School is almost out! For my kiddies school finished last week and our community pool is open so let the summer vacation fun begin! I have so much fun planned and I love leaving the dictatorship of the clock and school schedules to have a free summer. But along with the free-time and the bliss summer offers, there always arises the one phrase mother’s hate: “Mom, I’m bored! What should I do?” (Did you wince reading that? I did typing it!) Allow me to suggest three tips on enjoying this summer with your kiddies.
Step One: Look at the big picture of summer
Look at your calendar and count out the weeks if you already have anxiety of your kids depending on your for entertainment this summer. Visually seeing the amount of weeks and days, might make you feel better. Now, block out: family trips, holiday celebrations, reunions, sporting events, recitals, scout trips, farm or safety camps to create the skeleton of your summer. Summer looks busy now doesn’t it? Now that you have an idea of your busy or not so busy summer, involve the kids…
Step Two: Find out what the kids want to do this summer
Pull out the paper, crayons and markers and each family member—without looking at each others papers–create their summer bucket list. I have included the adorableness of my family bucket list papers and even mine… don’t judge my non-artistic skills!
If you notice, my bucket list (the top picture) and my daughter’s picture (bottom right) have a lot of similarities. When we picked fresh raspberries at a local farm last summer I knew we would repeat that adventure. Lo, and behold, my daughter felt the same way. Another item we had in common- going to the library. Visiting the library is something I did with my family. Loving to read books is something I’m proud I passed on to my kids.
Even my three-year-old had a say in what he wanted his summer to consist of. (In case you can’t tell from his amazing artistic skills- those three creatures are actually superheroes. Top guy is Stretchy Man, bottom left- Black Panther and right- Iron Man) All Linkin requested this summer is to go to the theater and watch movies about super heroes, and to be a super hero himself. And then once he heard my daughter’s list- he added a few other things on his list.
Step Three: Create a Schedule
Every family style is different, for my sanity and to save myself for answering the same question every day, I create a (really flexible) weekly schedule that hangs on the fridge so my kids know what we do every day after all the chores are finished. Here is the schedule that our amazing graphic designer Tiffaynee made for our awesome readers… for the free PDF click here:
Standing Weekly Schedule:
Make it Monday: Make something delicious or make a craft. My little Link is quite the chef, and loves helping in the kitchen. Linkin specifically asked to have a cooking date with me- which I will gladly do with him.
Traveling Tuesday: Spend time outside the home. I can’t stand being stuck inside (thank heavens I live in place where we can be outside year round) so the kids and I will visit friends, or rotate through parks in our area taking a picnic lunch and plenty of water.
Wet Wednesday: Pool/splash pad day. We are fortunate enough to have a pool in our housing community so pool days could be everyday, but on Wednesdays we have a standing invitation with friends to join us. So Wednesdays are lots of fun at the pool.
Thinking Thursday: Library day and projects. My kids have homework over the summer (look below for more info) so when we go to the library we are there for hours. First we attend toddler time or any other free activity the library offers. Then the kids look up books (with my help) to study on their assignments to complete our summer projects. And lastly, we collect books to read as a family and on our own. Phew- Thursdays are fun filled and quiet- a plus!
Favorite Friday: Each child takes a turn deciding what the family does for the day. My husband works retail and doesn’t get the weekends off, but he usually has Fridays off. So Fridays are our family-squish-it-all-in-day. The kids usually pick to go to the pool- they love when daddy throws them through the air to crash land in the water. But, sometimes the kids surprise us with requests to go on bike ride or just have a late night watching a movie together with popcorn.
Sunny Saturday: Free day- Arrange to play with friends in the neighborhood- always a good idea.
The Daily Schedule my kids follow regularly, but has been adapted for the summer:
Regular chores: Sleep in (yes, I consider this a chore! Or get up when you want, but be quiet and do not bother mama bear before eight!) Make your bed, clean your room, get dressed, tidy up bathroom, clean up breakfast, empty dishwasher, practice musical instrument and do homework. Only rule- Everything needs to be done before noon to do the fun activity for the day.
