There is so much to love about summer but there is also so much not to love about summer. Lazy mornings, not packing school lunches, swimming and water balloon fights are fantastic! Filling days and weeks with entertainment, surrendering to a messy house, and battles over electronics and between siblings are not fantastic. We have a pretty mellow summer this year so I am trying my best to create a nice balance of fun and structure. Let me share with you some of my plans to help me survive this summer…
Keeping it Fun
Crafting: I am not a big crafter but my kids love them and I have found that we actually have a lot of fun while their little hands are busy. Perler Beads, yarn sewing screens, and Bendaroos are some of our favorite crafts. They are a great way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon when you have some down time.
Regal Summer $1 Movies: We are big fans of Regal’s summer $1 movies. Every Tuesday and Wednesday participating theaters play older movies at 10 am and tickets only cost $1. It is such a fun and cheap outing to meat up with friends. Yesterday my son and some friends saw Kung Fu Panda 3 while I saw Ice Age Collision Course with my younger two and friends. I’m sure we will be hitting up several more of these movies this summer!
Library Summer Reading Programs: Most local libraries do some type of reading program to help motivate kids to read over the summer. Our library lets us go in and spin a wheel once a week to win free things such as kids meals at restaurants, free bowling and other things like that. My kids always look forward to our weekly trip to the library and the prizes provide us even more fun outings.
Friend Fun Calendar: One of my friends put together a little calendar for each month with some planned activities to do as friends. Not every day is filled but we have some mellow friend outings such as swimming or bowling and some bigger adventures such as beach days and strawberry picking. Just having someone put some outings on a calendar makes it easier for friends to get together, even if it is just meeting up at a splash pad or getting ice cream cones.
Keeping it Structured
Assigned Dinner Nights: Something new I am doing this summer is having each of my kids be in charge of dinner one night a week. Each Sunday I will sit down with my kids and let them choose what we are going to eat one night that week and then they will have to help me prepare it, and then help clean it up. Obviously my boys will be more helpful than my daughter, but we started this idea this week and I am already loving it! My second son was in charge of last night and he wanted to make breakfast for dinner. He was so excited to help me make everything and it was quite comical having him serve everyone. Everyone treated him as our server, which was also good manners practice, and we had a really fun dinner experience. My son was not as excited about cleaning up but he helped and I feel like I am finally teaching my kids some responsibilities that I haven’t had much time to teach before.
Stick Chores: A good friend of mine told me about this idea and I love it! She had written a bunch of random, 5 minute chores on Popsicle sticks, and each day she has her kids pick two sticks to do on top of their regular chores (like make their bed and pick up their room). These chores are things like dust the baseboards in the hall upstairs, clean the top two shelves in the refrigerator, dust the shutters in the bedroom, or clean all the door knobs upstairs. Just break down big, deep cleaning type of items into small sections and write them on sticks. By the end of the summer your house will have been deep cleaned even though it may look like a tornado past through at the end of each day!
Weekly Reports: I know this sounds way too harsh for summer, but let me give you some details. Each week I am asking my kids to a report about something, anything really. It can be about baseball, their favorite animal, a state, a person, anything. They can check a book out about their topic from the library to get some statistics and then make a report. I am asking them both to draw a picture to go with their report and then they will either write 5 sentences with facts about their topic (younger son) or write a couple paragraphs about their topic (older son). My boys are actually really liking this idea too. My oldest is working on a report about some of the records set in the MLB (inspired by Albert Pujol’s 600th home run) and my younger son checked out a book about Lynxes from the library. My daughter likes to draw pictures next to them while they are working 🙂
Nightly Reading: Summer nights are the best for playing late but it can be hard to wind kids down for bed when it is light till almost 9 pm! One of the best ways to get the sleep vibes coming is reading. I love reading to my kids in the summer. We’ve read books like James and the Giant Peach, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Chocolate Touch, Charlotte’s Web, and more. I love reading out loud and having all my kids sitting close listening. The hard part is not reading way past bed time! This is truly one of my most favorite parts of summer!
How do you balance fun and structure during the summer?