Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer with Kids

Have you ever wondered what in the world you are going to do with your children all summer?  As a mother you want the best for your kids.  You want them to have fun, you want them to keep busy, not to spend all of their time watching Nick Jr. or playing on the wii, xbox, DS, iPad etc etc.  We want them to still know how to read when they go back to school!  For many the thought of 2 more months of summer makes them want to curl up under the covers and hide.  The ideas across the blogoshpere are endless, but can also be a little overwhelming.  We have come up with a plan to help you out!

Friday Summer Fun!

This week we will be starting a series called "Friday Summer Fun!"  Every friday we will post some of the things we did the previous week.  This won't be a list of 50 craft ideas or 100 things to do with your kids.  It will be more like - Monday we did this, Tuesday was this outing or craft etc.  There will be fun recipes, there will be craft ideas and games. Its just a smaller bite - a little easier to manage.  And we hope it will be useful!

What spurred the idea?

I often hear "You are such a fun mom" or "How do you come up with all this stuff" or "I wish I was fun like that."  Here's a little secret.  You are!!  I had an eye opening weekend a few years ago and I realized that all it takes to be a fun mom is to have a plan.  Flexibility, of course, is always key.  But if you just take a little bit of time to plan,  you will be amazed at the results.  And its not that I'm a fun mom - I'm just a mom!  ANYONE can have a blast all summer with their kids!  I figure I'm planning it out anyway - I might as well share and help some of you get started.

So here's a little homework for you before Friday:

Print out a calendar and do a little research.

I am a very visual person so at the beginning of each summer I print out a calendar for each month.  Just a simple, Microsoft Word, boring little calendar that is 3 pages long.  June, July and August.  Then I take time to look through some of my resources.  Our public library puts on free events all through the summer.  We just went to a magic show last week - for free!  Our park district (out west it is usually the city parks and rec) does all kinds of workshops and free activities as well.  For instance, every monday they have a free art workshop at the park by my house.  I drop my girls off for 2 hours in the morning and they do crafts and play games.  Just long enough for me to make a quick trip to the grocery store with only 2 children!  Many of the surrounding cities and park districts do lots of fun things too.  Movies in the park, concerts on the riverwalk, nature workshops, etc.  Beyond the free activities there are lots of things that are only a dollar or two that are really fun as well.  Our local drive in has a killer deal on tuesdays, one of the other movie theaters is only $3 for the first daily showing of every movie - the new releases!  One of the pools is only $3 after 5pm.  Some local farms have some really fun things for the kids too.  Just do a little research.
They get to pick 2 desserts each week to make with me
Anyway - I look over things like that and write anything that sounds interesting down on the calendar.  Because, I know myself.  If it isn't written down it will never happen - because I'll never remember!  Once I get all of the "specific time" things down I start to make a quick plan for other things.  One morning a week we play at one of the local splash pads.  Wednesday mornings we check out new parks with friends.  Tuesday mornings we get new books at the library and turn in our summer reading program sheets for prizes.  We usually take one or two days a week to go somewhere a little bigger: one of the the zoos, the children's museum, downtown Chicago.  There is at least one day a week we hang around home all day - usually mondays.  I have to keep the house under control sometime!  That day I pick some sort of craft or activity (or 2) from the vast stockpile otherwise known as pinterest.

Its all on the calendar.  I sit down Sunday night and look over the week and see what is going on.  I add in any ideas I have and make note of a craft or two for that week so that I can pick up what I need at the store.  I can see that Wednesday at 1pm is the magic show at the community center - oh!  Well that morning we could go to the park, have a picnic lunch and then go to the show.  And even that much of a plan will get you through the day.  You'll find yourself having so much fun and the more you plan out ideas - the more ideas will spontaneously come to mind.  We are only 3 weeks in and already my kids are going to bed so happy and asking with a big grin "What are we going to do tomorrow mom?!"  I'll admit that sometimes I have to say "You know, I'm not sure - but it will be fun!"  And then I spend 20 minutes figuring it out before I go to bed.

So go start your research and we'll let you know what we did on Friday!

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1 comment:

Jana said...

Hey CUTE post! I finally got to read it today. I loved it. I was even motivated to fill up our calendar until school begins for FHE tonight. It was fun to see what is around the Tri-Cities that are kid friendly and affordable. I was worried at first that I wouldn't be able to come up with many ideas...but I used some of yours, then I decided that every Tuesday is invite one friend over day, and then on Wednesday's my ward has a park schedule for the summer, where we hit up all the parks around the area. Then with trips and camp outs I just had to fill in the blanks. I DID come across FREE movies at our movie theatre! They are totally Netflix movies, but still. FREE. So fun. Thanks for all your fun ideas. You inspire me. :)