Themed Days We had days that were held once a week, here are a few of the ideas:
Water Day (outside fun) Children bring in bathing suit, towel, super soakers, water toys and sunscreen Provide the children with sprinklers to play in. Spray the kids gently with the hose. Provide buckets and paint brushes for the children to paint with water. Bring the water table outside Provide the children with filled water balloons to throw at each other. It is best to do this in an area that is not used by younger children, as the remains of balloons can become a chocking hazard. Have the children bring in super soakers and have a water fight. Supply the children with sponges and buckets of water to have a sponge fight. Organize a car wash.
Ice Cream Day Provide the children with ice cream (vanilla is usually best) sprinkles, chocolate syrup, cherries, caramel, fudge, food coloring, whipped cream, nuts (if no allergies), crushed candy bars, mini m&m's, skittles, etc Allow the children to create their own ice cream sundae.
Wheels Day Have the children bring in bikes, scooters, skates, or skateboards to ride around. We blocked off our parking lot to allow the children to use this space for riding, we had a circular drive that worked great. Be sure parent's include protective gear as well.
We had two groups of children in our program. One group went on field trips on Mondays and Wednesday and the other went on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The same field trip was repeated on two days in a row, if you have a large number of children in your program, this may cut down on your travel expenses.
Now for the places:
McDonalds or Burger King Play areas, be sure to have lunch there.
Ice cream stand for an afternoon snack
Police Station Tour
Fire Station Tour
Jeepers, Chuckie Cheeze (Pizza and Games)
Concert in the Park
Novelty Restaurant (Hard Rock Cafe, Rainforest Cafe)
Fast Food Lunch
Hands on Museums
Sports at the local park
Indoor sports center
Borders or other book store that will cater to groups of children
Indoor play area at the mall
go on a bug hunt
You can also bring people to your center for in house field trips:
I found the staff and parents to be the best resource for in house field trips. Maybe one of your parents is a fire fighter and can bring in a fire truck, or another is a musician and is willing to bring in a few people for a mini concert. Maybe someone coaches soccer and will give lessons for a day.
Make bracelets, necklaces etc with pony bead and plastic thread or yearn. for younger children you can use pipe cleaners. Show them how to make friendship bracelets (can you say busy for hours) Remember the beads on the safety pins, those are fun to make. Have them make paper clip chains.
Teach them how to play a few different card games. Even better are games that do not require the use of all the cards. Something like cheat, or slap jack or war.
Legos can keep them busy for some time, or knex! Especially if you have direction for building specific items.
Sorting anything... have them sort anything, buttons, beads, you name it have them sort it by color shape.. whatever.
they can help you clean toys. Give them an antibacterial wipe and have them wipe down a few toys.
Have them create cards for mom or dad, just to say "I love you" they can use any scrap paper, yarn, whatever to create a card.
Puzzles can keep SA busy too!
Set up karaoke, puppet show or have them do a talent show.
Theme based camp or weeks:
Sports Camp - baseball, basketball, soccer, skating (roller or inline) bike riding (obstacle courses, etc.) Learning the rules of each game, playing them, crafts involving each one, meals - ball shaped food
Circus Camp learning to juggle and perform simple tricks, creating a circus performance - choosing some people to be the animals, clowns, etc. then spending the time to create costumes, the set, etc. Video taping their performance, or doing it live for the parents.
Readers & Writers Camp - reading stories the kids choose - together, and discussing them. Each child writes & illustrates a story, I print them up & we make covers & bind them.
Science Camp - all kinds of science experiments, from books & the web, and then we create our own. Lots of take home activities with this one.
Cooking Camp - the kids will help make the lunches & snacks for the week - learning to measure, follow recipes, etc. The last day they'll all bake something special to take home.
Magic Camp - learning magic tricks - putting on a magic show for the parents on the last day
Music/Dance Camp - create our own instruments, write a couple of silly songs, choreograph our own dance routines and perform for the parents.
Beach Camp - making kites, going to the beach to fly them, playing beach volleyball, going swimming, learning about water safety,
Construction/Craft Camp -learning about tools, making a coat rack or bird house, or something with screwdrivers, hammers & nails, maybe using a saw? - crafty half is harder to make fun for the boys on this one though...I've got tons of beads, etc. to keep the girls happy - but there's only one of me, and even if I separated the two groups, I couldn't supervise both properly.
Animal Camp - not sure how to make this fun without being too expensive (trip to the zoo or humane society (what parents would like that idea anyway?) or the pet stores) but I thought it was a fun idea - crafts galore available, food/menu ideas are easy enough