In July, why not prepare for or prolong vacation time by using children's vacation souvenirs to create a mural with a summer or beach theme. To begin, hang several large pieces of white paper (or two long banners) on a wall, creating a mural with two levels. Ask children to paint the bottom part using blue paint to represent a lake or the ocean. Next, have them paint a section above the water using beige paint to represent a sandy beach. Finally, they can paint the top section using green paint to represent a forest and/or nature.
Ask parents to provide one or two pictures of their child taken during their most recent vacation. The pictures will later be used to personalize your mural.
In the water
Collect several magazines or ask parents to share old magazine they may have with you. Invite children to look through the pages and cut out any items that remind them of activities that can be enjoyed in the water during summer vacation. They can add them to the "water" section of your mural.
On the beach
Glue fine sand on the beige section of your mural to create a special effect and make it look like a real beach. Purchase one or several bag(s) of tiny seashells at a local big-box store. Let children decorate the seashells with paint, glitter, etc. When they are done, they can add them to your mural by gluing them on the sand.
Organize an outing in a nearby forest or park and have children collect a variety of items found in nature (pinecones, leaves, branches, etc.). If this isn't an option, purchase fabric leaves and flowers in a big-box store or at your local dollar store. Ask children to glue the items in the "forest" section of your mural. Heavier items can also be hung in front of the mural using fishing line.
Once all the items have been added to your mural, let children add their vacation pictures, associating them to the correct section according to the activities they are enjoying in each picture. For example, if a child is building a sandcastle in one of his/her pictures, he/she must add it to the "beach" section. If, on the other hand, a child is fishing in one of his/her pictures, he/she must glue it in the "lake" or "ocean" section.
If a child from your group has no vacation pictures to add to the mural, let him/her look through travel magazines to find places he/she would like to visit and have him/her add the cut out pictures to the corresponding sections.
Have a great summer vacation and have fun with the children in your group all summer long!
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