Summer’s now in full swing around here, and one thing I’ve learned both as a teacher and a mom: kids THRIVE on structure. On the flipside, it’s important not to schedule every waking moment because genius is born in boredom, but there’s a happy medium in there somewhere… and I have just the tool you need to find it. 🙂 We’ve created a 9-page Summer Printables Pack to help embrace summer while still keeping the peace and not allowing your house to turn into the next version of Jurassic World, tentatively titled Kids Or Velociraptors? You Be The Judge.
We’ve developed a system that works for our family, and I wanted to share in case it resonates with yours, too. I realize this would have been more helpful to share back in, let’s say, the month of MAY but it’s never too late to get your summer back on track. Here’s a quick walk-through how we do summer around here, with plenty of pool and popsicle time thrown in!
We start every summer with brainstorming a Summer Fun List, which keeps everyone motivated and gives us fun places to explore:
We’ve used a version of this Summer Rules Printable Chart for a few years now. I put it right above the charging station. I’ve found that if my kiddos wake up and immediately get on electronics then it’s hard to get them back on track, BUT if they wake up and start playing with actual non-screen toys or read our day goes MUCH better.
How to Summer Handle Screen Time
I hang this sign right above our charging station so they know the rules, and once 9:30 rolls around if we’re still home and they want to use technology they need to turn in a tech ticket (see that system here.)
Here’s a close up:
So what do they do without screens to keep them busy? That’s when our Boredom Busters come in handy! I truly believe it’s okay for kids to be bored, essential even, because that’s when brains turn creative. But just in case you don’t want to hear “Mom I’m BORED” eleven million times in an hour, this list has you covered.
Ideas for Screen-Free Summer Activities
Stuck at home this summer? Print out this list of fun activities for kids with tons of creative activities and ideas!
Here’s a few more activities my kids loved last summer:
science kits like this Doodling Robot
Summer Snacks and Meal Ideas
Another ‘issue’ that comes up during summer is grazing on snacks. I’m personally guilty as charged. We brainstorm a list of healthy ‘anytime’ snacks to help tame the pantry monster and hang it on the fridge. We’ve kept this one blank so you can add whatever you wish!
Also, check out these 25 Smoothie recipes and have your kids choose a new one to try each week; my veggie averse kiddos LOVE these recipes and it’s easy to sneak some vegetables in because the rest of the ingredients mask the taste.
How to Handle Summer Cleaning and Chores
Of course, all this fun means that the house looks like Toys R Us exploded (RIP, TRU) so we’re try our best to keep up with our chore charts.
Preventing Summer Slide
Another sanity saver that prevents summer slide are workbooks and activities like Mad Libs that are easy to travel with and fun for the kids to work on. We take them everywhere– when we eat out, shopping, hair cuts, roadtrips– and the kids appreciate having something to do and I appreciate that they’re keeping their brains sharp.
The Spectrum workbooks were recommended to me by a teacher and the Summer Bridge and Summer Brain Quest are two other options we’re using. The kids earn incentives after completing a certain number of pages, so it’s win-win!
Most schools and libraries have their own summer reading program, but if not, we have charts for that, too! There’s two styles, one is a list and the other a sticker chart. We actually use the sticker chart to track progress in their workbooks as they earn prizes.
Last but not least, it’s nice for kids to have their own calendars to keep track of camps, playdates and vacations. They can also use the boxes to jot down one thing they did each day and have a ‘journal’ to remember their summer.
Loosely structuring our summer this way has proven essential in keeping our sanity in tact and sibling squabbles to a minimum. As a work at home mom, my #1 goal is to be present with my kids and intentional with my computer time. Having this routine in place allows me to get some work done at home without the kids being glued to screens, so there’s plenty of time for the pool, playdates, and other adventures!
You can download the whole Summer Fun Printables Pack below. And ENJOY!!! I would love to hear how your summer is going so far!