I have always loved utilizing the Christmas in July theme! One year when I was a Director, I decided to switch it up and do Summer in December. I got tired of doing some of the same things over and over, and I felt like the kids/staff needed a switch up after Thanksgiving. Most of my staff are getting in the mix of exams and some are just tired from the long year. Teachers and churches do such a great job during this time of the year with activities, I wanted to bring in something extra to my programming and some Summer heat during a cold and dark time. If you operate an After School program, you know that it gets dark around 5:00pm now, so the program can feel a little stale as you head back inside or have to stay inside due to the cold temperatures. In this post, I will give you some ideas and activities to help bring Summer in December to your youth program. So slap on the sunscreen, put on your favorite bathing suit, and lets hit the beach…
1.Sit Down Beach Volleyball – Sitting 6 feet apart, kids can play sit down beach volleyball. We did this in elementary school back in the 80’s and I still remember having so much fun. We stayed in our desks, and the teacher used string and tape to be our “net”. Same philosophy here, just use a big space in the gym or room you have. Give kids gloves, and let them play since they are sharing a ball. Rotate serving, and play just like you would a game of volleyball. Play some fun beach music in the background!
2. Luau! Limbo, Hula Dance, Fruit Skewers – Have a fun party! Make the line 6 feet apart and have the kids go under the stick, jump rope, whatever is easiest to sanitize as you switch out your helpers, or have them wear gloves. Play fun beach music at your Luau and teach them how to hula dance. This is a cool video from YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVyWRhyxr9U and tons of others, I just like this one as it is to Lilo and Stich movie song that kids could relate to. Do a fun snack and have fruit skewers and fruit punch. It is healthy, kids can grab in a social distance line and eat 6 feet apart.
3. Photo Scavenger Hunt – Go around your program finding Summer related items. Sunscreen, beach towel, sand toys, goggles, beach ball, etc. Using phone, take social distance pictures of the kids with item.
4. Hot Coconut – Sitting 6 feet apart, pass the” coconut” ball around the circle. Same as hot potato, just a play on words. Use gloves!
5. Beach Bingo – Spread 6 feet apart, and get your BINGO board. Use cheerios as the Bingo Pieces. Great game to play during the end of your program as you are waiting for parents to pick up. Do signups to control crowd, and invite Mom/Dad/Caregiver to play with their child. You could do this outside if weather permits. Great BINGO game on S&S Worldwide, https://www.ssww.com/item/bingo-calling-cards-yellow-16672/ and https://www.ssww.com/item/large-print-bingo-cards-GA2040/. Huge cards and numbers make for this to be an easy way for kids to help and understand.
6.Bocce Ball – Use gloves and a great and easy game to remain 6 feet apart.
7. Tiki Torch Ring Toss – Get some tiki torches, don’t light ofcourse, and have the kids throw some rings over the tiki torches. Use gloves when sharing. Easy game to remain 6 feet apart. https://www.ssww.com/item/ring-toss-set-HC69/ and use these rings. They are small and present a fun challenge!
8. Go Fishing – Setup a curtain or something to block the view of the kid fishing. Use an actual fishing pole or make something that has a clothes pin on the end. On the other side of the curtain have one of your staff attach a fun treat to the clothes pin . They “hooked” the fish when that happens. Great game for younger kids. Use gloves when sharing fishing pole.
9. Freeze Dance – Just a classic game, never gets old. Play beach music, and when the music stops everyone freezes. The person that wins, can control the music and be the game leader. You can have 2-3 people being the game leaders as well. Easy game to keep kids 6 feet apart.
10. Finding Nemo – Some great messages and things to discuss for downtime. https://medium.com/cinemania/the-beautiful-hidden-messages-of-finding-nemo-d6b2a2c421ca and there are tons of other resources if you just google “Finding Nemo messages, devotions, etc..”
No theme is complete without dressing up. Have some dress up days communicated out in advance for parents to prepare for their kids. Make it simple since this is being paired with an after school or track out program probably. It is fun to see staff wearing fun Summer attire as teachers, principals, and parents ask “What is going on today?!”. Brings positive attention to your program, and may even convince someone to give your program a try if they ride the bus or do carpool everyday. Great way to build enrollment and help your budget. Staff need some extra love towards the end of the year as well. For your staff, do an all inclusive resort theme, and bring them snacks, carry their stuff to their car, let them go home early for a “Spa Day”. There are things you can do on a small budget or just things that don’t cost anything at all. Decide on a specific day and give some extra love to your kids. Say today is “Sandal’s Resorts Day” and our staff will carry your book bag to the car. Wear gloves of course and stay 6 feet apart. Remember Christmas isn’t always perfect for everyone, so if you can bring a smile to a kid or parent’s face, then you have had a successful Summer in December! More fun ideas located on the Resource Zone on my website. I hope you enjoyed this post, and remember to steal and share ideas with others.