Year Old Daily Schedule
- Top Educational Activities for 3 Year Olds
- How to Encourage Your Child to Keep Learning in the Summer
- Preschool Pros and Cons: Should You Send Your Child to Preschool?
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and get my Play Ideas Calendar! The first sheet includes ideas, while the second is a blank template to fill with your own. Download it below—at no cost to you: