Are you teaching summer school, daycare, camp, or learning at home? Keep your kids busy and learning with fun summer music activities for kids.
Some of the links on our site are affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.
The summer months of June and July include many fun and meaningful events that provide inspiration for thematic music activities for kids. You may want to use some of these occasions as themes for your summer learning programs, whether you are teaching music in the classroom, working at a daycare or summer camp, homeschooling, or seeking to keep your children engaged and stimulated throughout the summer break.
With a range of motivational ideas to explore, you are sure to find some joyful and creative music activities in this blog post.
Be joyful. Be creative. Experience music.
What’s in this post? Click to open the Table of Contents
June 2023 Holidays & Observances
The observances below will spark ideas for MANY fun learning opportunities. And, you don’t have to stick to these specific dates. Be flexible. Use these suggestions as a starting point, and let your creativity guide you toward creating a fun and engaging learning experience for your students or children.
- June 1 – Pen Pal Day
- June 2 – National Donut Day
- June 3 – World Bicycle Day/National Trails Day
- June 5 – World Environment Day
- June 6 – D-Day WWII/National Yo-Yo Day
- June 7 – Daniel Boone Day
- June 8 – Best Friends Day/World Ocean Day
- June 9 – Donald Duck Day
- June 11 – King Kamehameha Day
- June 12 – Red Rose Day
- June 14 – Flag Day
- June 18 – Fathers’ Day/Go Fishing Day/International Picnic Day
- June 19 – Juneteenth
- June 21 – First Day of Summer/World Day of Music
- June 27 – National Sun Glasses Day/Bingo Day
- June 28 – Paul Bunyan Day
- June 30 – National Meteor Day
June Monthly Observances
- African American Music Appreciation Month
- National Zoo and Aquarium Month
- National Camping Month
- National Accordion Awareness Month
- National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
- National Oceans Month
- National Rivers Month
June Weekly Observances
- National Fishing and Boating Week – June 3-11
- National Garden Week – June 4-10
July 2023 Holidays & Observances
- July 1 – Canada Day / International Joke Day
- July 4 – Independence Day (U.S.)
- July 7 – World Chocolate Day
- July 10 – Teddy Bear Picnic Day
- July 11 – Cheer up the Lonely Day
- July 12 – National Simplicity Day
- July 13 – Barbershop Music Appreciation Day
- July 14 – Shark Awareness Day
- July 16 – National Ice Cream Day
- July 17 – World Emoji Day 😊
- July 18 – World Listening Day
- July 20 – Moon Day (1969 – the day man first walked on the moon)
- July 22 – National Day of the Cowboy
- July 24 – Cousins Day
- July 29 – International Tiger Day
- July 30 – International Day of Friendship
July Monthly Observances
- National Children Make a Difference Month
- National Ice Cream Month
- National Picnic Month
- National Hot Dog Month
FREE Rhythm Clip Cards with Ice Cream Theme
Need a FUN way to teach or practice simple rhythm patterns using standard music notation? Ice cream “clip it” cards are perfect summer music activities.
These FREE Rhythm Pattern Identification Cards are an engaging, interactive way for kids to practice reading simple rhythm patterns.
If you need more challenging rhythm pattern cards, we’ve got you covered! Our leveled set features 22 sequential Rhythm Pattern Identification Cards designed for Grades K-5.
This graduated set is skillfully differentiated to meet the needs of any elementary music classroom. Whether you’re looking to reinforce foundational skills or stretch your students’ abilities, this set offers an excellent range of complexity and variety.
P.S. Don’t forget the ice cream. 😊
Music Storybooks for Elementary Kids
Down by the Bay
Using storybooks is always a fun way to engage kids and introduce a new song. There are various versions of Down by the Bay, but my personal favorite is by Raffi. One verse that never fails to make my kids giggle is “Did you ever see a llama eating his pajamas?”
Encouraging children to make up their own verses is an excellent way to foster their creativity and imagination while having fun with the song. In our class, we’ve even created our own illustrated books featuring a page from each student. One of our favorite “homemade” verses is “Did you ever see a creature kissing a teacher?” 😊
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
If your students are ready to sing rounds and simple harmonies, Row, Row, Row Your Boat is a classic choice. Younger children will enjoy singing the song in unison. This storybook is an enjoyable way to introduce this traditional tune to your class.
Don’t forget to check your local library for other books that you can read and sing together. Raffi, in particular, has a wonderful series of books that are sure to delight your kids.
Add Virtual or Real Classroom Instruments
Use a phrase of Row, Row, Row Your Boat as a simple Orff-style melodic accompaniment for the song. Or, if your students are more advanced, teach them to play the entire melody. Perform it in unison first. Then, when your kids are ready, play it in a round.
Are you at home without any classroom instruments? Download a free xylophone or free keyboard app or help your kids practice and perform online at Dr. Musik’s Virtual Xylophone below. (This works best if you have a touch screen.)
Have You Tried Garage Band?
If you have an iPad or a Mac computer and your students are up for a challenge, try using GarageBand. Encourage older elementary students to compose and record their own multilayered accompaniments. With GarageBand, the possibilities are endless!
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt
David Axtell’s We’re Going on a Lion Hunt is a spin on the classic camp song, Goin’ on a Bear Hunt. To make the storybook interactive, try reading it in an echo fashion with your students.
Set the tempo by patting “footsteps” on your lap (alternating hands) and then add sound effects and actions to match each part of the story. Encourage your kids to echo you as you make your way through the book. This is a fun and engaging way to bring the story to life and get your students involved in the action.
- Grass – rub hands together
- Lake – swimming arms
- Swamp – stepping hands on lap as if stepping through thick mud
- Cave – tiptoe hands on lap with whisper voices
As you and your students “make your way back home,” increase the tempo of the story to simulate running back home. This adds an exciting sense of urgency to the story.
