Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our Summer of Fun :: Week One!

I promised to share our summer plans awhile back and have just been so busy DOING them I forgot to share :)

Last summer was a rough year. I don't know why. Maybe because we had a longer summer vacation last year? Maybe because our oldest had gotten so used to being in school full time (he had just finished Kindergarten)? The new neighborhood, fewer friends? I am telling you it was horrible. That's right folks, I love my children, but I was one happy gal to see them get on that bright shiny bus come fall. Therefore, I knew going into summer this year that I needed a plan of action. Nothing crazy, but enough to keep the kiddos entertained, and for me to keep what's left of my sanity. 

We typically do a summer bucket list. It's fun, but I almost feel like we put things on there that are 'givens' like "go to the pool" or "have ice cream". Regardless of our list I knew we would be doing things like that, so I wanted to try to do all those fun things I always pin but never actually get around to doing. I also wanted to try to incorporate a bit of learning as well.

I was inspired by this schedule I pinned a few weeks back, so I created our own making sure each day had a bit of fun and a bit of learning. Also, by making my own I was able to really narrow down some of the things the kids need to work on (for instance, our 3 year old still needs help with his colors, so I have a day devoted to that). I had it printed and it now hangs in our hall:

Words in parenthesis are the learning activities.

 This is just a loose schedule. If the kids choose to ditch my fun activity for the day to play with their friends, that is fine. It's summer and I think things should be laid back and fun. 

On the back of this page I wrote a few of the ideas to do on each day, since as soon as Make-Something-Monday comes along, my mind suddenly reaches a huge blank. This also helps me plan out the weeks better. 

To aid in this I also printed up a few pages with just the images from some of the pins that I hope to do. Since I am a visual person, this works best to keep me interested and inspired. 

Although Wednesday is the only day it specifically lists a water day, trust me, most days are a water day. Early in the year we purchased our season passes to our pool, water spray park, and beach. (I am telling you after last year, I did not mess around!). One of my biggest goals this summer was to work on the kid's swimming. Already from the start of summer to now I see such a huge difference. 

Along with the daily activities, we also have weekly ones. 

I loved this idea of a summer service list and having activities for the kids to do for others. This is huge for us and something I plan to continue well past summer. I made a small list of ideas, but we are certainly not limited to these ideas. For example, for the first week our selfless deed was buying balloons for one of their friends who had broken his wrist. 

The second thing I did was start a Lego Club with some of the other local moms. Although we have a great parks dept here that usually offers programs like this, I knew that this was something that I could easily do for FREE. Each week the kids are given an assignment like "build a mode of transportation". At the next meeting they bring in their projects, talk a bit about it and show it off. Then it's free play with Legos and a snack at the end. 

Since one of my passions is art, I decided to do a small art class for the kids. I will be honest. We have not done one yet. This past week I stumbled across this pin about holding an art week, and now I am thinking about just doing that :) 

Not on the list is a little cooking class Jason is doing for the kids. Again, this is a program offered through our parks dept., but why NOT do it at home? Sometimes I think we see all these fancy classes we can put our kids in that we miss out on doing the teaching ourselves. Also, this gives us the chance to start teaching them some of the basics like cracking eggs and cutting fruit (done with a plastic knife for those of you worried *cough* mom ;) ).

Finally, if you look at Saturday, you will see that it says to work on new interests. I had each of the kids choose something they wanted to learn how to do. For Jameson, he is learning how to braid to make bracelets, Cayden is learning how to tie her shoes, and Braden is working on pedaling his 'big boy' bike. I didn't really get around to this until week 2. 

Ready to see how our first week went?

Monday, we made these Popsicles out of Sierra Mist and Gummy Bears. Um, instant hit. 

I knew we were onto something when the kids told everyone and anyone they saw the next few days about it :)

Tuesday we took a wonderful little trip to the beach we lived near when we still lived in the city. I love the beaches in Chicago, especially the bike baths that run along them. 

Our first Wednesday was a bit of a dud. We have gotten a ton of rain here this summer. But, we worked on our sight words (for Boo, we worked on ABC's) instead: 

Jameson got a few birthday gifts that are quite perfect for Thinking Thursday, like this volcano set. 

We also went on a little hunt for the circles outside (tires, etc). 

On Fun days I like to surprise the kids with a little kit with that day's theme. It also lets me sleep in a little longer, ha!

I forgot to mention that as well as the pool passes, we had each kid pick out one activity to sign up for (Ballet, baseball camp, etc). The course are not long, but it's nice for them to each do their own thing for a bit. 

I hope to share some of the other weeks with you soon! We are a few weeks into this now, and honestly having a bit of a routine that the kids can plan and get excited about has been wonderful. Not to say they still don't drive me bonkers from time to time, but I have to admit that I am loving this summer so far!

Hope you summer is going wonderful too :)


Want to follow along on all our summer ideas? Follow my Summer Business board on Pinterest!