I know many of you are already out of school but here in California, my girls still have a few more weeks to go.
I usually plan quite a few things for our summer vacation. At 5 and 6 years old, my girls still think good old Mom is pretty cool and I know the time is fleeting so I want to squeeze as many memories as I can out of our summer vacation. It is always jam packed with all sorts of things we can do together.
For the past several years I have made up a Funner Summer list with numerous activities, crafts, recipes etc… that I want to do with the kiddos. As the summer progresses and time allows, we check each thing off.
That has worked well in the past but this summer I thought I would try to get even more organized and do things just a little differently.
First I set up a schedule that I am hoping will work. I do actually work many, many hours on the blog each day but while the kids are home I get up extra early and then do a lot of catch up late at night. That allows me to free up the day a bit to do things with them.
We do have VBS and a few trips planned so this isn’t going to be a perfectly maintained schedule but for the most part I am hoping it serves as a nice guideline.
I have found without a schedule we tend to waste the days so hopefully a more concrete schedule will help us all to stay on track to get the stuff that has to be done out of the way so we can focus on time together.
This year’s summer schedule has two parts- part 1 the actual daily routine.
I wrote the schedule out on black foam board and that is currently hanging in the playroom/office area. Fancy right? My girls can refer to it at any time to see what comes next in the day. I included time for play, activities with Mom (these will be errands we need to run, trips to the library, little crafts, pool time etc depending on the day.)
I also included a one hour quiet time for both kids before lunch. This one is such a challenge to enforce so this summer I am going to set the timer for 60 minutes. I have already set aside specific things for each child to pick from only during quiet time (puzzles, summer journals, Legos, sticker books, special coloring books, Rainbow Loom etc…) All things that can be done independently. Should the little hooligans decide to come out of their rooms then they forfeit the special activity with Mom I have planned for the afternoon. I did start this already for my 5 year old the last few weeks of school. I gave her 15 minute spans of time to practice and just slowly increased the time until she was able to handle an hour by herself.
Lunchtime is usually my chance to get a jump on dinner prep and get the kitchen and living room picked up, toss in some loads of laundry etc… while the girls eat.
In the afternoon we have 30 minutes for reading, writing etc.. I have an emerging reader and a struggling reader so reading and writing is a big deal for us. We read before bedtime every night to both kids but this summer the girls and I picked out 5 chapter books to read together specifically during this time . I told them it was our Haugsven Girls Summer Book Club and I actually made little signs and a reading tent… and well I’ll post more soon. 🙂
After that the kiddos have a designated chore for the day (dusting, vacuuming, sorting laundry etc…). They tend to be real stinkers about chores so the rule is simple- if they are lazy or rude about getting what has to be done finished then they forfeit the fun activities for the next day. My girls are small so as long as the chores are kept to 15-30 min they are pretty good about helping out.
At 3pm they get roughly an hour to play with each other or if they want to watch a little TV or have some iPad time etc… In the late afternoon I often get my gym time in or the girls have dance classes so most days we need to be out of the house around 4pm anyway. Then we come home for dinner and my husband takes the kids out on their bikes or in the pool or they go rock climbing and other activities usually outside.
So there is the schedule for this summer! I am keeping my fingers crossed that it works!
And now part 2 of the schedule is where the funner summer kicks in.
Remember those activities with Mom that I mentioned? Well this year I wanted to try something new and instead of just randomly choosing activities to do each day, I thought it would be fun to designate a theme for each day of the week.
I know my girls love a schedule and routine at school and I wanted to try and emulate that at home and see how it goes.
So this summer I assigned a rough theme to each day:
Monday-“Make It Monday” I thought this would be a great way to start the week off by making something together in the kitchen. We picked out several things that we are excited to make together at home – an example is a Copycat recipe for Orange Julius that we can have at home. The girls love the Farmer’s Market in summer and Monday is also about learning about food- not just cooking. We might go to a U-Pick Farm or visit the local nursery to pick out fruit and veggie plants to plant etc… Anything food related is for Make it Monday.
Tuesday- “Creative Tuesday” My girls love crafts and art so these are the days where we might do a special art project. An example this year that we plan to try are old fashioned string friendship bracelets. I have a long list of stuff to do for this day :).
Wednesday- “Wet n Wild Wednesday”- this day is obviously the one where we might go to the community pool, splash pads, maybe the water park and I have some fun things planned at home as well with sprinklers and such.
