How To Plan an Awesome Summer With Young Kids
When I think of Summer I remember long hot days filled with bike riding and water fights with the neighbor kids. I remember sticky popsicles melting and walks to the park to play baseball. I remember hours on my best friend's bedroom floor surrounded by barbies and sipping lemonade on the porch swing. Play was a huge part of these memories. The joyful, free play that make up those magical childhood moments.
Hopefully you are excited about Summer drawing near, but I know a lot of parents worry about how to fill their days with energetic kids and a lack of structure that school brings.
Are you worried about filling your days?
Overwhelmed by how busy or not busy you might be?
I love Summer and I am excited to help you plan your awesome summer, whatever your feelings may be.
I have gotten so many emails and FB group messages lately about summer camps and events. They are tempting and the attraction is obvious, but why are we so afraid of free time?
I have such wonderful memories of my childhood summers. I did usually go to soccer camp for a week or two, especially as I got older, but most of my summer was spent playing in the neighborhood with friends, walking to the library or parks, and spending time outside. Hours and hours, just reading and playing outside. I wouldn't trade that time for anything.
So before you start filling in your summer calendar with camps and activities, set aside at least some of the time for the freedom and time for play and exploration.
In Part 2 and Part 3 of the how to plan a summer series, I share field trip tips and activity ideas, but do not feel the need to plan an activity for every moment or a field trip for every day. Give your child(ren) space and freedom to play and read and be outside this summer. You won't regret it and their memories will last forever.
Today, however, is about getting started. Giving you a sense of structure that will help you transition into summer with excitement rather than dread.
1. Get a calendar. This may be a calendar you already have or you might want to print some blank summer months off or buy a calendar. Totally up to you. I have a calendar with nice big squares for writing that I use year round for planning our days, weeks, and months.
2. Mark Holidays and any Festivals you plan to attend. The Fourth of July is obvious for most Americans. Are there other traditions you have in the summer? Attending the County or State Fair? Anything during which you want to make sure you are in town.
3. Put your Big Trips on the calendar first. I like to highlight around these boxes so they stand out more. For instance, last summer we went on a camping trip in Georgia and took a road trips North to visit family and friends in the Midwest. If your kids are in school you will also want to mark when school gets out and when schools starts again so you have the parameters set for your summer.
4. Add Smaller trips and Potential trips. Anything not definite I like to write in pencil, but do what works for you. This summer we will be getting settled in our new home in New York, but I have penciled in some trips to the beach and a weekend in Boston to visit friends.
5. Add any Summer Camps your kids are participating in during the summer.
6. Now that you have all the big events and time out of town written down, start penciling in the other things you already know. These are the Weekly and Monthly things that will be repeated throughout the summer on the weeks that you are home and your kids are not in camps. For instance, we go to the library once a week for storytime so this gets added. Maybe your kids are taking swim lessons or going to Bible School once a week, etc. In Part 2 I share some ideas for outings and field trips in case you need ideas here.
Now you have a great start to planning your summer. You should still have plenty of blank spaces and time during your weeks and days.
This is okay!
In fact, it is great.
I'll share more about how to structure and embrace this time and share tons of activity ideas for art and science and more, but for now relax and don't be afraid of those blank spaces. These blank spaces are likely where the magical childhood memories of play will be created. You have a great start.
If you feel like you need to do more today, start pinning some ideas that look like fun. To get you (and me) started, I have a special Pinterest Board dedicated to Simple Summer Fun.
As a bonus to subscribers, I send out a printable list of PLAY every day Ideas every month! Simple ways to engage your child in play every day of the month. These ideas will;
*Be low prep
*Involve very few materials
*Have a short time commitment
*Address all areas of development
*Carve out a little bit of time every day to play
If you already subscribe to the Newsletter, your PLAY every day calendar of ideas for May is headed your way.
If NOT, Subscribe to the Bambini Newsletter so you don't miss out!
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