I glanced at the calendar this morning and realized that Jack only has 2 full weeks of school left. That leaves me 5 mornings to myself or 12.5 hours. Yikes! Last year I was really overwhelmed by the idea of so much free time together, but I also didn’t want to make summer over scheduled. And I realized that while I didn’t want to plan every minute of every day I still needed a game plan to get us through the summer. Here is my summer game plan.
Stock up on sidewalk chalk / paint, bubbles, or whatever outside activity keeps your kid happy. Last year I picked up a water table and it was the best purchase. Jack played with it on his own and I read a book.
A network of play dates
Let people know you will be around. Chat up the moms in the daycare pick up line and exchange phone numbers or make plans for a play date but make sure to get their digits or lock in a play date before school is out. Message other Moms (or Dads) who will be home over the summer and let them know you will be around and up for fun. Last year Monday was sort of a down day for us, so I messaged all the moms I knew that home and let it be known that Jack and I would be available to play on Mondays. We ended up having some fun Mondays with friends.
A bucket list
Make a list of all the things you would like to do this summer. It doesn’t just have to be kid friendly, write down all the fun things you want to do and keep it around as a reference. So when it’s cloudy out you can remember that you wanted to check out the Aquarium or when it’s 90 you’re list will remind you that you wanted to have a water day and play in the sprinklers.
While I’m all about keeping summer schedule free, you need an idea of what is going on each day of the week. Like for me Mondays are usually food shopping, Tuesday there is a farmers Market in town, Wednesday the library has something. Pencil these events into your planner and when you wake up and can’t imagine entertaining the kids for one more minute you will know where you can go and who will entertain them.
Now is the time to search the Internet for all things summer in your area. Look for amusement parks, splash pads, playgrounds, in-door bounce places and other attractions. If you don’t have time to do the work find a website that has done it for you. There are many websites geared towards families that list day trips, a calendar of events and guides for each season. In New Jersey, Jersey Family Fun is my go-to source.
Throughout the year but especially in the spring I start picking up little surprises. Last year I found a Chuggington Train set for $10 on a yard sale site and I broke it out on a rainy day. Jack was thrilled and I got some down time. This year I have a Buzz Lightyear and Woody action figures a friend gave me and a Follow That Bird DVD. I’m saving them for a day when we need a distraction.
I’m a big fan of toy rotations they make old toys new again. Take anything your kids aren’t playing with and even a few things they do play with and put them out of sight. Leave just enough toys to entertain your child, then when they get bored you have a whole “new” set of toys that can be brought out. Also I remove any toys that make a huge mess so we only have Lego’s in the playroom or only Lincoln logs. My son gets so excited when his toys come back. For more information on Toy Rotations check out my guide for starting one.
Back up plans
This is where Pinterest comes in handy. You know all those cute crafts you’ve pinned and all the lists of 30 Amazing Things to do With Your Kids, now is the time for them. Before school lets out, look at some of your pins find the ones you think your kids will like best or the ones you can actually see yourself doing. Then make sure you have all the items to do it. Keep this on the back burner for days when boredom rears it’s ugly head.
Join a Moms Club
I recently joined my local Moms Club and I love how the membership keeps our calendar filled with activities that are fun for Jackson and I. Whether it’s a park play date or a trip to Chick-fil-A for lunch these events give me a chance to talk with other moms and for Jack to play. My club also is big on Moms Night Out and Moms Night In, they have at least one a month and these go a long way in recharging my battery.
The local library offers so many great programs during the summer. From summer reading programs to story times to movie nights and crafts; there is always something happening at the library. Make sure to take advantage of this free resource. We visit the library at least once a week to pick out new books and movies.
What are your tips for surviving summer with kids?