The countdown is officially on…2 more days until school’s out for the summer! Children everywhere are filled with joy and mothers everywhere are filled with dread.
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad. I’m certainly looking forward to a break from evening homework battles and mornings rushing off to school. But for my crew, and I suspect for many others, the key to a successful summer involves a bit of planning.
What’s that quote about idle hands?
My brain works a lot like that of a preschool teacher (except with 1/3 of the patience) and key to success in my house definitely revolves around keeping them busy and having a plan.
Step 1: Having a plan.
Who doesn’t like a good felt board? Okay, I know our craft queen Carly could have whipped up something a bit…let’s say…fancier? But I’m gonna go ahead pat myself on the back for slapping some peel and stick felt sheets onto a piece of cardboard, okay? And hey, colorful, right?!
For those not in the know (ie: me, 3 days ago) felt sticks to felt so all you have to do is cover a surface in felt to make your board and then your “activity squares” (sharpied pieces of felt) will stick right to it and are easily interchangeable. I made a big stack of these activity options including things such as: ride bikes, nature hike, baking, play games, free play, science project, swimming, ect. So, kids and adult sit down in the morning, create the plan, and everyone is in on the schedule of events for those long summer days. I also like that this helps the kids stay on a loose schedule so returning to school in the fall doesn’t come as quite such a big shock.
We’ve also got a white board up on the fridge with a weekly lunch/snack menu. Just like the ones they send home from school, except no “Mystery Sauce Mondays”.
Step 2: Keeping them busy.
I’m not the only one who’s kids can cycle through 6 well-planned activities in a hour, right? Right?? Thankfully I’ve had some time to scour the interwebz and dream up funky ideas that should hold them over for, oh, a week or two (just long enough to do a little more digging!).
First, to Amazon where I grabbed some project and crafty ideas:
– A live butterfly garden and a children’s book discussing the stages from caterpillar to butterfly. The kids are going to LOVE checking on the progress of their butterflies every day and bonus points for learning a little something too.
– My kids have always loved reading books, but their interest has been blossoming even further this year and now they want to create books. Enter create-your-own pop up book kits and those old school journals in which half the page is blank for illustration, and the other half lined for writing. Perfect for the one or two (or bazillion) rainy days we are bound to have.
– Another blossoming interest is in robot creation. My son made a robot for a class project this year and the girls were all about it. I’m sure they’d love the opportunity to break out their engineering skills once again. There are kits available for purchase, or you can just do like we did and re-purpose milk jugs, shoe boxes, and other random scraps from around the house.
Then it was on to Pinterest where I found tons of great outdoor ideas like sidewalk chalk paint, water balloon target practice, and rock pets (I could make a mean rock pet back in my day)! Here’s a linky to my board for all the fun, and I will definitely be adding to it as the summer wears on! Also, no reason not to put our winter ideas back into rotation.
Of course we can’t forget about all the other fantastic (often free!) summer offerings like library story hour, picnics, splash pads, playgrounds, and museums.
Alright, I think we’ve got it covered! With all this planning and preparation we just might manage to avoid the dreaded, “Mooooommmy, I’m BOOOORED!”
At least the first day.
How are the summer vacation preparations going on at your house? Got any great ideas to add to the list??