Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer Planning

It is the final countdown.

My children have 7 1/2 days of school left (and I am on jury duty next week!) It occurred to me this week that I have to get going on our Summer plans.

We only have one week of travel, so I am the cruise director for the remaining 80 days. I understand the importance of not over-scheduling my children, but I also understand that too much idle time (or screen time for that matter) is a recipe for in-fighting. 

We will participate in many of the library's Summer Reading Program activities and our church's VBS. I have also worked with the children to select several day camps they are interested in (art, tennis, baseball, basketball), but all of them are either 9-11 or 9-12. This still leaves 10-11 hours a day of time. I have learned as a Mom that it always behooves me to have somewhat of a plan in my back pocket--but for sanity's sake, I must hold it loosely. In other words, I like to have a plan that allows for spontaneity and some ownership and decision-making by my children. 

The way we approached this last year was to make a big list of things we would like to do during the Summer. Some were big--day trips to Atlanta or Chattanooga for the aquarium, the zoo, the children's museum. Others were small--making t-shirts, playing in the city fountain, a picnic. We wrote them on different index cards and put them in a large manila envelope. When we were 'bored,' we'd go to the envelope and pick an activity. As we completed them we posted the cards inside my pantry doors. By the end of the Summer we had lots to show for our time off from school.

I am brainstorming ways to build to this system. I am thinking of color coding the cards according to length of time needed (i.e, 1-2 hours, half day or full day). I am still debating the merits of random drawing (with Mom veto allowed, of course) or having our "Leader of the Day" select. 

I am also considering adding a few work projects around the house to the list like cleaning the garage, washing baseboards etc...(although I know those would necessitate random drawing :-)

I would love to open the comments up to how you organize your Summer.  I am certain there are some terrific ideas in this group. Please share!


Bailey's Leaf said...

Barnes and Noble has a reading program. Read 8 books and earn a book from their list. It is a limited list, but I'm always good for a free book!

My sister and I are doing a "Lots of Learning" club this summer. We are going to split every other week and give lessons to the kids to work on throughout the week. We'll be going to a honey farm, we'll be gardening, visiting the botanical gardens, learning about tornadoes and researching some artists.

Good luck!

Marva said...

Summer is our busy time. The boys actually go back to "school" next week and I go back to work. Since we farm....let me suggest....

1. Go to a working farm
2. Go to a farmers market
3. Go to a u pick farm (let them pick and help prepare/preserve th food)
4. Let them plant a pepper plant tomato plant or something along they want to plant.

Have a great summer!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

This is right up my alley - I love organising stuff like this. Can't WAIT for my twins to be older.

J, I love the index cards idea.

I'd definitely organise them by amt of time it takes to get done.

It may also help to have one large-ish thing per day (planned) and then some smaller ones that they get to pick when they're bored.

Also, I don't know what you guys are like but we don't like too many out of the house things per week (so reserve some days for things around the house).

Also, I saw flylady.net has a Camp Control Journal. Every day the kids do their camp chores first (clean up rooms, etc) and you can add one house thing per day too (wash dog, etc.) and then the fun starts.

Arlene Grimm said...

Jmom I had to chuckle when I saw wash baseboards!! That was always my mom's go to activity when we whined we were bored!lol...Needless to say I tried to find something to do to avoid those baseboards.

JP's MOM said...

We have 2 cans for summer fun. One can is things to do around the house and one can is things to do out around town or neighboring towns.

One of my childrens favorite around the house ideas is to create a snowstorm in the living room. They literally spend hours cutting out snowflakes. Then I get a ladder and put them on top of the ceiling fan and then turn on.

Do you have geocaching there? That is really fun if you have a portable GPS unit.

elizabeth said...

This makes me laugh at myself b/c I am SOOO not an organized person. That you organize your summer, and obviously many others do as well, really makes me feel pretty bad about myself! I think I like summer most b/c it is nothing scheduled, relaxed and "go-with-the-flow" so to speak. I especially like the no alarm clocks! I, however, can see the beauty in the organizing of it all b/c often we get to the end of our summer and I think, "We didn't get to do this..", or, "Where did the time go?," etc. Maybe you should hold a organization class for people on the other side of the spectrum, like myself! :) Happy organizing. See you at the pool some, I hope!

Melissa said...

I was just thinking about this myself.
One thing I did was go to a local hotel and collected a bunch of the tourist pamphlets they have. I found a lot of local things to do that I had never heard of before! Now the kids will have a brochure to look at when we choose that activity. I am going to plan one big trip a week (to a museum or the zoo, etc.) and then lots of little things to fit in as well.
We have a kids cooking school, library programs, and VBS as well. I can't wait for summer!!

Carrie said...

Maybe have one color of card be for charity/volunteer type projects. Things that don't have to be set up with an organization, like pick up litter or help a neighbor, and "bigger" projects like take school supplies to the local shelter or Salvation Army when they start collecting for back to school. The kiddos can earn money to buy food or needed items.
Also, any relatives or friends that live out of town (or even IN), they can make cards or write letters/draw pictures. I am not a mom, but I have 17.5 nieces and nephews and their pictures/letters are always sweet and often funny, and they love getting mail back from me.