At home with kids for the summer? Need ideas to make your summer great? All it takes is a little planning and a bit of a schedule. I’ve got a few tips to share with you before summer gets here.
Summer will be here before we know it, right?! No more school papers, drop offs / pick ups, or homework, but a lot more free time right? Usually we’re ready for a change, but if I don’t plan for it, those first couple weeks seem so odd. We don’t know what to do with ourselves and we’re all just adjusting. Then I finally realize we need a game plan to make the most of summer. Instead of wasting those first couple weeks, I have started my planning a few weeks before school gets out. Want to know how I plan to have a great summer at home with kids? Alright!
Remember, there are always many ways to accomplish a goal (goal: making the most of summer) and every family dynamic is different. Take what you want, adjust as needed, find a different solution, etc. I’m rounding up a few of the ways that have worked for me or that I’ve seen have worked.
1) Birds Eye View
So let’s call this first step – creating a birds eye view of your summer. Print out a calendar, or write out the days of summer on a piece of paper. I’ve found this awesome calendar website here where you can print 3 months on one page, or other options as well. For 2023, I found this 2023 summer one that had it all ready for me, all I had to do was push print and then bam, I’ve got a birds eye view of my summer.
If you have summer plans already then get them on your calendar – color code, write, however you want. If you are noticing you don’t have many plans – don’t let summer pass you by! This is where you think about those bigger summer ideas – vacations, road trips, kids camps, swimming lessons, summer school, holidays, time off, etc. We aren’t planning the day to day at this point – but the bigger things.
Be careful not to fill your schedule too full. This is why seeing the whole summer calendar helps, look for too full of weeks, weeks that are empty and space it out so that you are doing enough but not too much. You still want a lot of blank spaces (that later will be filled up with smaller things), but just be sure to map out the bigger plans. Set dates for those plans, book tickets, sign up for things – don’t put it off. You don’t want to realize you missed it because you didn’t get it planned in time.
2) Summer Bucket List
Next would be to start thinking about the smaller day to day summer fun you want to have. We usually make a Bucket List in our family every season because we’ve learned that if we don’t think of fun small things to do together – we wake up and that season passes without doing what we had imagined. If you want to make the most of summer then you need to act and do, not just talk about it. With a quick google search, you can see a million summer bucket list ideas, or fun summer ideas. Read through these and then make your own!
I made a free blank printable for you so you can write down your own family bucket list for the summer. Grab it here. Don’t do this on your own – get the whole family involved. We make this a family dinner discussion those last few weeks of school. We also tell the kids that we won’t get to all of their ideas; but we listen, write them down, and narrow down to the ones we really want to do this summer.
3) Daily Routine
I thrive with a routine, and most kids really do too! Even though summer can be a “free for all” it also can have flow to the day. As a mom, I need predictability. As a mom of littles, I need nap time / quiet time. And they need to know when snack is, lunch is etc. But this is really where you’ll need to think of your family dynamic and adjust for what you need. Have little kids? Maybe they’d like a daily routine and have a time schedule to follow. Have older kids? I have friends who do more of a checklist style – where their kids need to do a few things first, and then they can do anything they want. I really like this and as my kids get older I will be transitioning to this. Before they can do electronics they will need to do chores, reading, get outside or move their body for 20 min, etc. I’ve got a few examples of schedules vs. checklists. Follow the links below to see up closer and get an idea of how to make your own. You don’t have to create these from scratch if you don’t want to, use what’s out there.
- 1 – Daily Summer Schedule
- 2 – Sample Summer Schedule for Multiple Aged Kids
- 3 – Summer Checklist Schedule
- 4 – Summer Schedule Theme … and this leads to the next idea…
4) Daily Theme
Here’s another really fun idea, we started trying it last year and it worked pretty well. Each day of the week could have a theme so that you aren’t always doing the same thing every day. So for example you are doing Water Wednesday – then you’d take ideas from your bucket list, or brainstorm water activities and do one each Wednesday. My only complaint on this – is burnout is totally possible if you go too overboard. For me, I like the idea, but also don’t want to be required to do things and make it too complicated. I might just pick 1-2 days a week to have a “theme” and call that balance 🙂 But let me share a few theme ideas, these all sound fun:
- Make it Monday, Take a Trip Tuesday, Water Day Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, Fun Outdoor Friday
- Make it Monday, Learning Tuesday, Water Wednesday, Nature Thursday, Foodie Friday, Super Saturday
- Lazy Day Monday, Try it Tuesday, Book Worm Wednesday, