Wednesday, June 6, 2012

There's a 104 Days of Summer Vacation

Even though this is only our second year of school I have already learned to dread the next 100+ days that will be coming along. I am not a schedule person. I've never been a schedule person. I'm more a fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens kind of person, which, let's face it, makes parenting more than a little challenging! Kids need structure, and routine, and frankly we get a big fat FAIL in that department! We have noticed over the past few months especially that our kids really need this structure, so I'm going to have to fight really hard against my wing-it nature to create some structure around here this summer. Being due with baby #4 at the end of August, which means that I have to get through the ENTIRE, miserably hot, Ohio River Valley summer big and pregnant with three active kids means I also can't handle a free for all summer this year. So what's a schedule/routine challenged/desperate mama to do? Well, turn to Google of course!

I started by Googling things like creating summer schedules for kids, summer wish lists, fun summer activities, etc. and found a wealth of information. If you struggle in this area like I do turn to Google. There are so many very smart mommies out there who are kind enough to share their knowledge with all of us somewhat challenged mommies :-) After reading several articles on creating summer schedules for kids I decided to assign each day of the week a theme.

Mondays will be Mission Monday, following in line with getting back on my FlyLady routine. (If you struggle in the area of organization and chaos like I do, I highly recommend FlyLady! When I really follow her like I have in the past it is so much more calm around here!) I don't know about you but our weekends tend to be very busy and we spend most of it running. We tend to come home, dump things, grab more things and take off again. So by the end of the weekend the house is trashed! The dishes have piled up and things are crazy! So Monday is the day to get the house back in shape. I will spend the time teaching the kids certain chores I want them to learn (based on their age and ability) and prepare them to be ready to help out more after Eli's arrival. This one day of focused cleaning at the beginning of the week will leave the rest of the week open to do fun things (with a little maintenance every day of course!) Monday will also be pajama and TV day. The kids will have the option of staying in their PJs all day if they want to and they will also get to watch all the TV and play all the computer/video games that they want. I'm hoping by giving them one day a week to indulge it will be a little easier to limit these activities during the rest of the week! 

Tuesday is going to be Time-Out Tuesday. This is the day when we will get out and take fun trips to places around town. This is the day for park play dates, picnics, trips to the zoo, the water park, etc. I have invited some friends to join us on our Tuesday adventures. So every week I'll send them a message on Facebook of where we are going, how much it will cost (if anything), etc. I am excited to do some fun things this year, and have my mommy friends along to join in on them with us. 

Wednesday is going to be Whatever Wednesday. This will be an at home day for them to do whatever they want. My mom got them a pool for the backyard which they can splash around in when they want to. They can play on the swing set, ride bikes, scooters, etc. But as every mom knows, after a few days you eventually hear the dreaded words "Mom, I'm Bored!!!" So I decided to follow the lead of some of those very smart blogging mommies and create "I'm Bored Jars". 

I took two jars that we had gotten years ago when we were going to do "Obedience Jars" with the Brianna and Jonah. Those lasted all of maybe two months and were abandoned to the back of a cabinet. So I took all the stickers off those jars, grabbed some scrapbooking supplies and set to work. Sorry I don't have any step by step pictures, but my camera is on the fritz lately. (Come to find out, we really just needed a new camera card! Who knew!?!)

Basically I am now working on activity ideas to put in the jars. One jar will contain independent activities, or activities that take little guidance from me. The other jar will be things that require my supervision and participation. In order for them to pull from that jar they will have to check with me and make sure I have time to get involved in a big project. I have a feeling this jar is going to create some really great memories!!

Some ideas I have to put in the jars so far:
-have a tea party
-make homemade bread and jam
-play in the sprinkler
-have a water gun fight
-make a sidewalk chalk art display
-paint with ice cubes
-make cookies and deliver them to neighbors
-have a lemonade stand and donate the money to the Ronald McDonald House
-build an indoor fort of blankets
-make homemade bubbles
-have a dance party
-create a scavenger or treasure hunt
-have a water balloon fight
-make homemade playdough
-perform the Mentos experiment
-make ice cream in a plastic bag
-perform the Ivory soap souffle
-read for 15 minutes
-color a picture
-build a city with Legos
-play Barbies/Bratz
-set up the train track and play trains
-ride your bike for 30 minutes
-play on the computer for 30 minutes
-choose a 30 minute show to watch
-make paper boats and have bath tub/swimming pool boat races
-do a chore of mom's choice (that will be in there several times!! lol)
-find 5 toys you don't play with anymore and give to mom to put in a donate bin
-find 5 books you don't read anymore that are in good shape to be donated to the library or Children's Hospital.
-find 3 items of clothing that don't fit anymore. Give to mom to put in a donate bin.
-make homemade finger paint (this will be used to paint pictures on paper and to body paint!!!)
-Have a shaving cream fight
-Make a homemade Slip and Slide

You are starting to get the idea. So I'll print up strips and put them in the jars. Anytime they say "I'm Bored" they have to pull from one of the jars. I wonder how many times they'll have to pull "Do a chore of Mom's choice" before they start to come up with activities on their own and won't want to pull from the jars anymore! lol I'm excited about my little jars! And I like that they're cute too, so I can leave them on the counter and not feel like they're just clutter!

Thursdays we will continue our summer tradition of Swim Thursday at our friend Lisa's house. There is a group of us that have been doing this for a few years now and we all look forward to it so much! We bring our own lunches, snacks and drinks and spend the day swimming and splashing! It is often the highlight of our week!

Friday will be Friend Friday. This is the day that will be set aside if they want to invite a friend over to play or spend the night. That way I don't have to fight off requests all week of "Can So-and-So come over?" If they want to play with neighborhood friends through the week that's fine, and I'll try to keep them outside as much as possible. This day applies more to friends that don't live in the neighborhood. Plus, it fights off having requests for sleepovers in the middle of the week when Steven and my mom have to go to work the next day. Giggling girls who stay up all night don't allow for much sleep! :-)

Then the weekends are Family Fundays! That's when we'll tackle some of the things on our Summer Bucket List! I asked the kids the other day what they want to do this summer. I got some pretty standard answers from a 5 and a 7 year old: go swimming, go to King's Island, go to Coney Island, go to the Zoo, go to a Red's game, have play dates, go to the park. King's Island and the Zoo are give ins this year since my mom got the kids zoo passes for their birthdays this year, and she got us King's Island passes for Christmas. So yes, we will go to those two places often! Parks and play dates, well, yeah. And go swimming, well obviously swim Thursday takes care of that request! So I came up with some more ideas and together Steven and I will decide what we will try to tackle and when. Often it will depend on the weather for that coming weekend (there is nothing worse than walking around the zoo when it's 110 degrees outside!!) and what other events are on the calender (birthdays, holidays, etc.) 

So that's our weekly theme days. I am trying to instill in them a daily routine, but that's just gonna take time and patience. So far, so good though. (But seeing how it's only day 6 of our summer vacation, I don't want to jinx us! lol)


PalouseMom said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas... I too really struggle with structure and have been trying to incorporate more for the sake of my kids (and my own sanity)!!

In Light of the Truth... said...

Great ideas! I hope that you have a fantastic summer and it goes better than you think!