The Traveling Spark Station – Summer Learning Fun

by Mary Ann on May 16, 2011


summer play fun picture

Maggie, Ezril, Sybil, Oaklan, Jack

When I went to the library a few weeks ago I saw a stand with lots of books on summer. It was a treasure trove! So I checked out about 8 books and brought them home for the Traveling Spark Station.

Children LOVE to read about new things

The children loved reading the books. In fact, they usually pull those out first. See the list below. We talked all about what happens in the summer, what the weather is like, what we wear, and where we go. We learned that people sweat and dogs pant. A bit later in the day Jack said to me, “Whew, I am sweating grandma”, as he wiped his hand across his brow. We hadn’t even gone out side yet. : )

In the Traveling Spark Station we  had lots of stuff for bubbles. There was a recipe for making your own, as well as the store bought kind. We blew bubbles with giant wands, tiny wands and battery operated bubble blowers. I had straws to blow bubbles in a pan of soapy water.

summer craft picture

Summer is for creating

It was a windy day and the bubbles blew everywhere. We pretended to be bubbles and we blew everywhere.

I found some other wonderful bubble activity ideas which we didn’t have time for. See below.

After making bubbles we read another book which showed a picture of

girl with sparkler photo

Maggie loved the sparklers

fireworks. This was wonderful because in their families Master

Plan is a trip to Yellowstone Park. This year they are going to Yellowstone on their way to Laurel, MT for an absolutely unique and exciting fireworks event. That little town (where we used to live) grows from 10,000 to about 40,000 on the Fourth of July.

They have been talking about this Laurel/Yellowstone trip for a few months

boy with sparkler photo

Preparing for the Fourth of July because “It’s Summer”!

and the children are very excited. So we talked about the vacation. Then Jodie came out with some of last years fireworks and we lit sparklers. This part was great and unplanned.

We took a walk to the community gardens, just a few blocks away. We had a “summer”

picnic of water, dates, raisins and graham crackers. (I really do believe in keeping it simple!) We talked about the garden their family is going to plant and then watched a woman plant hers.

I had a wonderful summer craft, hand print suns,  planned but we had so much fun on our walk that we just ran out of time so we did it a few days later.

There were so many other things that I had in The traveling Spark Station that we just never got to. I want to make sure that you have them and then you can stretch this topic over a few weeks. Also here are some summer fun ideas and activities for older learners.

1. Take a walk to the park; play on the equipment, feed the ducks. Go for a family bike ride.  Go to the public swimming pool for a family outing. Be sure and take dad! Plan a camping trip or trip to the beach.

Summer is for water fun

2. Plant some seeds in your garden or in a pot for the window sill.

3. Here is asite where you can get quite a number of coloring pages, puzzles and mazes.  You can talk about different things people do in the summer depending on where they live.

Summer if for smelling flowers

4. Talk about summer sun safety.

5. Want to get some writing in? Print off this fun summer paper and write to grandma or make a list of “to do’s” for an outing or trip. Put a number of pages in a binder and create a fun summer journal.

6. Add bubble bath to a plastic basin of water. Give the kids a hand-held whisk and let them whip up a bunch of bubbles! This is a great opportunity to clean all those kids toys that get so grungy. Give your kids a few old rags, a scrub brush and an old toothbrush. Let them clean away.

7. Find some bubble wrap and pop bubbles! Cut some round shapes out of the bubble wrap and paint one side, then  make bubble prints on a  piece of paper.

8. Make a bubbly bottle toy. Half fill a plastic bottle with water. Add some food coloring and a really good slug of liquid detergent. Paint some glue around the top of the bottle before screwing on the cap and leaving to dry. Now shake!

9. Interested in a bit of science? Try catching a bubble on a wet finger, and then on a dry finger. It should be much easier if your finger is wet. Why? Bubbles pop particularly easily when they are touched by something dry, because the dry object can take away some of the bubble’s water! A bubble is less likely to pop if it’s touched by something wet than by something dry.

popping a bubble picture

Why won’t a “wet” nail pop a bubble?

10. What is a bubble and does it pop from the top or the bottom?

11. Did you know you can freeze a bubble and then pick it up and look at it more closely.

kids blowing bubbles pics

Summer is for sliding and blowing bubbles Sybil, Jack, Oaklan

12. Want to make colored bubbles that you can really see and that won’t stain?

13. Did you know there is somethig called an antibubble? It is the opposite of a bubble.

14. Did you know that in mathmatics, a minimal surface is a surface with a mean curvature of zero? A bubble is an excellent example of a minimal surface. Hmmmm I would definitely have to do some research on this!

15. Here are a couple of math worksheets to add to your Spark Station. Just remember, inspire not require.

Summer is for playing school

16. Did you know that Bubbles can be effectively used to teach and explore a wide variety of concepts to even young children? Try flexibility, color formation, reflective or mirrored surfaces, concave and convex surfaces, transparency, a variety of shapes (circle, square, triangle, sphere, cube, tetrahedron, hexagon), elastic properties, and comparative sizing. Bubbles are useful in teaching concepts starting from 2 years old. Just Google any of these words to find out more.

17. Here is another great summer craft, a daffodil pin wheel.

pinwheel daffodil picture

A daffodil pinwheel – learn about wind!

18. Get some paint brishes and a container of water and “paint” pictures on the driveway. Put these supplies in your Spark Station.

19. Build a fort  and sleep outside.

20. Make some summer fun food such as ants on a log, with celery, peanut butter and raisins. Now learn about ants. Find some and watch them. Talk about how their “family” is set up.

Have fun sharing the joys of summer with your family.

The books I used:

What Kind of Day Is It? A Hot Day by Lola Schaefer

Summer Fun by Jennifer Waters

Mama Is It Summer Yet by Nikki McClure

Summer by  Tanya Thayer

I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling by Lauren Child

The Nature and Science of Summer by Jane Burton and Kim Taylor

It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser

Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse



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