The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing and children and teachers across the country are looking forward to the summer holidays. We recently released our new songbook, Songs For Every Summer Assembly, and we know lots of you have been enjoying learning these songs and singing about the joys of summer. With a few weeks left of term, you and your class may well be looking for other ways to get up on your feet and have some fun. Well, we’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled a list of our favourite games for the summer term, to help you bring these songs to life and bring laughter to your classroom as the school year draws to an end.
Playing games with your class develops skills in many areas, such as critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and oracy. Some of the following games can be linked to literacy and numeracy learning goals, whilst giving restless end-of-term kids a chance to burn off some energy and express themselves!
♫ After singing Start The Celebrations from Songs For Every Summer Assembly with your class, discuss ideas for a story set in the summertime. The song has lots of examples of things that we do and places we go to in the summer.
Pick four willing children to be the first storytellers. The teacher, or another child, is the ‘story conductor’ and they always start the story with ‘Once upon a time in the summer…’, before pointing to one of the storytellers to continue the story. From here on, whoever the conductor is pointing to must continue the story. The conductor chooses how long to point to a storyteller for before moving on to another storyteller. It will sound like this:
‘Once upon a time in the summer…’
‘… there was a big dog who…’
‘… ran away from…’
‘… home and ran all the way to the beach where…’
‘… he found a…’
‘… giant ice cream and gobbled it up!’
If the story stops, the non-participating children count down from five – if five seconds pass, then that storyteller is out and another child takes their place.
♫ The First Days Of Summer from Songs For Every Summer Assembly makes a great soundtrack for this game. After learning the song with your class, you can use some of the lines in the song as a starting point for your slideshow. Ask your class: ‘What kind of opportunities might we get in the summertime? Where might we go that we don’t usually go?’
In groups of four or five, children must create three tableaus, each representing a photo of a summer holiday. Give each group their holiday destination. Try making them as varied as possible – the wackier the better (e.g. under the sea, the North Pole, the funfair, the desert)! Once the children have come up with their photo ideas (e.g. swimming with sharks, sunbathing, going on a hike), each group presents a slideshow, with the option of one child introducing each photo. For example, ‘In this photo, a seagull is stealing Adam’s sunglasses!’
Optional game variations:
- In each photo, at least one person must be sitting, standing or lying down.
- Encourage each child to consider the emotion felt by their character and how this changes what they do with their body and their face.
- Older children could adapt this game to create photos from real memories or funny stories!
- For younger children, this can be simplified to one photo per group.
♫ After learning The Grasshopper Song from Songs For Every Summer Assembly, think of some other insects with your class and write them down. What do they look like? How many legs do they have?
Ask the children to walk slowly around the room while calm music plays in the background. When you call out the name of an insect, children get into groups with the correct number of legs. For instance, if a teacher calls out ‘Spider!’, children must get into groups of four (between them, four children have eight legs).
- With younger classes, you can call out ‘Spider – eight legs!’ You can also include visuals so that children can see and count the legs.
- A great variation on this is Monster Feet – monsters can have three heads, or six arms, or ten hands! In this version of the game, the teacher calls out ‘Monsters have… six hands’, etc.
♫ Start The Day With Exercise from Songs For Every Summer Assembly is all about the benefits of getting up and moving. Have a go at this PE game to get your class ‘feeling energized’ and ‘trying something new’, just like the song suggests! You can find warm-up ideas for the game here.
The game begins with all the children sitting on chairs in a big circle, ideally in a large hall. Go around the group giving each child the name of a fruit, with about five different types of fruit in total. Then, sit on a chair in the middle and call out a fruit group (or ask a child to do this) – everybody in that group must find a different chair to sit on as quickly as possible, swapping with others in their fruit group. When children have got the hang of this, mix it up by calling out any number of fruit groups at the same time, e.g. ‘apples, strawberries and pears!’ Finally, add ‘fruit salad’ – this means that all the children must find a new chair to sit on.
Optional game variations:
- You can change the group names to suit another theme, such as a history topic that you are learning about.
- You can make this game competitive by taking a chair away each time or choosing three speedy champions at the end of the game.
♫ In Don’t Forget Your Sun Cream from Songs For Every Summer Assembly, we sing about some of the things we might need to take with us on a sunny day to protect ourselves from the sun. The following game involves an imaginary trip to the beach. Can your class think of anything else we might take?
The game begins with the children sitting in a circle. Explain that we are at the beach and we have a magic bag with us; anything fits in the magic bag! An empty bag is passed around the group and each child shows the class what they’ve brought with them to the beach by pulling their imaginary item out of the bag and bringing it to life, before putting it back and passing the bag on.
Examples: a surfboard – the child stands up, gets on it and surfs around; a pet dog – the child lifts it out carefully and cuddles it gently.
- This game works best when a teacher begins by demonstrating a few examples, and a few confident children are picked to go first.
- Encourage children to think about how the object makes them feel (e.g. happy, tired, excited, frustrated) and how this changes their body language and facial expressions. If you’ve packed a cake, perhaps you feel hungry when you see it – your eyes light up and you lick your lips when you lift it out of the bag!
♫ Buzzing A-round from Songs For Every Summer Assembly is a song of celebration for our fuzzy, buzzy, black-and-yellow friends! After turning your class into a swarm of bees as they sing this song together, you could try this fun bumblebee game. You could even incorporate the song, by playing it aloud as the bees fly around, and pausing it when they need to stop.
Get the children to buzz around the room like bees until you call out a letter and draw it on the board. The children then turn into something beginning with that letter. The teacher can select a few children to tell the rest of the group what they are.
- Set up rules for the bees before playing, such as: bees don’t run, they don’t bump into one another and the only sound they can make is ‘Bzzz’!
- Support your class by discussing ideas for a few letters beforehand. Use these letters first.
- Encourage children to think about their body in space, using words like tall, small, tiny, huge, stretch, shrink and grow.
♫ A Sunny Summer Song from Songs For Every Summer Assembly is a cheery and upbeat song that sets the scene perfectly for a sunny summer holiday. After learning it, why not take your class to the beach with The Beach-Scene Game?
In a large classroom or hall, children take it in turns to join the beach scene as a character or an object, explaining what they are as they join. Each child must link to something already in the scene, however tenuously! It will sound like this…
‘I’m the old man sunbathing.’
‘I’m the seagull trying to steal the old man’s food!’
‘I’m the dog barking at the seagulls.’
‘I’m the girl playing in the sea near the seagulls.’
- With a calm class, you could make the scene ‘come alive’ for five seconds in slow motion.
- You could ask children to think about what they can see, hear, smell, taste or touch in their imaginary scene and choose a few children to share their ideas.
- You can develop this game by trying new destinations.
- You could include all children in the same picture, or you could simplify this game by having fewer children taking part at once and creating two or three different scenes. With a class of thirty, for example, you could play this game three times and create three different scenes, with ten children taking part each time.
We hope these games are a source of smiles for you and your class as you come to the end of the term and celebrate a wonderful year together.
All the songs mentioned in this blog are part of our NEW Songs For EVERY Summer Assembly. You can try all the songs for FREE with a 30-day Sparkyard trial.