Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Summer 2010

Meeting Point: Latest From Lovaas

Summer Peer Play

By Stefanie Knaus
Lovaas Institute – Sacramento

The summer months are a great time to get children outdoors and playing with friends. Here are a few simple ideas for peer play activities that require very little preparation, but are sure to be a lot of fun!

Lemonade Stand

Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned lemonade stand. Kids can help make the lemonade or it can be made in advance (don't forget to use a plastic pitcher)! Make a sign with a large piece of cardboard and a marker. Set up your stand on the sidewalk or in the driveway. An adult should be present to facilitate "advertising," pouring the lemonade, collecting money, and prompting conversation between the peers and with customers.

Sidewalk Chalk

Grab a big bucket of sidewalk chalk and a friend and head outside. Things to try:

  • Hopscotch
  • Draw a path and play Follow the Leader down it
  • Trace each other's body outlines
  • "Pictionary" – takes turns drawing and guessing the picture

Treasure Hunt

Hide clues around the house and yard. Clues can be simple pictures, written words, or even riddles. Peers should work together to find their way to each clue along their journey to the treasure. Ideas for treasure might include: a favorite snack, a table set with the next activity, small toys, balsa wood airplanes, etc.

Water Painting

Fill a bucket with water and give the children paintbrushes, sponges, or washcloths and send them outside. They can "paint" water pictures on the fence, the windows, or the side of the house. The warm sunshine will do the clean up!

Bug Hunt

Build a terrarium for bugs using a mason jar or pick up an inexpensive bug house (check your local Dollar Store). If you are making your own, an adult should poke holes in the lid to provide air to the bugs. Fill the bug house with some outdoor greens like grass, twigs, rocks, and leaves. Then, go on a hunt for bugs and collect them in the bug house. It is probably a good idea to help the children release their "pets" at the end of the play date or at the end of the day. For older children, you can help them to identify the bugs by looking through an insect book or by typing the bug's distinguishing characteristics into an internet search engine.

Car Wash

Do you have a car or a bicycle that needs a little washing? Kids love to play in water. Put them in swimsuits and let them wash a car or bicycle with a bucket of sudsy water and sponges! Watch out when it's time to rinse the car; you may not want them to hold the hose if you're nearby!

Scavenger Hunt

Give children a list of items to collect from around the house or yard. Provide a bucket, bag, or box for them to place each item. The list can include written words or pictures of items. To promote additional conversation, provide each child with a different list and encourage them to help each other find the objects on each list.

A few other ideas:

  • Fly a Kite
  • Play Tag in the Sprinklers
  • Water Balloon fight
  • Kickball

Do you have an experience with a creative format to typical programming? Share them with us here

The names of all children in this newsletter have been changed in respect for family confidentiality.


Where's My Hand! Say, "give me five" but lose your hand in your sleeve – have child help you find it and then lose the other hand.

Keep It Up! Cooperate keeping one balloon floating in the air.

Bubble Gum Bubble! Blow a big bubble of bubble gum and pop it with a big pop.

Macarena! Dance the Macarena. Learn all the moves in gross-motor imitation and build it together.

Kick the Can! Play kick the can by racing to be the first one to kick the can over. The child doesn't know which trial you'll let him go on, so you've got a head start. The anticipation of trying to race you keeps his attention at a peak. (But don't cheat by going when he's not attending!)




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