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Ideas for a Vacation Theme in Your Preschool Classroom

written by: Tania Cowling•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 11/9/2012

Traveling and seeing the world is a favorite pastime for families, but how much does a preschool child know about taking a vacation? Read on for ideas on a preschool vacation unit in your classroom.

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    Travel Discusssions

    The children in your program may be taking vacations with their families throughout the year. Some teachers find this a disruption, but think of how vacations can enrich your class and the experience of all your students. Ask parents to take photographs of their vacation and to bring back brochures and postcards that represent where they have been. Tell the parents that you would like to feature these learning experiences with the class when their child returns. Plan a bulletin board or special "show and tell" to feature these items. This can be an ongoing part of your curriculum through the year.

    During circle time, discuss vacations with your preschool children. Find out what they already know about taking a vacation with these questions. "Have you been on a vacation? Where did you go? What did you see? What did you take with you? How did you get there?" This is also the time to read books about taking a vacation. Below are a few favorites:

    The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation by Stan & Jan Berenstain [Random House, 1989]

    Strega Nona Takes a Vacation by Tomie dePaola [Puffin, 2003]

    Arthur's Family Vacation by Marc Brown [Little Brown, 1995]

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    Taking a Vacation Song (Music)

    As the children talk about vacations, make sure to discuss the modes of transportation that are used to get to the destination place. This song makes this topic easy. Sing this song to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain."

    Oh we're goin' on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)

    Oh we're goin' on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)Children with Suitcase 

    Oh we're going on a vacation

    Oh we're going on a vacation

    Oh we're going on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)

    Sing the other verses as follows:

    Oh we're going on a vacation on the train (chug a chug)

    Oh we're going on a vacation in our car (honk honk)

    Oh we're going on a vacation in a boat (toot toot)

    (Author Unknown)

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    Packing a Suitcase (Art & Problem Solving)

    Invite preschoolers to make suitcases for their pretend vacation as a part of your preschool vacation theme.:

    1. Provide each child with either folded construction paper, wallpaper sample page, or colorful file folders.
    2. Talk about what they will need to pack for their vacation. Help them decide if they will need warm or cool clothing, sandals or boots, hats or gloves, and any kinds of sports equipment. Don't forget about underwear and sleeping clothes.
    3. Now, pass out old magazines and clothes catalogs and help children to cut out pictures of their vacation wardrobe. Let them glue these pictures inside their vacation folder (suitcase).
    4. Punch two holes at the top of each sheet and thread with ribbon, yarn, or string to make handles.
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    Vacation Clothing Relay Race (Game)

    This game helps children with dressing skills and is loads of fun to play, let alone hilarious to watch. Young children may need help dressing or use very simple clothing items.

    You will need:

    • Suitcases
    • Clothing (a little larger than your children's size)
    • Large area to play (indoors or outdoors)

    How to play:

    1. This game is played in teams of two children each.
    2. Fill the suitcase with several articles of clothing and set it on one side of the space. Have the children lined up on the other side across from the suitcase.
    3. When you say "go" one child runs over to the suitcase and puts on one of the outfits.
    4. He/she runs back to the next child in line. The player takes off the outfit and hands it over to the second child in line. This child puts on the outfit and runs back to the suitcase, takes off the outfit and packs it back in the suitcase.

    Extend the theme throughout the year as children return from vacations sharing their learning experiences from other cities, states, and countries.

References

  • Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/295783827/sizes/m/
  • Source: Personal experience in the classroom.

Travel Preschool Theme

When teaching a travel theme in your preschool class, you can find lesson plans, activities and even book selections for a travel and vacation theme!
  1. Have Preschooler, Will Travel: Lesson Plan for Travel and Vacation
  2. Ideas for a Vacation Theme in Your Preschool Classroom
  3. Preschool Books for a Vacation Theme