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Thursday, June 29, 2023

July Play Activity Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers + Free Play Calendar PDF

I'm putting together monthly play activity schedules to make it easy for you to create a month of fun for your kids at home or in the classroom, every month of the year. The July play calendar focuses on fireworks, shark, emotions and dinosaur themed ideas for toddlers, preschoolers and school kids. The activities include a mix of art and craft, sensory, science and play ideas as well as books to read aloud during the month.

Each activity is explained in detail below, including how you can extend or adjust the activity based on your child's age. You can also download our free interactive July activity calendar pdf with links to instructions for every activity to save for future reference.

july play calendar


This play activity calendar includes activities that can easily be done using items from around your home {or classroom} and you can substitute items to make it suit what you have on hand. If you want to be fully prepared I've set up an Amazon supply list that includes all of the main items needed for every activity during July.

There are no activities listed for weekends as they can be used for free play/family time or to catch up on activities you may have missed during the week. Below you will find detailed explanations of each activity as well as how to modify them for children of different ages and some extension activities you can do if you're looking for additional ideas.

At the bottom of this post you'll also be able to download a copy of the interactive July play calendar PDF which includes direct clickable links to all of the activities featured in this months calendar.

Salt Painted Fireworks

Kids will love being able to create their own bright, bursting fireworks at home with this fun process art activity that also involves a little bit of science. Salt painting is a great fine motor workout for kids as they need to squeeze out glue and then either drop paint on with a pipette or carefully brush paint onto the salt. Find out how we did our salt painted fireworks at home.

salt painted fireworks

Alternative idea:

Toilet Paper Roll Painted Fireworks. If you have younger children it will be easier for them to make fireworks with toilet paper roll stamps as there's less fine motor movements involved.


Daniel's First Fireworks {Read Aloud}

The first time you see fireworks can be a little scary. They're bright and loud. Boom, boom, boom! Daniel learns that they can be pretty too. Sometimes new things can be scary, but when something is new holding a hand can help you.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

daniel tigers first fireworks book


Fireworks In A Jar Science Experiment

Another way to create the colourful magic of fireworks, without the loud noise and sensory overload, is by making fireworks in a jar. All you need is oil, water and food colouring. Follow our step by step instructions to make fireworks in a jar.

red and blue fireworks in a glass science experiment

Additional Ideas:

More 4th of July Science Experiments. If your kids love this science experiment, check out our post of 4th of July science experiments and stem activities for more red, white and blue science activities. 

Fireworks Sensory Bottle

This fireworks sensory bottle is super simple to put together, you'll only need some pipe cleaners, pom poms and baby oil. Even though the fireworks won't burst or explode, kids will have lots of fun putting the bottle together and watching the fireworks float around.

DIY fireworks sensory bottle


Fireworks Cupcake Liner Craft

Making fireworks with cupcake liners is a fun way for children to practice scissor skills and gluing. If you use a glue stick it's a relatively mess free craft. Once they've dried they can be displayed on an art wall or as a classroom display.

fireworks craft made with cupcake liners

Feed The Shark Game

This shark feeding game is a fun colour sorting activity that can be made with the free shark printable and some toilet paper rolls or cardboard tubes. This is a great way to reinforce colours with young children and can be used to practice social skills if played with a group of children.

feed the shark printable game

Extension Idea:

Add some red, yellow, blue and green dot stickers to a dice and get the children to roll the dice to see which colour they should feed the sharks. See which colour fish get eaten first! This is a great way to turn the game into a game of chance.


Shark Sensory Bottle

Celebrate shark week by creating this really simple shark sensory bottle. You'll need an empty bottle, some water, food colouring, sand and a shark toy. If you don't have any sand don't worry you can always leave that out.

shark sensory bottle


Shark Craft

This shark craft is a fun mixed media art piece that children can make with coloured paper and tissue paper. Download the free shark template here then follow the instructions to layer your picture. You could add shell stickers or gems to the bottom if you don't have any real shells.

shark mixed media craft

Shark Buoyancy Science Experiment

You can show children how sharks float with this simple and effective shark buoyancy experiment. Before you do the experiment ask your kids whether they think sharks can float and why they think that. Then use the bottles in the experiment to demonstrate how and why sharks can float.

how do sharks float? Buoyancy science experiment


Smiley Shark {Read Aloud}

Smiley shark is the smiliest and sunniest, the friendliest and funniest, the biggest and toothiest of all the fish. 

