The months of June and July have many fun and somewhat quirky observances. Many of these lend themselves to fun thematic music activities for elementary students. Consider using a few of these observances to build your summer activities around.
Whether you are teaching at a daycare, summer camp, online music classes, or learning at home, you are sure to find several fun themes that you will want to incorporate into your plans. Read on.
June Holidays & Observances
- June 3 – Repeat Day
- June 4 – National Doughnut Day
- June 5 – Hot Air Balloon Day / World Environment Day/National Trails Day
- June 6 – D-Day WWII / National Yo-Yo Day / National Trails Day
- June 8 – Best Friends Day / World Ocean Day
- June 9 – Donald Duck Day
- June 12 – Red Rose Day
- June 14 – Flag Day
- June 18 – Go Fishing Day / International Picnic Day
- June 19 – Juneteenth
- June 20 – Fathers’ Day / First Day of Summer
- June 21 – International Music Day
- June 27 – Sun Glasses Day
- June 28 – Paul Bunyan Day
- June 30 – Meteor Day
June Monthly Observances
- Aquarium Month
- National Accordion Awareness Month
- National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
- Rose Month
June Weekly Observances
- National Bike Week – May 30-June 5
- Fishing & Boating Week – June 5-13
- National Garden Week, June 6 – 12
- Lightning Safety Awareness Week – June 20-26
July Holidays & Observances
- July 1 – Canada Day / International Joke Day / National Postal Worker Day
- July 4 – Independence Day (U.S.)
- July 5 – Build A Scarecrow Day
- July 10 – Teddy Bear Picnic Day
- July 11 – Cheer up the Lonely Day / National Blueberry Muffins Day
- July 13 – Barbershop Music Appreciation Day
- July 14 – Bastille Day / Shark Awareness Day
- July 16 – World Snake Day
- July 17 – World Emoji Day
- July 18 – National Ice Cream Day
- July 20 – Moon Day (a reminder of the first day that man walked on the moon in 1969)
- July 24 – Cousins Day
- July 24 – National Day of the Cowboy
- July 29 – International Tiger Day
- July 30 – International Day of Friendship
July Monthly Observances
- National Blueberry Month
- National Hot Dog Month
- National Ice Cream Month
- National Picnic Month
Storybooks – Music Activities for Elementary Students
Down by the Bay
Using storybooks is always a fun way to introduce a new song. There are several different versions of Down by the Bay. I have two different storybooks, but my preference is this one by Raffi. My favorite verse is “Did you ever see a llama eating his pajamas?”
Actually, my favorite part of this song/story is making up our own verses at the end. My students have gotten very creative with this song. We have even made our own class books including an illustrated page from each student.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
If your students are ready to sing rounds, Row, Row, Row Your Boat is a staple. Your younger students will enjoy singing it in unison. If the song is new for younger students, this storybook is a fun one to introduce the song. Once again, there are several different versions of this storybook. This version I have is by Iza Trapani.
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell is an adaptation of the old camp favorite, Goin’ on a Bear Hunt. This storybook can be read in an echo fashion. Set the tempo by patting the footsteps on your lap, one hand at a time. And, add the sound effects and actions for each area you travel through.
- Grass – rub hands together.
- Lake – swimming arms.
- Swamp – stepping hands on lap as is stepping through thick mud.
- Cave – tiptoe hands on lap with whisper voices.
As you “make your way back home,” increase the tempo as if running or hurrying back home.
Do you need online e-books for kids? Check out this post about using TumbleBooks for Elementary Music.
Summer is Time for Camp Songs
There are SO many fun camp songs that can teach a variety of music skills. All may be sung in unison. But, many camp songs lend themselves to learning simple harmonic singing as well. Some have simple descants while others may be sung in rounds or as partner songs.
Camp songs also lend themselves to creating simple rhythmic or melodic Orff accompaniments. Need some ideas for using camp songs? Check out these two blog posts.
Online Music Activities for Elementary Students | Music Literacy Boom Cards
Do you need some online activities to assign via distance learning or just some quieter afternoon activities for your children to get inside and out of the hot summer sun? Click to preview these Music Literacy Boom Cards.
Sets, or decks as they are called on Boom, include melodic and rhythmic dictation, treble and bass clef note name identification, higher/lower note identification, melodic direction, identification of rhythmic and melodic patterns, and more. This collection includes many FREE sets to help you get started.
Yes, Boom Cards can be a valuable tool to help develop real music reading skills. Click to read the post below to see a round-up post with a collection of various music literacy Boom Cards.
No-Prep/Low-Prep Music Activities for Elementary Ages and Beyond
Don’t do all of the work when introducing these activities. The more of the planning the children take on, the more they will learn. Think of these activities as loosely planned PBLs (Project Based Learning).
Sound Scavenger Hunt
Students may simply write a list of found sounds or use a device to record them. Ask students to devise some kind of classification system for their sounds. Some examples might be natural/man-made sounds, birds/mammals/insects/amphibians, night sounds/morning sounds, inside/outside sounds, kitchen percussion/natural percussion, etc. Can they create a piece of music with these sounds?
Give students a storybook and ask them to create sound effects to go with the story. Depending on the age of children, these sounds could be created vocally, be created as body percussion, or by using “found instruments.” They could be “found sounds” in nature or be recorded online sounds. Record the performance as an audiobook.
Write and Perform a Play
Children may recreate an existing storybook or fairy tale with an original twist or come up with their own unique script. Depending on how elaborate you want the project to be, you may want to prompt them to include costuming, staging, sets, etc. Or, you may want to perform a “black-box” style production using minimal staging and props. Video the performance to save or share.
Many children who are reluctant to hop “on stage” and act in front of others will take on another persona behind a puppet. Puppets can be as simple as paper puppets or they may be very elaborate creations.
Host a Recital, Concert, or Talent Show
Getting together online for performances has become very popular recently. Contact a few friends or family members and set up a live online performance using Zoom, Google Meet, or another online platform.
Giving kids a goal and a date to work towards provides focus. Be sure to give them enough time to refine their performances, but not so much time that they lose interest. Help them schedule practice/rehearsal time each day.
Film a Movie or Music Video
This is a little different from a play because a movie will be filmed scene by scene. A play should be able to be presented live.
Every summer, my cousins would come and spend several weeks on our farm. We had a tradition of making a movie during every visit. The script was usually not thought completely through and developed as we filmed. And, don’t think your children are too old for this. We are still making movies although admittedly not as many. Our children are the stars now.
The twists and turns our “plots” would take made for some unusual and creative final projects. They were usually loosely based around the costuming and props we could scrounge up. Gather up some existing props, costumes, and some pencils and paper. Then, see what develops. We still LOVE watching those videos. They are family keepsakes!
Chrome Music Lab
Students may explore and experiment with all the fun features of Chrome Music Lab. Encourage them to create their own songs with the Song Maker feature. They may even want to create lyrics or use an existing poem and set it to music. They may use their creations as background music for plays, films, or puppet shows. Or, maybe it could be presented as a part of a recital or talent show.
Summer is for Being Creative
Summer is going to look different this year, both at home, at camp, and at school if your district is able to offer summer classes. However you are spending your summer, make time to be creative. Music activities for elementary students, middle school, and adults too can be the highlight of their days. Be joyful. Be creative. Experience music.