It’s happened. Last Friday my kids came a runnin’. Backpacks were emptied; lunch boxes stored away; school shoes placed on the lower closet shelf. Our family together breathed a collective sigh.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve begun to panic thinking of all the family togetherness we’ll be having or wondering if I’ve inadvertently left something off of our summer schedule.
One goal I’ve aimed for in planning this summer was SIMPLICITY. We are scheduling less and leaving ourselves more hours for open exploration and spontaneity. We’ve also tried to remove our natural inclination toward all things media in an attempt to enjoy each other and make plenty of room for play.
So, now what? Never fear. Pinterest to the rescue!
I’ve been amassing ideas on the creative site, Pinterest (an internet junkie/organizer mom’s paradise) and have for you my summer survival tool box, a mama arsenal of all things summery and fun; creative and playful; outdoorsy and full of action. My first goal is for our family to make a plan for fun, a list like this, a challenge like this, or perhaps in “bucket list” format, hopefully ending up with an end product that looks something like this:
Using this as a guide, I will be more accountable and more organized in our quest for fun summer adventures. I plan to get input from all family members so that everyone has buy-in to our summer plans. We might even leave a few blank at the bottom (like this family did) because we’ll surely want to add adventures as our summer continues. Outings to a planetarium, milkshakes at the peach orchard, tours of local caverns, and a night at our local baseball park will be just a few adventures we’ll try to achieve. I’m actually excited because we’ve already started checking off some boxes and we’ve yet to make our poster! Good things to come…
After having our plan in place, I’ve found some great websites for home kid activities, especially when my littles are napping and the older ones have extra time for fun. This website with ideas like kid yoga, camping, playing with your feet, noodles, etc. has 100 activities to lure your children away from addictive screens. Here’s another for an alphabet treasure hunt, especially good for my middles. Maybe we’ll try a neighborhood scavenger hunt or a nature hunt if the weather outside isn’t too unbearable. This “Camp Mom” site offers 20 ideas for creative fun outdoors. And when it’s rainy and things get really desperate, you might walk in my front door and see something like this:
Better yet, I’ll make the kids create it first and then try to make it through. Double the time! I can already hear the spy games evolving for my boys… We might also get in a little water balloon action a la Angry Bird or create these fun sponge bombs. Wherever there is water, my kids will find it. And we might even find a few creative uses for pool noodles like this, providing hours of fun for my kids.
To round out our summer, don’t doubt we’ll also be dabbling in learning every chance
I can sneak in we can get. I don’t want their minds turning to mush, but we’ll try to hone our brain cells while also having a good time. My goal will be to make learning so much fun, they don’t realize they’re doing it. For my science, weather-loving older kids, I want to study cloud types and create them with cotton balls:
I can tell you already, this will be a hit. We can also create and set sail these cork boats and test buoyancy while visiting our neighborhood pond. We can go for walks in the park and search for various species of trees based on their leaf shape:
This idea makes my former biology teacher heart bubble over with excitement. Also, in addition to our local library’s summer reading challenge, we’ll be visiting Sylvan’s Book Adventure and Scholastic’s Summer Challenge to keep us reading and motivated to do so!
And if after everything listed, after all of these wonderful, amazing, inspiring, outstanding ideas, I so hear that dreaded word… that horrible 5-letter word that starts with a “B”… the word that is forbidden in my home (because NO child in the 21st century, let alone under my roof(!), should ever be idle and complaining about it)… I give you the Holy Grail for moms this summer: the “Mom, I’m Bored” Jar. It is chocked full of ideas, activities, even movements (“do 20 jumping jacks”) to get kids’ wheels turning. Let’s just say, I hope I don’t have to resort to such a jar, but if I do, thankfully someone else invented it before me! Brilliant.
So there you have it, my summer toolbox, our lifeline for having wonderful shared adventures and making this summer one of our most memorable yet. God bless to all of our Building Cathedrals families for a safe, rich, and happy summer!