Thursday, June 19, 2014

summer fun list / summer plan...

Our summer officially started last Friday and we could not be happier.  It has the boys jumping for joy!

For the past four years, we have created a summer fun list.  I saw this idea on a blog and promptly stole it.  It is a great way (for us) to stay focused and to have a general plan of things to do.  We come up with the list as a family and everything is fair game.  It is also a very visual reminder, as we check off items, of all the things that we have done during the summer.

This year, I decided that I wanted an even mix of going big places and staying home creating fun.  I want to make sure that for every day I take my kids somewhere that is entertaining, say the zoo, that there is a day at home where they just play.  My three words for this summer are; organized, intentional and creative.

I know that it is up to me as the mom to organize our summer so that we don't just drift through our days and not do anything.  I love summer days without schedules or places to be.  As a result, I don't have my kids in a lot of camps this summer.  I'm also a procrastinator and love nothing more than curling up with a book and not leaving the house.  So the summer list helps this introverted / procrastinator get out and do stuff.  

I want to be intentional about how we experience summer this year.  I don't want to be subject to a schedule every day but I do want to intentionally plan days where we go and do.  I also need to combat my boys natural inclination to ditch school and anything related to school.  If you are raising a child who voluntarily reads, please take a moment and thank God for that.  Seriously.  You may not understand the gift you have been given.  I came up with a what I thought was a reasonable summer reading program and they can earn rewards for reading this summer.  Basically, I'm bribing my boys with ice cream to read this summer.  I'm not too proud to admit that.  I also have several workbooks that we are going to work through and the boys each created a summer journal.  They are going to use these to document our summer with words, pictures, ticket stubs and photos.  Here is a link to the blog where I got the 'directions' to cover our notebooks (Maggie Holmes has such a lovely blog).  You almost don't need instructions but I encouraged John to read the directions out loud and then both boys were able follow them without my help.  And BAM, he was reading without even realizing it!

My boys have a strong affinity for playing video games.  Do you like how I said that?  It seemed nicer than saying they were addicted to playing on devices.  It is a challenge to balance allowing them time to play devices and having them not use them.  We have limits and family standards but we don't have it down perfectly.  We were hesitant to open the door to hand held games because we knew that once it was open it was going to be super hard to close.  But we are managing the constant requests to play on the ipod and ipad in a way that works for our family.  One thing I knew for certain, was that I didn't want this to be something they pestered me about doing all day long did everyday all day long.  So, we have a bunch of creative things on our summer list.  For example, my boys love to paint, color and draw and we have a few days set aside that we will do just that first thing in the morning.  My boys, being boys, also love to blow things up.  So we have exploding paint bags on our list, which I found here.  This blog, Growing a Jeweled Rose, has a lot of really great ideas for kids activities.  Some of them are too young for my boys but are still really great.

We've already checked off a bunch of stuff from our list and we are only in the first week.  I'm hoping that I can stay focused on the summer.  Traditionally, I start off strong and have really good ideas and lots of energy but by August I'm done.

What's on your summer fun list?  What's your favorite thing to do in the summer?


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