As we complete our second year here at the Franklin ECC focused on implementation of the Massachusetts Standards for Preschool  Social and Emotional Learning, and Approaches to Play and Learning the Franklin faculty and staff have examined a great number of outcomes from both research and evidenced -based practice that clearly indicated the positive connection between social emotional learning, academic learning and success in life. We hope as you engage your child in the 10 Exciting Outdoor Summer Activities below you too will recognize the connection and how, as you play together, you are supporting your child‛s success in life.

Before choosing one of the fun summer activities take a look at the SEL and APL standards below. Choose an area where you would like to support growth for your child. If for instance you decide you want to focus on relationship skills adapt the activity in a way that provides your child an opportunity to practice communication. Lets say you are going to engage in activity 5, painting the sidewalk with water, have one child be the painter while a second child gives verbal directions for painting an object of their choice. Then have the children switch places.



Massachusetts Standards for Preschool  Social and Emotional Learning, and Approaches to Play and Learning

The Social Emotional Learning Standards present objectives in five areas: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making.

 Social and Emotional Learning Standards


Standard SEL1: The child will be able to recognize, identify, and express his/her emotions.

Standard SEL2: The child will demonstrate accurate self-perception.

Standard SEL3: The child will demonstrate self-efficacy (confidence/competence).


Standard SEL4: The child will demonstrate impulse control and stress management.

Social Awareness

Standard SEL5: The child will display empathetic characteristics.

Standard SEL6: The child will recognize diversity and demonstrate respect for others.

Relationship Skills

Standard SEL7: The child will demonstrate the ability to communicate with others in a variety of ways.

Standard SEL8: The child will engage socially, and build relationships with other children and with adults.

Standard SEL9: The child will demonstrate the ability to manage conflict.

Standard SEL10: The child will demonstrate the ability to seek help and offer help.

Responsible Decision Making

Standard SEL11: The child will demonstrate beginning personal, social, and ethical responsibility.

Standard SEL12: The child will demonstrate the ability to reflect on and evaluate the results of his or her actions and decisions.

The Approaches to Play and Learning Standards  present objectives in eight areas: Initiative, Curiosity, Persistence and Engagement, Creativity, Cooperation, Problem Solving, Organization Skills, and Memory.

Approaches to Play and Learning Standards

Standard APL1: The child will demonstrate initiative, self-direction, and independence.

Standard APL2: The child will demonstrate eagerness and curiosity as a learner.

Standard APL3: The child will be able to maintain focus and attention, and persist in efforts to complete a task.

Standard APL4: The child will demonstrate creativity in thinking and use of materials.

Standard APL5: The child will cooperate with others in play and learning.

Standard APL6: The child will seek multiple solutions to a question, task, or problem.

Standard APL7: The child will demonstrate organizational skills.

Standard APL8: The child will be able to retain and recall information

1. Using An Old Sheet, Make Art On the Lawn.     sheet painting

Vincent Van Gogh, the brilliant and eccentric post-Impressionist artist from Holland, once said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”


  • First, you need a BIG sheet
  • Next, you’ll want to stake the sheet down on your lawn.  I pushed some long nails through each corner of the sheet, all the way down into the grass so that only the nail heads were showing
  • Fill some styrofoam bowls with a variety of paint colors.  Don’t forget the sponge paint brushes!  or kiddos could use their fingers and hands to create messy art…happy painting

2. Have a read-a-thon Outside (maybe in a tent made from old blankets)


           ice cream in a bag    3. Make Ice Cream In A Bag

1 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/4 tsp vanilla

You will need:
1/2 cup rock salt
quart size plastic bags
gallon size plastic bags

·         Put ice cream ingredients into quart size plastic bag and seal. (Make sure to seal the bag really well)

·         Next, take a gallon plastic bag and fill it half way with ice.  Add in the salt.  Put the sealed quart size bag in the gallon bag and seal the gallon bag and shake.

·         Shake the bag until it looks like ice cream!

·         Add any topping or mix-in you would like!  Sprinkles, crushed Oreos, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, etc.


