How I’m Going To Survive Summer

How I’m Going To Survive Summer June 20, 2013

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.

And if all that isn’t enough, I’ll check here, here, get messy here, or get crafty here and if you’re following along, I promise you, we won’t run out of ideas!  You can thank me later.

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!

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  • Ok, your energy astounds me. Since I homeschool year round, perhaps you can come live here for the summer and do some of this stuff with my kids! My kids are actually pretty “scheduled” this summer in activities out of the house. We are home the rest of the year though, so summer is my chance to send a kid to camp and just enjoy my young ones! I’m off this morning to join our town pool and sign my 3rd and 4th up for swimming lessons. We are going to be there every day anyway for a child on swim team (after I drop our oldest off at a daily (for 6 weeks!) summer theatre camp. So the only one w/o a daily activity will be my baby 😉 haha!

  • Bethany

    It’s really interesting to look at our lives almost like mirror images. Since mine are in school during the year, I totally look to summer for enrichment and times together. You have EVERY reason to hit the pavement and have your kids enjoy some good camps!!

    And fyi, this list is really more to inspire us and always keep the carrot out in front. If we accomplish our bucket list, I’ll be thrilled!

  • Kat0427

    This is a great list, Bethany, thank you for sharing! I loved our first couple weeks of summer because we were all together – it gave us a lot of freedom to do these types of activities. This week, with even just one child in camp, life has had a different pace. I’m looking forward to next week without camp again!

  • Kat0427

    And, I meant to add that I love the idea of a poster board for fun summer activities – I may have to steal this idea! The “to do/chore” list would be much more palatable next to such a snazzy poster board!

  • Juris Mater

    This is the kind of ambitious, joie-de-vivre bucket list I usually make when I’m about 3 seconds away from getting pregnant again.

  • Bethany

    JM, lol! Don’t worry, I’m only committing to the poster board, so I’m still clear for a bit! ha!

  • Mama A

    SO TRUE. I made several of these great lists recently, one of which was a LONG list of parks and playgrounds in our area to visit….and then three days later figured out I was expecting #4. How do you all cope with pregnancy in the summer on top of the bucket list? The thought of visiting all of those parks with their perilous slides, ladders, and climbing walls has me exhausted just thinking about it now…I need to wear my kids out without wearing myself out!

  • Juris Mater

    Mama A, congratulations!, and I hear ya!! This is the story of most of our summers (either very pregnant or with a brand new baby). If you have a backyard and driveway, then sprinklers, squirt guns, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc work pretty well. And it might just not be an amazingly active summer, and that’s OK–it’s great for kids to have an unstructured summer at home too!

  • Mary Alice

    I love this! One thing is that I think my kids have a lot of fun and do the really neat things that I love, but they often don’t get a choice in our plans. Also, I think that the fun is not remembered as well as the chores and monotony by some temperments in our household. I think that a check list like this will help so that at the end of the summer I can’t have a little face looking up at me and saying “We NEVER do anything fun!” We are making a list for August, when swim season is over and the days will be long and unstructured. We are putting some chores on that list – clean out the school room and the closets — so that I don’t feel any stress to fit that in during swimming.