When preschool camp comes with a theme, this allows the children to learn about a topic or message in multiple ways—and in relatable ways. Varying the theme from year to year gives the summer camp a fresh look and feel each year, rather than seeming repetitive—and, no matter what theme is chosen, it should be age-appropriate, positive, and fun.
Here are three broad themes to consider for a preschool summer camp, ones that can be spun in multiple engaging ways.
This is a time-tested favorite, one that offers plenty of possibilities. Children’s books and movies are full of magical characters, so these can serve as a familiar starting point for camp participants. Have a magician visit the camp, find top hats, wands, and props so that children can dress up, and then find ways to expand upon the magic to integrate other concepts.
What about the magic of nature? This opens up the theme to age-appropriate biology, chemistry, astronomy, and more. What about science experiments that cause “magical” reactions, such as building a volcano that can erupt? What scientific principles are really behind this reaction? What about the magic of building friendships? The list is endless.
You can’t go wrong with a nature theme in a summer camp! From going on walks and noticing flowers, plants, bugs, butterflies, and more, nature is the ultimate in experiential learning. Use this theme to also talk about books in new ways—rather than just focusing on the plot and characters, what was the setting?
Nature lends itself to these topics and more: recycling, the importance of not littering, caring for the Earth, farming, gardening, the seasons, the sun, moon, and stars, and so much more. Incorporate “found” objects into art projects; and sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Can You Be a Sunbeam?, Home on the Range, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, and so forth. Because the theme of nature is so broad, you can stretch it out over several years without being repetitive: exploring outer space one year and diving into the oceans the next.
In reality, dinosaurs can fascinate preschoolers so much that you could focus solely on these mysterious reptiles from the past. Read books about different types of dinosaurs, create dinosaur art, hold a dino dress-up day, have experts from a natural history museum share stories and images, and so forth.
Or you can incorporate dinosaurs into a broader reptile theme camp (using them to get the young children excited about their topic). How long do turtles live? Why do they move so slowly? Do they really bury their eggs? Share information about the truly weird and wonderful lizards that inhabit planet Earth—from the Armadillo Girdled Lizard to the Fantastic Leaf-Tailed Gecko—and more. Oh, and don’t forget about the Two-Headed Bobtail Lizard. The real head comes with a blue tongue with the fake one being a tail that resembles its face to confuse predators.
Perfect for Preschoolers
Horizon offers an enriching preschool program along with a ten-week summer bootcamp to prep preschoolers for kindergarten.