Fun in the Summer Sun With Clifford!
Emphasize safe summertime play and responsibility with these summery activities.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
Woof! Woof! The focus of this lesson is to emphasize safe summertime play and responsibility with activities that support social skills through reading, language, and cognitive thinking.
Clifford's Big Ideas: Play Fair and Be Responsible
Reinforcing acceptable behavior in situations where a child has to give or take to get along with someone else is great experience for the challenges that all children face as they grow. Becoming a responsible person comes from observation and practice, and recognition for good efforts gives children pride and reinforces good habits for future efforts.
The following activities nurture essential:
- language and literacy skills
- social and emotional skills
- cognitive thinking skills
- creative expression skills
- Clifford Keeps Cool by Norman Bridwell
- Yard-length ruler
- 3-foot piece of white paper
- Markers, colored pencils, or crayons
- Plain drawing paper
- Plain index cards to create food items
- Laminate or lamination machine for laminating food items
- Posterboard or chart paper for the menu board
- Paper plates, one per student
- Plastic spoons
Day 1: Story Time Line!
Step 1: Ask children to identify what they do to cool off during hot weather: swimming, playing in the water hose or sprinkler, standing near a fan, cooling off in the shade, drinking extra amounts of water, eating ice cream, etc.
Step 2: Read Clifford Keeps Cool by Norman Bridwell aloud to the class.
Step 3: Ask children why Clifford was so hot and what he did to cool down.
Step 4: Help children identify safety issues during summertime activities. Stress the importance of being responsible and playing fair to keep activities safe and fun.
Step 5: Make a time line of story events from Clifford Keeps Cool using a ruler and a 3 ft. piece of white paper. Mark main events and ask children to orally express the details of what happened. Add details in writing.
Step 6: Have children illustrate and color original pictures of Clifford's antics to keep cool. Glue the students' pictures onto the time line.
Step 7: Review the elements of the story: setting, characters, events, and ending.
Step 8: Before ending the time line work, create new titles that could also support Clifford's efforts to keep cool!
Day 2: Practice Picnic!
Set Up and Prepare
- Prepare enough laminated food items to build each child's plate equally: 1 hamburger patty, 2 buns, 1 leaf of lettuce, 2 onion slices, 3 tomatoes, 4 pickles, 5 chips, 1 serving of baked beans or potato salad per student
- Prepare a large menu board showing children the number of items needed to fill their plates, including ants (real raisins to munch on!).
Step 1: Explain to children that they are going to fill their own picnic plate with the correct number of food items for a practice picnic, including the ants!
Step 2: Review playing fair by encouraging students to not cut in line.
Step 3: Serve real juice, eat raisins, and talk about good manners. Don't forget napkins and plastic spoons.
Step 4: Practice being responsible by sorting food items and cleaning up picnic area.
It takes good planning and preparation to get ready for summertime activities!
- Create a center with vacation supplies: play iron, clothes, different kinds of suitcases, accessories like umbrellas, hats, sunglasses, maps, car keys, tickets, etc. Have children pretend they are getting ready for a summer vacation by ironing, folding, and packing!
- Plan a real classroom summertime picnic. Involve parents and caretakers. Include water activities with baby pools, sprinklers, and beach balls to end the school year in a fun, memorable way! Use this opportunity to learn about health issues like water safety and sun exposure.
Helping children learn to read is one of the greatest joys of teaching. Make sure that your classroom has a comfortable place for children to do pleasure reading and explore books. Talk about stories, use story words in oral and written language, use book illustrations to model story telling, and encourage children to create stories by "pretend" reading. There's so much to learn and so much to gain when young minds discover they can go anywhere and be anything with the turn of a page!
These books support Clifford's Big Ideas and reinforce early literacy skills:
- Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell
- Clifford the Big Red Dog: The Missing Beach Ball by Norman Bridwell and Sonali Fry
Also check out the Clifford the Big Red Dog Book List.