“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” ~ Maria Montessori
Our family does Montessori homeschool preschool year-round, without really taking a break for summertime. However, when the weather is nice, we like to bring the classroom outside! Here are over 20 Montessori-friendly activities for keeping cool and interacting with nature in the summertime, divided by section.
Outdoor Practical Life Activities
Sweeping outdoor patios, weeding flower beds, raking leaves, gathering fallen sticks — yard work is a great way to include your young child in purposeful work outside!
Similarly, filling a bin with some soapy water and providing some scrub brushes allows your child to take responsibility for her outside toys by scrubbing them — and this will provide hours of fun for children of all ages!
Flower arranging is an activity that could be done anywhere, but we prefer to do it out in nature — bonus points if you use flowers you cut from your own backyard!
Outdoor Sensorial Activities
Even the youngest of infants can explore nature through summer nature sensory baskets — just collect bits and pieces from outside.
Teething infants can keep cool during the hot summer days with ice cube sensory bottles — color the water with food coloring for a fun point of interest.
Ice is a great way to cool down in summer, and it stays cold for a pretty long time even with the summer heat! This ice cube sensory bin will provide hours of outdoor play while working on fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Sensory bins can get pretty messy — here are 4 more sensory bin ideas to try outside!
Our beloved sand and water table is our most-used outside toy! We usually fill it with play sand and/or water, but right now we have mixed beans in it — and it’s so much fun! I love the table we have because it is divided into two sections and one side has a drain to remove water easily.
Pieces of nature make great sensory bottle fillers! Just pick up some bits and pieces outside and put them in a bottle filled with water.
Outdoor STEM Activities
All water play should always be done outdoors, if you ask me! A simple sink or float experiment is so much fun and can be done with any materials you can find — get your free printable chart HERE.
We actually built with ice cube blocks in a snow bin in the wintertime, but it would also be a great way to cool off outside in the summer heat! Put some sparkly beads/sequins in an ice cube tray and then freeze with water to make colorful building blocks. Paint water on the blocks to get them to stick together!
Ice cube excavation is a fun way to learn about melting properties while cooling off! Freeze some favorite toys in a large ice cube, then figure out how to get them out!
You can even use science to make a yummy summer treat! Make homemade ice cream using ingredients you probably already have at home!
Outdoor Art Activities
Making chromatography butterflies using coffee filters is an old-school craft that even your toddler can make independently!
Painting with water is another fun way to stay cool in the summer — and the water evaporates quickly enough to provide an endless canvas!
Process art using nature is also a fun way to remember a vacation or fun summer spot! Painting with seashells is fun because of the variety of shapes and textures available.
You can also use pieces of nature to make a collage! Glue flower petals, leaves, or bits of grass to paper to create a nature masterpiece.
While regular chalk is pretty fun by itself, try making your own chalk paint! This will put your child’s practical life skills to work as she grates the chalk to make a powder before adding water to turn it into paint.
One of our favorite summer art activities is painting with watercolor ice cubes! I love how vibrant the colors are and how the artwork changes as the ice continues to melt.
Outdoor Motor Skills Activities
A simple spray bottle filled with cool water continues to be our number one hot summer day pick! The child can use it to spray herself or any of her surroundings –even the flowers!
Hopscotch is another old school favorite that even helps with number recognition!
And the ultimate cool down fun on a hot summer day — running through the sprinkler!