« Back to News

June 22, 2015

Differentiation Guide: Carnival Days

10394047_10203029101552658_5920915964641156967_n_10*Please note* This blog is intended for campers (ages 3+) but toddler teachers may find some ideas easy to adapt. Toddler teachers are also encouraged to review the toddler-specific differentiation ideas found in the Curriculum Notes.

As we wind down our summer fun and transition into the new school year, it’s important to reflect on all of the special moments and favorite activities campers cherished most and the friendships they grew along the way. This week is dedicated to revisiting lots of favorites through a carnival theme. The activities, group games, and all day centers should be celebration of what this year’s class loved most.

The suggested activities this week refer to carnival-esque games such as ring toss, tic-tac-toe, balloon experiments, and parachute games. Most of these options are popular summer play-based activities adapted to complement the carnival theme. Here are some ways to extend and simplify, differentiating the needs of your classroom.


Tic Tac Toss – This seemingly simple activity can be adapted in lots of fun and interesting ways – maintaining momentum and excitement all week long. Here’s how!

  • Start off simply for young campers, playing into their interests byphoto 3_8584 providing an assortment of throw-able objects to add a gross motor challenge. Balloons filled with rice/sand, painted paper plate frisbees, and stick people with parachutes (created with pipe cleaners, yarn, and paper towels) could be silly but appealing options in addition to traditional
    bean bags.
  • Older campers may enjoy a full blown tournament bracket, officially prepared on poster board (with a lottery for position of course!). They too may enjoy the throw-able assortment of objects. Add another curve ball by setting up a vertical tic-tac-toss with mural paper on the fence with water-paint filled balloons!


Circus Claymation – Making movies with play dough may seem like an impossible feat, but most youngsters’ are intrigued by the idea of combining tablets with play dough. The provided links in your lesson plans are a great resource for building interest and introducing the idea.

  • Simplify for Leap campers or those hesitant due to the complexity by helping them make very simply characters to start (a circle, a snowman, and a snake) and then have them hide under a table while you record them putting on a show. Watch back together, then invite them to take turns recording.
  • Amplify by encouraging school age campers to make mini-movies either in small groups or individually. Convert the “slide show” suggested by the lesson plan into movie by using a second tablet to record the slideshow. This video can then be extended further by adding it to a scrapbook app!


Technology Focus:  Sparklefish Laugh Contest – Kick up some giggles and extend Wednesday’s thematic center with a sparklefish laugh contest. Utilize this app to not only boost silliness, but build vocabulary and technology skills as well. Create cooperative small groups of campers with the challenge of creating a sparklefish mad lib together that will have the rest of their classmates rolling. The sillier the better! Each team will play their mad lib to the whole group, while a team of “judges” listen closely and determine which presentation received the most laughter for a special prize.