**Due to our crazy hot weather here in Saint George Utah- we will flip-flop our daily schedule by doing the fun activity in the morning and come home for lunch. Then, during naptime (the hottest part of the day) the kiddies will do their chores, baby naps and mama get a break. Again, the best part of summer is you decide on the schedule and do what is best for your family.
Three Stages of Homework:
1.) READ– We read every day during the summer and depending on the age determines the time limit.
For my daughter (who is a book worm and could finish a chapter book every couple of days) I don’t set a reading timer. For Linkin, who’s going into Kindergarten and learning his sight words- we will practice his simple BOB books everyday. And then I will read the books (more than likely Super Hero themed) from the library we picked out together.
If your child struggles to read, reading with them is the smartest ways to develop the incredible world of reading. There are so many books that have been adapted to film- start with those books! Ask you child which movie looks interesting and have them first read the book.
Last year, Lexie and I read C. S. Lewis, Narnia- Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and wrote in her journal then watched the movie together. When we watched the movie, she enjoyed watching the characters she learned to love come to life.
For Christmas I received the illustrated Harry Potter books. If you want your children to dive into a fantastic book series that is fun for the whole family- I strongly suggest these amazing books. My kids love listening to my husband read with different voices while they color. Great summer read!
2.) Do a page of homework in the workbook. — Summer Bridge
In my childhood summer’s my mother gave us these workbooks to remember the subjects we learned over the past year. Summer Bridge Activity Books were helpful for my parents since the book spits up the homework pages in days and were age appropriate. As a kid, I didn’t enjoy the two or three pages of homework everyday, but I liked the varied subjects like: reading, writing, math, science, and even experiments and activities.
To be honest I don’t push doing three pages every day with my kids, I go with their moods because I want them to enjoy school and enjoy learning. Sometimes we do more than three pages a day and sometimes it’s forgotten all together. Having homework and these fun activities available for my kids usually avoids the boredom factor- which I love.
Also there are a bunch of great websites to keep your kids stay sharp when school is out. Here are a few suggestions our school sent my daughter home with:
http://www.uen.ord/k12/student/– click on your child’s age group.
3.) Family Project: At the beginning of our summer meeting my mother would ask, what we wanted to learn. Sometimes we would read about an area we were planning to visit over the summer. Or, my mother would read us autobiographies during lunch while we ate. Sometimes we read about certain historic events, creative writing, cooking class, sewing project. Last summer my family studied the body and understanding how it works. Since I’m planning on potty training my little man (nearly two) this summer- those past lessons will be helpful.
This summer, Lexie said she wants to learn how to sew, so we’re sewing a dress for her. Oh Betty, pray for us!! I’m extremely nervous to share my limited knowledge of sewing with her and pray I don’t traumatize her for years to come. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas so I’m excited to sew a dress with Lexie using my old sewing machine. I pray this summer project will be a good experience for both of us.
Movies at the park– Our community offers this once a month. We love grabbing a pizza or making a special treat and taking it to eat at the park while watching the movie. What fun!
Hiking– exploring your community and nature is always a good idea to escape the heat!
Summer movies at the theater– My kids love going to the movie theater- here is a cheap option ($10 per person) and something everyone can do once a month.
What I love about seeing this schedule is my kids know what is happening in their little lives and know what to expect. Of course this schedule is flexible, otherwise this isn’t summer! What matters most, is that there is a schedule to fall back on, therefore avoiding the kids whiny question: “Mom I’m bored, what should I do?”
Involving your kids in making your summer plans is key! Utilize the kid’s bucket list. Study the area you live. Your kids are watching you cook, get them involved! Yes cooking anything with kids is messy and takes ten times longer, but they need to learn somehow.
The summer is the perfect time to slow down and play with your kids in the sprinklers! Go for a hike in your area, teach your kids a life-skill. Summer is fun! So print off that darling printable, sit down with your kids, write down that bucket list, figure out your summer schedule together and slowly cross off those items in the next few weeks. Before you know it, summer will be over and you will look back at that time well spent, full of memories and smile.
You got this!