If you have failed to plan, you’ve planned to fail, right? Planning for summer, those long summer days, ahead of time is sure to make for a successful summer, both in they eyes of your kids and in the budget! In the first part of this series I told you how I planned our time at home to keep the kids busy and away from electronics. I feel like this sanity saving plan helps us get the day started with enthusiasm and motivation. It also gives me the time to get ready to take the kids out for fun adventures. So we better get started on planning those adventures!
This will be the first year we actually have a solid plan for our weekly adventures. I’m kind of a “go with the flow” kind of girl, our family motto actually could be “let it happen.” However, a general idea of what we are going to accomplish or experience is much more motivating! Have you ever had a day that was suddenly (unexpectedly) freed from all other obligations? Did you feel like you didn’t even know where to begin on the list of possible activities? That happened to us last weekend and we ended up watching way too many cartoons before we ended up at the park by ourselves!
Each day should have a theme, of sorts. If you like to go to story time at the local library, then that day should be “story time day” and so on. Some activities will be finished faster than others, so you may need two activities pre-planned for those days, or maybe this will be the day you have time for a few errands.
Here are some ideas for the themes to plan your days:
cook something day…try a new snack recipe with the kids and let them help make it. My Pintrest page has lots of fun and healthy recipes I want to try. I bet yours does too!
craft something day…Crafty Tuesday has weekly of inspiration! Plus there is that whole page of crafts I have Pinned for summer fun! Some crafts will be quick and done, but some will lead to hours of fun.
Park day…How many different parks can you visit this summer? Try a new one each week! Don’t forget to pack a kite or some Frisbees or a ball to play with if your park has some open space. We got a boomerang from the Dollar Tree once and looked online for tips on how to throw it, then walked to a nearby park for a boomerang challenge! Bike to the park and take the long way. Bring frozen water bottles so cool water will be ready when you need a break!
Picnic day…This would pair well with park day. Invite all your friends for this weekly ritual and make a day of it! Pack a lunch whenever you are going on an adventure during the midday, keep a picnic blanket and shade umbrella in the back of the car. My kid’s love to eat outside, even in our own front yard. Let the kids set things up with whatever they think a picnic should have…it should be pretty entertaining!
Story time day… this is not limited to libraries. Have you been to Barnes and Noble’s story time? Did you know Pottery Barn Kids has a story time? (And they reward Mom for coming by collecting stamps on a card; five stamps earns you $tore cash!)
Library day…I know this looks redundant, coming after “story time day” but if your kids are “too old” for story time they may still love hanging at the library and hunting down fun new books. There are always the computers, games and magazines you can enjoy while you are there. Plus free video rentals make Red Box look spendy! There is also the possibility of a Summer reading program that rewards kids for reading. You (they) can earn coupons and passes for things around your town and even free books!
Museum/Zoo day…make good use of that family pass if you have it! A one time fee for a family membership makes weekly visits super frugal! BUT don’t fret if you can’t swing that right now! Most kid’s museums have a weekly or monthly free day. Keep your eye on sites like Groupon and Living Social (and any local deal sites you may know of) for great deals on a pass. Groupon-Now! has same day only deals that may get you in somewhere without much prior planning. (Bonus* if you do not redeem your Groupon-now, it is fully refundable!) You may get to try some different museums that you never thought to try before, like a weather museum or a train museum!
Movie Day…Most theaters have a summer movie program. You’ve probably known about this for years, right? They are sometimes free or cost a small donation (like a book or non perishable food item) or they may charge around $1. The movies are older kid friendly titles and often they will play one or two movies anywhere from one to four days per week. Check with your local theater for the schedule and list of movies they have lined up. Remember to get there early for the best seats and don’t worry if you have a baby or wiggly toddler in tow, they will be well tolerated. Of course there is always the good old Dollar Theater, if you have one near you, but they are not as kid-friendly.
Gym Day(s)…Don’t forget to take advantage of that membership to the gym! Depending on your gym you may be able to get two hours for yourself and the kids can play! Of course this assumes you A) have a membership and B) it provides free child care. If you do not have a membership you should shop around to see what’s available in your area. The YMCA has scholarships if you can’t afford the membership fees. Some hospitals have free gyms to those with health insurance that is affiliated with that hospital.
Geocaching day…This is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. There are sites with instructions for getting started online. Older kids will think this is pretty cool. I want to try doing this one day this summer. It would make for a fun family day if you can go when everyone is home!
Now bust out that calender and start planning that fun! You may find it easier/less stressful/less restrictive/less overwhelming to make your calendar up weekly rather than monthly. Maybe you like to plan it all out once and not have to think about it again. However you roll, I hope you have plenty of ideas for making each day an exciting (frugal) adventure that everyone will enjoy!
Stay tuned for the next post in this series that will address rainy day ideas, summer nights and monthly or seasonal adventures you may want to look into.
Continue this post with Planning for Summer – Part Three