Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about summer. It is designed to complement the Summer topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

This movie explores summer weather and explains what happens during this season. It also describes how some animals—including people—adapt to hot summer weather, and discusses droughts, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Before watching, discuss the seasons with children and activate their prior knowledge. We recommend watching the Seasons movie and completing a few features for review. You may also wish to share the Fall, Winter, and Spring movies.

Remind children that summer is the season between spring and fall. Review that it takes one year for Earth to orbit, or go around the Sun. Earth is tilted at an angle, and its tilt and orbit cause the seasons to change. During the summer, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, so the weather is warmer in this hemisphere. Some children may recognize that during this time, the southern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, making it colder in this hemisphere. This means that when it is summer in the northern hemisphere, it is winter in the southern hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere, summer begins on June 21st or June 22nd, when Earth’s tilt brings the northern hemisphere closer to the Sun than any other time of the year.

What is summer weather like? Discuss with children. Remind them that during the summer there are more hours of sunlight and the days are longer than in other seasons. In many parts of the world, summer is the hottest season. The weather is warm during the beginning of summer, and then it gets hotter and hotter as summer continues. Near the end of summer, as fall approaches, the weather gets cooler and the nights begin to get longer again. Help children understand weather patterns in your area and realize that some places may be hot and dry during the summer, while other areas are hot and humid.

During the summer, some places get less rain than normal. A drought is a long period of time with little or no rain. Help children understand that droughts can occur in all seasons, not just during the summer. Droughts can cause problems for many living things. Have children think about what might happen to plants and animals if they had no water. During a drought, plants may dry up and die, and wildfires can spread quickly over a dry area.

Some places get more thunderstorms during the summer. Warm air rises from land and into the sky where it cools. Clouds can form and gather, and rain can fall. Summer is also a season for hurricanes, which are strong storms with very fast winds caused by a sudden change of air temperature. To learn more about hurricanes, you can explore our Fast Land Changes movie.

What happens to plants and animals in the summer? Discuss with children. Help them understand that during the spring, many plants sprout buds and flowers. During the summer heat, some flowers lose their petals or die. Some flowering plants and trees produce fruit that release seeds that will grow into flowers next year. The leaves and stems of dying plants fertilize the ground and provide nutrition for other plants, insects, and animals. Children should know that summer is the most fertile and active season in the life cycle of many plants and animals.

Many trees, bushes, and grasses stay green throughout this season. Since many animals give birth during the spring, summer is a time when the offspring grow and develop. Help children understand that food in summer is plentiful so it is a natural time to rear young and teach them the skills they need to survive and prepare for the harsher winter weather ahead. Since summer is the hottest season in many places, animals have special ways to cool down in the heat. Elephants have large, thin ears where blood is closer to the surface of the skin. They can flap their ears to cool down, or use mud and water to cool their bodies. Animals such as lemurs are covered mostly in fur, so they lick their hands to stay cool. Dogs and cats have thick coats during the winter, but some will shed their coats for the summer, and they can sweat through the pads on their feet. People wear shorts, T-shirts, and hats to stay cool during the summer. They also wear sunscreen to help protect their skin from the sun.

Discuss summer activities with children. Many schools take a break during the summer, and students get a lot of free time. Some families take vacations together, have barbeques, or go on picnics. Some people go swimming at the pool or visit the beach. Others go camping or other outdoor activities. Remind children that summer is also a time to read and work on their own projects. It is a perfect time to learn a new sport or skill. They can take fun classes and explore their interests! What fun things do children have planned for the summer? Discuss and motivate children to try something new and explore a reading list.