School is rapidly winding down – what is your summer plan for your kids?
I work part-time and am home with my kids for the most part. As a planner myself, I don’t do well with much unstructured time. In fact, I might be the one lousing around the house saying “I’m bored!”
OK, maybe not.
I think it’s healthy for kids to have a break – they have a recovering perfectionist as a mom, so they need to see me resting and set a good pattern of rest for themselves.
However, I believe a loose plan sets us all up for happier, more engaged days. Less boredom equals less fighting (I hope!), more brain activity, more fun, and more relational capital.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)
How to make a summer plan for kids
1. Plan vacations, camps, and VBSs first.
We have a staycation planned for this year since we took a large vacation last year and also had to replace our van. We’ve set events for each day and a budget for the week. That was the first thing on the summer calendar.
We’re hosting a front yard Bible club this year through our church, and they all happen the same week. Now that we have a kiddo in school, I’m really excited to see this pulled off!
I have already planned for each of my kids to attend one summer camp – using budgeted money that won’t be spent on preschool. I decided to not have their camps on the same weeks so that the big kids get a little more of their own time with me. Well, with me and baby Katherine that is. 🙂
2. Plan adventure days and bucket list items next.
Is anyone else as excited as I am about Finding Dory coming out?? That might have gotten on my summer calendar ahead of the kids’ summer camps.
Look at all of the possible adventures in your city. Check out that local Pinterest board you’ve pinned to but never thought about again. Search your city’s blog for fun things to do.
We’ve lived in our city for 8 years, and there are still many things we haven’t done yet. Some of those are on our summer plan list. A few have hard and fast dates; others are just on “the list” for those free days.
There are also so many fun backyard adventures to have – I have a ton pinned here:
3. Plan the “standard” day last.
Once you have the big items on the calendar and a few of the one-off adventure days planned, think about what each “regular” day should look like.
Things I considered when making my loose, daily plan:
- Spiritual goals: Evaluate where your kiddo is spiritually and choose some things that might enrich them spiritually. For the older teen, this might be your summer camp. For the grade-schooler, VBS might be your go-to. I encourage you to also think of a few things you can guide them in.
- Maybe memorize 1 scripture applicable to them each month with a celebration at the end of the month (Fighter verses is a great app for memorizing.)
- Perhaps the great reader can check out the Adventure Bible.
- Your preschooler might be mastering the ideas of the gospel through loving conversation and discipline.
- Educational goals: Our grade school teacher was great about giving me the growth areas for our kiddo as well as some great summer tools. For my kindergartner, I’m making goals for
- Physical goals: Summer means water! Swim lessons or just having water time for familiarity is a big deal in our family. Maybe your child has a sport they regularly play and can incorporate some extra drills in a regular day.
- Fun goals: What’s something fun your kid can’t always enjoy during the school year? Here are some ideas:
- Video games (ours are off-limits on school days).
- Play dates
- Park days and picnics
- Cooking kid-friendly recipes
- Leisurely imagination or dress up play
- Challenges (such as summer reading, music, or engineering)
Whew! That’s a lot, and really there’s more you can consider – in fact, I’d love it if you would share ideas in the comments or on the Facebook page!
4. Structure the day, but keep it loose.
Our regular day is going to look something like this:
Breakfast and get dressed
School activities, about 30 minutes. I will use a handful of on-level tasks plus a challenge task each day.
- Handwriting – Name and Title case practice, Proverb a Day, Sentence structure practice
- Puzzle worksheets – crack the codes/word search/crosswords (math and reading)
- Letter writing and sounds – I really like the School Zone books
Guided craft or free craft time with bin of supplies. Incorporate Scripture.
Physical Time! Kid yoga, tag, trampoline, play date, going on a walk or pool time
Lunch, kid cooking when time/interest allows
Reading: 2 books or Smarty Pants cards as a group. 2 chapters of reading each day for the Kindergartner
Quiet Rest Time – I will have separate areas for the kids to have quiet play time with toys/books for a set time
Video game time – We love the educational app Starfall! My child who is not as interested in learning loves it, and I’ve seen her improve in letter sounds yay! It’s a steal for $35/year.
If there’s time left in the day, we will have more free play, which my kids love: legos, dolls, puzzles, board games, science experiments, backyard digging and play, etc.
This looks a little too structured, but I guarantee you, there’s time for it all plus some. Once I’ve made a plan, I stick to it generally and don’t feel any guilt whatsoever if I decide to change it later! After all,
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)
As always, I will continue to re-evaluate my kids’ needs against the existing plan and modify as necessary. I’m looking forward to a (semi-planned) summer of fun!