Thursday- “Thoughtful Thursday”- this is when we take a little time to practice skills or do a little extra time on school work and such. Telling time is something we have been working on lately so that is one of our Thoughtful Thursday activities. This could also be a time to encourage service to others. Maybe you volunteer to help a neighbor with a project or check in at Church and see if they have any volunteer opportunities for kiddos. If nothing else call the local women’s shelter and collect items to donate for them or maybe you can check with the local animal shelter and volunteer to walk the dogs. You might make this a time for purging old toys, old clothes, old books and drop those things off at Goodwill. One of our Thoughtful Thursday projects this year is making our own watercolor stationery for thank you notes or the girls can send letters to surprise Grandma and Grandpa.
Friday- “Funday Friday” – is the day we set aside for any little trips or adventures. I have a few things planned like a trip to the Zoo the local Children’s Museum, bowling, $1 movies, hiking and my 5 year old likes Fancy Nancy so one day we are going to have an Ooh La La beauty salon at home complete with tea party after and fancy dress up outfits ;).
So that is the tentative plan and obviously it will be a flexible schedule. If our Funday activity to going to the $1.00 movies we need to shift that to Tuesday when the movies are in theaters. And my city gets crazy hot too so we might have to plan activities around the temperature too. But overall it is nice to have a plan in place for summer.
So if you would like to try something like this I have a free printable you can download. There are blank spaces to write in what you want to do for that day and I included a little line for dinner planning too. Don’t you just hate when 5 o’clock sneaks up on you and you have nothing planned? Boo!
And to organize the activities and projects I wanted to do this summer, I painted (5) mason jars to correspond with the daily theme. The jar painted blue has Popsicle sticks inside and on each stick is an activity for Wet n Wild Wednesday. Each jar represents one of the themes mentioned above and I put 8 sticks into each jar. We can pull a stick out at the start of the week from each jar and then jot down what the week will look like for activities.
I did a total of 8 activities for each themed day- so 8 weeks of things to do.
And last but not least- need some ideas for stuff to do?
I got tons of ideas for you! Here they are according to the themes I came up with this year:
Make It Monday:
- Visit a U- Pick Farm
- Make Perfect Lemonade – kids can squeeze the lemons while you make the simple syrup
- Make Watermelon Sorbet
- Visit the Farmer’s Market and Make Rainbow Fruit Cups
- Make Homemade Chocolate Magic Shell (and have it for dessert that night)
- Rainbow Rice Krispies Treats
- Try these 10 Amazing Smoothies Recipes– you could make it like Top Chef where each person votes for their favorite smoothie or maybe the kids come up with their own flavor combinations. They can even make a weeks’ worth at once- assemble the fruits into a Ziploc and then pop in the freezer. Pull them out when you are ready to make them and add your spinach or kale and liquids and done.
- Tie Die Sneakers
- Make Green Slime
- Make Homemade Bubbles– and go outside to play with them
- Try some new Rainbow Loom designs (awesome ideas here)
- Make Homemade Puffy Paint
- Dip Dye clothing, tote bags etc…
- Make Flubber
Wet n Wild Wednesday:
- Homemade Water Bed- this is so fun!
- Go to the local splash pad
- Visit a water park in your area
- Check out the community pool or beach
- Crank up the sprinklers for old fashioned fun
- Have a water balloon fight!
And I have a few other ideas that I will post as we get to them this summer!
- I have an education and learning Pinterest board with some ideas and resources.
- I will post more about our family Summer Book Club very soon so you can see what I planned.
- This is a great time for library trips or we love to go to Barnes and Noble and get a treat and go through stacks of books. This would be the time to get through some of the Free Summer Reading programs for kids!
- See 20 Awesome Books for toddlers here– this is a great list to work through this summer.
- Summer Reading suggestions for Pre-k to 6th Grade here.
- $1.00 Movies at Regal or Cinemark or several other theaters nationwide
- Want to take a zoo trip? I found a cute little scavenger hunt for the zoo that you can print free here
- Kids Bowl Free- register for this program and the kids get 2 free games every day of summer.
- Go to a sporting event- (we got pro soccer tickets for Dad for Father’s Day and we also have tickets to see the Mariners play)
- Have a picnic lunch or dinner- and make it a little fancier. Use fun bags to wrap things, tie ribbon around the sandwiches, bring fun straws for drinks.
- Take a class- Panera offers programs for kids as well as Williams Sonoma. Maybe you do a CPR class instead with older children or art classes or dance….
- Go Fly a Kite!
- Do a special movie night and make food or decorations to fit the theme. Lots of ideas here.
- Go indoor camping.
Hopefully this is helpful to get the ball rolling for a wonderful summer with your own kiddos!
Download the free weekly summer schedule here.
If you’d like a ton more ideas of fun things to do with the littles, check out this list from last year. It comes with pre-filled in ideas or a blank version to add your own activities.
What fun plans do you have for your little ones?