Summer is Time for Camp Songs
There’s no shortage of enjoyable camp songs that can be used to teach a variety of musical skills, including harmonic singing. While they can all be sung in unison, many camp songs are perfect for introducing simple descants, rounds, and partner songs to your upper elementary students.
In addition, camp songs may be used to create basic rhythmic or melodic Orff accompaniments. For more inspiration on how to use camp songs to develop performance and music reading skills, check out the informative blog posts below.
Online Music Activities for Elementary Kids
Do you need a few quieter afternoon activities to get your children out of the hot summer sun for a little while? Music Literacy Boom Cards provide constructive online learning in an environment that feels like play.
These Boom Cards cover a range of music literacy skills, such as melodic and rhythmic dictation, treble and bass clef note identification, identifying higher/lower, and melodic direction. Plus, there are plenty of Free Music Boom Cards to get you started.
For more information on how to use and assess music reading skills with Boom Cards, be sure to check out the blog post linked below.
Free No-Prep or Low-Prep Summer Music Activities
Think of the following activities as loosely planned PBLs (Project Based Learning). But, don’t do all of the work when introducing the activities. The more planning children take on, the more they will learn.
Sound Scavenger Hunt
To start, ask students to identify and record a variety of sounds from their environment. They could write down a list of sounds or use a device to record them. Then, challenge them to create a classification system for their sounds. For example, they could sort them into categories such as natural versus man-made sounds, different types of animals or insects, or indoor versus outdoor sounds.
With their sounds organized, students can then use them to create a unique piece of music or sound art. Encourage them to be creative and experiment with different ways of arranging the sounds. They could even create a visual representation of their sounds, such as a graphic score or a video collage. Remember to let the students take the lead on this project-based learning activity – the more they plan and create, the more they will learn!
Provide your students with a storybook and have them come up with sound effects to accompany the story. Depending on their age, the sound effects can be created vocally, through body percussion, with “found instruments,” real instruments, or online virtual instruments.
You can find free sound effects on Freesound.org. To make it even more fun, consider recording the performance as an audiobook, a radio show, or a podcast.
Write and Perform a Play
Sometimes, all it takes to overcome summer boredom is a few simple prompts that ignite creativity. Provide your kids with ideas to create their own plays.
They can choose to recreate a well-known storybook or fairy tale with a unique twist, or they can invent an entirely original script. Depending on the level of complexity, you can encourage them to incorporate elements like costumes, staging, and sets. Alternatively, you can opt for a “black-box” style production, utilizing minimal staging and props.
To preserve and share their hard work, consider recording the performance on video. This way, you can save the memories or even share their creation with others.
Puppet Shows May Take Many Different Forms
Children who may be hesitant to perform on stage can often find confidence in acting behind a puppet. Puppets can be as simple as paper cutouts on popsicle sticks or sock puppets with drawn or painted features. Alternatively, puppets can be more elaborate and detailed.
Shadow Puppets – to create a shadow puppet show, drape a white sheet and place a flashlight, lamp, or other light source behind the “actors.”
Host a Recital, Concert, or Talent Show
You can organize a live in-person recital with a small group of friends or family members, or schedule an online performance using Zoom, Google Meet, or another platform. Alternatively, you could also film your live performance and share it online.
Tips for a Successful Recital
To ensure a successful recital, provide your kids with the following guidelines:
- Help them choose a suitable piece of music and stick to their selection.
- Set a date and time for the event and send out invitations or save-the-date announcements.
- Allow enough time for them to refine their performances, but not so much that they lose interest.
- Schedule daily rehearsal time to help them feel confident and ready to perform.
- Provide simple performance tips and rehearsal techniques to guide them.
- Hold a dress rehearsal and record the event to help them overcome performance anxiety.
Encourage kids to stay focused, be confident, and enjoy their performance on the big day.
Film a Movie or Music Video
Making a movie is different from putting on a play since it involves filming scene by scene rather than performing live. During every summer, my cousins would come and stay with us on our farm and we had a tradition of making a movie during their visit. Usually, we did not have a fully formed script when we started filming and the storyline developed as we filmed.
The unpredictable plot twists and turns of our movie projects led to some unique and imaginative finished products which were often inspired by the costumes and props we could gather up. Take a deep dive into your closets and find some existing props and costumes. Then give your kids pencils and paper to see what they create.
We still cherish those videos as family keepsakes. Don’t assume that your kids have outgrown this activity. We’re now on our second generation of movie-making, though admittedly not as frequent as before. Nowadays, our children are the ones taking the lead roles.
Whether you’re in a school or home setting, guide your aspiring “movie stars” and begin shooting!
Chrome Music Lab
Encourage students to explore and experiment with the fun features of Chrome Music Lab. The Song Maker feature allows them to create their own songs. They can also create lyrics or use an existing poem or story and set it to music.
Encourage kids to use their creations as background music for plays, films, or puppet shows. Or they could present them as part of a recital or talent show.
Summer is for Being Creative
Everyone’s summer break looks different. However you are spending your summer, make time to be creative. Music activities for elementary students, middle school, and even adults can be the highlight of their summer days.
Be joyful. Be creative. Experience music.
More Fun Activities for Summertime and Beyond
Below are dinner-time games and music video activities that we have gathered for you. Enjoy!
Summer Teacher Resources
- Free Lesson Planning Charts When You Subscribe to Our Newsletter
- 9 Summer Lesson Planning Tips for the Exhausted Elementary Music Teacher
- Simplify Elementary Music Lesson Plans with FREE Yearly Planning Charts
- Back to School Elementary Ideas and Activities
Meet the Author
Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.
She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.