Just a little somethin’ to break the monotony….Summer, summer, summertime

Yesterday was the first day of summer vacation and by 8:15 am I realized that I needed to make a plan. Not a ‘schedule every day, every minute, every activity’ plan, but I was definitely going to need to add some structure to our day. My son who just finished kindergarten was used to one, and quite frankly we all function better with some structure and a plan. Plus, with at least a basic idea in place we won’t fall into the trap of watching too much TV and just laying around the house. Both of these are fine in small doses, but I don’t want to look up and see that the whole summer has gone by.

So I did a little flexing of the googlefoo, as my husband would say, read some ideas, and came up with a basic plan.

First, I laid out our basic day, which revolves around food and sleeping:

 

            *Breakfast

            *

            *Snack

            *

            *Lunch

            *Nap

            *

            *Snack

            *

            *Dinner

 

One of the ideas that I read about had a basic list of things that the kids needed to do each day, the essentials, such as reading, writing in a journal, outside time, tidying, and then special time for a show, computer games, etc. The idea is that anytime you have open time and someone needs an activity, you can say “go write in your journal for half an hour!” A good idea perhaps for older children, and we will work on writing a bit, but I looked at the big picture.

For us, getting outside is vital, but we have to plan it. We have a lovely yard that gets A LOT of sun, so getting out early is important so we don’t fry and get tired out really quickly. So I added that in:

 

            *Breakfast

            *Outside

            *Snack

            *

            *Lunch

            *Nap

            *

            *Snack

            *

            *Dinner

 

Then I thought about when it would be a good time to do some quiet reading (our Big Girl is learning to read!!), writing, or drawing. Now, anyone who has kids knows that the best time for kids to be receptive towards an activity that requires quiet, focused attention is after they have gotten some energy out and have eaten, so I added in reading/quiet activity time in here:

 

            *Breakfast

            *Outside

            *Snack

            *Reading/Quiet activity

            *Lunch

            *Nap

            *Special stuff

            *Snack

            *

            *Dinner

 

I added ‘special’ time in after nap since the girls wake up at different times and we need variety in our quiet activities, so a show or some PBSkids.com would work here.

As of right now I am leaving the last slot open for flexibility, so if we go to the library or park or visit a friend in the morning we can still find time for reading or more time outside once the day has started cooling off a bit. (We always head out again after dinner. These kids need to run!)

One of my favorite things I read on one page was the home aspect; every day for 5-10 minutes everyone has to clean/organize something. We have long been doing Tidy Time (I will tell you more about that another time), so I though this was great. I’m imagining it’s like a flash mob that cleans – put on some music, clean like maniacs for five minutes, continue on with your day. Brilliant.

Now, I am a major believer in free-play, so each of those ‘slots’ really only takes up a half hour or so, which leaves lots of time throughout the day for the kids to play however they want.

One of the other suggestions I read about was assigning a different activity to each day, but with 3 tiny kids on my own I think I will just try to get to the library on one specific day each week and make regular play dates with friends.

Besides the library day I will use the idea of doing a craft project on Mondays – that way over the weekend when my husband is home and I have help I can make a plan and get supplies for it all set up.

Which leads me to my next point:

I MADE THE BEST SUMMER CRAFT EVER!!!!

It is called a sponge ball, and basically it is a reusable water balloon made of cut up sponges. I found the idea on Martha Stewart’s website, and contrary to all the other ideas I found, this did not involve a shadow box, handmade cork stamps, or a crap ton of time or money. Get some cheap sponges and some string. BOOM!

My son and I made 5 of these during nap and had a ton of fun in the afternoon. They are soooo much better than water balloons or squirt guns because they are totally reusable and easily refillable and repairable. The kids also used them to ‘clean’ the swing set and to cool off the seats of the swings and seesaw that had been baking in the sun all day. I didn’t get any pictures because I was too busy having fun hucking these things at my kids and dodging them when they all came after me.

Trust me: Go and make these. They are such a fun addition to outside play for the summer! I’m sure they would be fun in a pool, too! One tip I read was using rubber bands instead of string. I ended up cinching them with rubber bands first, then tying them with string, and because I tend to overdo things, adding another rubber band on top. They actually looked just like the picture did on the website, which is remarkable because it’s a Martha Stewart idea, and try as I might, I am no Martha.

 

So, that’s my plan. We are going to start this next week so I will keep you guys in the loop about how it goes!

 

Happy Summer!!!!

There’s an air of love and of happiness
And this is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness…

(that’s a link to the video, because you know that song is in your head and you totally want to listen to it now…you’re welcome)

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