In one short week my boys will be on summer vacation. This date is coming at me full speed and I feel a bit like a Captain of a sailing vessel screaming at the crew, “Batten down the hatches, secure the rigging, the hurricane is coming!” I am both terrified by the storm clouds on the horizon and thrilled at the excitement they may bring. My hurricanes happen to come in the form of three little balls of hyped up boy energy.
I want to explain a little bit about this impending feeling of anxiousness. It is not because I don’t want my kids at home with me. That is actually far from the truth. I am so excited to have more time with them and have some fun adventures for the next two months. The real issue is that the change in schedule just messes them up. It affects their behavior and mood immensely because they were used to a certain way for months and now we are changing it. Last summer only my oldest was in preschool and it was only three days a week. When his school ended it was enough to turn our house upside down for several weeks. This summer all three boys have been in school five days a week. They will go from a structured schedule to hanging out with Mom and sister with no real schedule.
I learned my lesson last summer. Now I know a little better what to expect and I am trying to plan accordingly. Here are a few of the things I am getting ready before summer officially starts.
Looking into summer programs
Day Camps - I looked at several day camps and summer programs, but for the cost to send the three boys for one week we could go on a nice family vacation. It just doesn’t seem that worth it to me when I can plan our own themed weeks and keep us entertained.
Vacation Bible School – Our church, like many others, offers one week in the summer of vacation bible school. Ours is very reasonably priced so we have signed the boys up. Lilly isn’t old enough yet so she will still be with me during that week.
YMCA – The Y near us has a family membership that covers three classes per kid in the family and full access to all of the facilities including adult classes, work out equipment and child care. I told the kids they could pick one physical class and one art class. The boys have decided they want to be in the glee club and a class called world of sports. I gave them the opportunity to pick their own class but they all wanted to do the same thing. I asked Lilly if she wanted to do sports with her brother, but she decided she wanted to dance like her big cousin so she is getting signed up for a ballet class.
Stocking my house with supplies
Craft supplies- We are a crafty family. One of our favorite things to do, especially when the afternoon gets over 100 degrees, is some art projects. Before they get out of school I am going to try to double check my materials to make sure I have some of my staple art supplies. Here is my list of things I like to have on hand for impromptu and unstructured art projects
- Watercolors, tempura paints, painting utensils (brushes, q-tips, sponges)
- Construction paper
- White cardstock
- Glue (tacky, glue sticks, and Elmer’s white glue)
- Decorations for projects like glitter, feathers, pom poms and buttons
- Pipe cleaners
Educational supplies – Last summer one of our favorite things was the reusable workbooks with dry erase markers and crayons. I have to check our markers to see if I need a few more, but our crayons are still good so we will be using those again. Our library card is going to be incredibly useful this summer. I plan on doing themed weeks again like I did last year, and I want to take the kids to the library at the beginning of each week to pick out books on our subject. I also want to take a trip to our local Lakeshore learning store to get a few new supplies that focus on writing and reading.
Planning family vacation time
We have already had our big trip this year. We flew out to see my sister during spring break so that means summer is pretty much unplanned. We know we aren’t going to do a big family summer vacation, but we did want to plan a few small get aways. We decided that camping would be a good way to go. I was surprised when I started looking into camp grounds a few months ago to find that they were all booked up, sometimes up to 6 months to a year in advance. Go figure. Now I know for next year, I have to start planning the summer as soon as this one ends (yikes, when is a mama to take a breath?)
Luckily we were able to plan two separate long weekend camping trips with family and friends. The kids are very excited because they absolutely love camping. I do too. Some of my fondest summer memories were camping with my family and my church. I am looking forward to continuing that with my kids.
Planning themed weeks
Last summer the best thing I did was set up themed weeks with the kids. This year I am going to add in even more because I have had time to plan. They told me they want to do fairy tales, so I have planned out two weeks’ worth of activities. One week is based on Grimm’s Brothers and the second week is Hans Christian Anderson.
I only have those two weeks planed out so far, but they have also requested Star Wars, Phineas and Ferb, and science I told them they might have to narrow down science for me, but we have time to get into that. I love making these plans for them. It makes me excited about the things we are doing throughout the summer, and it holds me a bit accountable because we have things to get done instead of relying on TV and electronics to pass the time.
I know that the change of routine can be very difficult for toddlers and kids, but I am hoping that this year I am a little more prepared and can help negate some of that drastic change. I am looking forward to enjoying the summer with my kids and I think with set plans and some scheduled activities we will have a blast.
Does the summer months change your schedule drastically?