4. Play A Fun Game of Drip Drip Splash! (Think Duck Duck Goose with Water!)

  • You have heard of Duck Duck Goose,well this game is played the same way but with a twist that makes it interesting to everyone, even the big kids.
  • You will need a bucket with water and a sponge!
  • Just like your traditional game of Duck Duck Goose, everyone sits in a circle and the person who is it walks around the outside but, instead of saying “Duck Duck Duck…. Goose” you say “Drip drip drip… Splash!”
  • Each time you say drip you squeeze the sponge so you put just one drip onto each person’s head as you go around the circle.
  • When you choose who you want to chase you around the circle you yell splash and squeeze all the water on their head.
  • Then that person chases the person around the circle and back to their spot.
  • If you get tagged you have to fill the sponge up in the bucket for the next person, instead of them having to go over to fill it themselves.

paint with water5. Paint the Sidewalk with Water!


6. Play These Four Fun Sidewalk Chalk Games

Find The Letter / Letter Sound

  • Using sidewalk chalk write a few letters your child knows
  • Call out a letter and players run to it. (You could also call our a sound)
  • Add letters as your child becomes more comfortable.
  • You could also make it harder by writing sight words or easier by making shapes.

Letter Action Words

  • This continues the find the letter with a little more movement.
  • Call out the letter and ask the players to perform an action that starts with that letter .
  • ” Jump on the j? ” or ” Wiggle on the w ! ”

Walk and Spell

  • The object of this activity is to spell out simple words by walking to each letter.
  • Write letters using the sidewalk chalk
  • Call out simple words like hat, bat, cap, tap, jam,

Read and Spray

  • Write a few letters your child knows with the sidewalk chalk
  • Give each player a spray bottle filled with water
  • Call out a letter
  • Each player finds the letter and uses the spray bottle to “make” the same letter
  • You could write all upper case letters and have the children make the lower case partner

7. Make Your Own Hula Hoops

Basic materials you’ll need:

  • irrigation tubing
  • a PVC cutter or small saw
  • a connector (coupling)
  • rice or small beans to fill your hula hoop
  • colored electric tape

First, cut the hula hoops so they hit your child’s chest. Insert the connector to one side of the hoop. Fill the hoop wth rice or dry beans. Then decorate it with your decorative tape and start hula hooping!

8. Play Sponge Bullseye.bullseye

  • Draw a bullseye and assigned a points value to each circle of the target.
  • Players stand on the starting line shape and tossed their sponge at the target.
  • The kids worked together to add up their points.
  • You could use any number of points to differentiate this for the age of your child.
  • You could also turn the game around and have little ones aim their sponges for different shapes.

9. Play the Firefly Flashlight Game (so fun once it gets dark!

You need at least one flashlight, depending on how many children will be playing but have more on hand if you’re playing the firefly game with a medium- to large-sized group.

Firefly Game Rules

The firefly game should be played at night. The point of the game is that children are trying to catch the firefly (the child with the flashlight).

Do make sure the area the children are playing in is safe. A flat area with no objects or other obstacles is best to avoid tripping or falling.

Firefly Game for Groups of 5 or Fewer

Designate one child as the firefly. The firefly gets the flashlight.

The child who is the firefly must flash the light from the flashlight on and off again once about every 30 seconds. The other children try to find the firefly. The first child to “capture” the firefly gets to become the next firefly.

Firefly Game for Groups of 6 or More

With this version of the firefly game, you have two options. You can play by the game rules for groups of 5 or fewer or you can have more fireflies.

With more fireflies, you’ll need more flashlights. Split the group in half. One half of the group gets flashlights and the other half gets to try and capture the fireflies.

The same rules apply for the fireflies in this version of the game as the one for small groups. Fireflies flash the lights of their flashlight once about every 30 seconds and the rest of the kids try to “capture” each firefly.

Once a firefly is caught, that child sits out the rest of the game with his flashlight off. When all fireflies are caught, they hand over the flashlights to their captors who now get to be the fireflies.

The best part about the firefly game is that everyone gets to be a firefly and everyone wins!

car wash 10. Get the neighbors together to create a KID Wash and let the fun begin!


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