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

smiley shark book cover

Free Emotions Playdough Mats

Download and use our free emotions playdough mats to introduce children to different emotions - how they manifest through facial expressions and actions, and discuss ways they can manage them. The set comes with 6 emoji flashcards of common emotions which can be used with playdough or displayed as a poster in a calm down corner.

free printable emotions playdough mats

Alternative Idea:

Emotions Mega Bundle. If your kids love these emotions playdough mats and you want more options, or a larger set for a classroom, check out my emotions playdough mega bundle which includes 22 different inclusive blank face templates and 12 emoji flashcards.


The Color Monster {Read Aloud}

The Color Monster is a great way for children to learn how to unjumble and identify their emotions by assigning each one a different colour.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the animated story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

the color monster book cover

Extension Idea:

Draw Colour Monsters. After reading the book get your children to draw their own colour monster on a piece of paper and colour it in with the correct colour for how they're feeling today. Use the feeling colours mentioned in the book.


Emotion Tubes Science Activity

Another fun way to explore emotions with colour is to do this fun emotion tubes science activity. This activity visually links certain emotions with specific colours and is a simple twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar science experiment. It's also a great way to use up recycled materials like toilet paper rolls or empty paper towel tubes.

Emoji Emotions Craft

Use this free template to create emoji faces. Kids can follow the example faces, or mix and match the template pieces to create their own emoji. If you're doing this with a group of younger kids I recommend cutting out the individual template pieces beforehand to save time.

paper plate emoji craft


DIY Emotions Egg Game

Create your own emotion eggs with some plastic Easter eggs. You can use these printable egg flashcards as a guide to create your emotion eggs. Mix and match the tops and bottoms of different emotion eggs to create new emotions and come up with names for them.

diy emotions egg game

Dinosaur Footprints

A really fun and super simple way to play with dinosaurs is to stomp them in playdough. Kids can explore the texture and shapes footprints they make and how the footprints are different for each dinosaur.

dinosaur footprints in playdough

Alternative idea:

Painting with dinosaurs. Make abstract artwork by dipping dinosaur feet into paint then stamping the paint onto paper. 


Playdough Dinosaur Eggs

Hatching eggs are so much fun for kids, it's just like opening a surprise egg and finding a toy inside. Playdough eggs are the easiest hatching eggs to make and the easiest for kids to use as they still provide some resistance and fine motor work, but they're stretchy and easy to pull apart.

dinosaur eggs made from playdoh

Alternative Idea:

Other hatching eggs. If your children want to explore other types of hatching eggs you can find out how to make eggs out of clay, mud, coffee grounds and ice in this post.


Real Dinosaur Egg Small World

If your kids loved hatching dinosaurs out of playdough eggs then they'll be super excited to hatch baby dinosaurs out of real eggs in this dinosaur egg small world. You'll need to carefully collect and prep some egg shells before doing this activity {make sure you follow the instructions in the post so they'll work with the dinosaurs}. You'll also need some mini dinosaur figurines and some nature items.

Please make sure there are no egg allergies before doing this activity. I recommend doing this activity outside as it can get messy if the kids are overly enthusiastic with the mud.

dinosaur egg small world tray with real eggs

Alternative idea:

Chocolate dirt. If you don't want this activity to be as messy then instead of making wet chocolate mud, make dry chocolate dirt, follow the recipe in this post.

I'm a Dirty Dinosaur {Read Aloud}

Follow dirty dinosaur as he sniffs, snuffs, shakes, taps, stamps and slides about in the mud. 

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

I'm a dirty dinosaur book cover

Extension Idea:

Dirty Dinosaur Small World. Set up a really simple I'm a dirty dinosaur small world with 2 tubs. In one side fill it with cocoa powder for dirt, then in the other put water. Children can get the dinosaur dirty in the dirt then clean him off in the swamp.


Fizzy Dinosaur Eggs

Making fizzy dinosaur eggs is a fun, simple science experiment that also involves a fine motor workout and some magic as children dissolve the eggs to reveal the dinosaur. Follow the instructions to make fizzy dinosaur eggs here.

fizzy dinosaur eggs


Dinosaur Ice Activity

Your kids can become real life palaeontologists and carefully excavate dinosaurs from ice with this simple dinosaur ice rescue. Use small hammers or rocks to crack the ice or dissolve it with warm water and salt.

mini dinosaur figurines frozen in ice.


Click the download now button below to download the interactive PDF file. Each image on the PDF calendar can be clicked to go directly to the instructions for the individual activity.

Please note that this activity calendar PDF is for personal or classroom use only and may not be shared, electronically uploaded or sold on any platform. If you would like to share or feature the calendar in a blog post please link back to this post directly.

finding myself young july play calendar activities for kids

download play calendar here

july play ideas calendar for toddlers and preschoolers

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

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