As school winds down over the next month or so, moms everywhere are looking for ways to keep the kids busy. Over the next week I’ll post a series of posts about planning for summer days that keep kids engaged, active and limit screen time.
Aside from summer camps, which can be costly (especially if you have more than one child to send), what will we do with the kids every week without busting the budget? How will we keep them busy at home without resorting to tv and video games? I’ve been working out my plan and I am excited to share it with you. I’m looking forward to your feedback as well, to learn how you are planning to keep the kids busy! This first installment is about how we structure o at home. The next few posts in this series will be about the fun adventures we are planning to keep our calendar exciting and full! There will be lots of suggestions for planning your free (and frugal) summer fun.
Planning for Summer
Last summer I started the season with a new set of rules that really helped everyone stay on track. It helped the kids be motivated, productive and limited screen time. It helped me keep the house in order without having to nag them or grumble about nailing the jello to the wall all by myself!
Here is my magic plan:
Before the kids are allowed any screen time they had a checklist to complete.
One hour of outside free-play
In many places in the United States summer heat is intense. Last summer we had over 30 days of triple-digit heat. This motivated all of us to get our hour of outside time in first thing in the morning. We usually went outside as a family in the evenings and often played in the sprinkler or pool in the afternoons but the morning time was key to them getting the reward they desired!
Two approved chores
These chores were from a chore chart that was updated daily with necessary tasks to complete. We have evolved over time – be sure to check out this Printable Chore Chart to see if it would work at your house.
The chores were especially helpful to me and the kids were actually eager to complete them. I would list things for the day every morning (or the night before if I remembered). Things like emptying the dishwasher, sorting clean laundry
and folding their own pile (plus putting away), using the hand vac under the table, dusting, cleaning the glass doors, wiping down tables and counters. All of it is fairly easy and stuff that they still think is fun. Sometimes I would let them vacuum too, because they think that is fun. You can include any chores that are expected anyway (bed making? room cleaning?) or extra chores that just need to be done so the house stays in order.
One hour of reading/book time (including books on tape)
Reading time/book time is pretty straight forward. They could do this on their own schedule in any quiet place they
chose. This could also include family read-aloud time. It’s good for kids to practice reading out loud and of course every kid loves being read to. Library books and books on tape keep it exciting all summer.
This year I am adding some baseball and basketball practice time to this list!
My boys play baseball and basketball. This summer I want them to improve their skill and coordination in both of these sports. I will have them practice the areas they were weak in during the regular season and/or practice new positions that they want to play when we play again in the fall. The boys will enjoy doing this together and their sister will have fun with it too because she plays ball in the fall as well! We will also invite friends who play these sports to come over so we can keep it fun. If you live in the south your leagues may be out for the summer as well, so use this time to sharpen and/or gain new skills. It keeps the kids active and will pay off when the sport starts again.
Substituting the sport your child plays is a great idea!
Now, you should know my kids are 11, 7, and 5 so if your kids are younger then the times and/or activities should be modified. This was a great start to our summer days last year. These activities often took place while I completed other necessary tasks and once we were all done it was often time to head out the door for some other activity. This meant the kids could either take a hand held game in the car or save their time for when we returned home.
Up Next: Planning for Summer Part 2
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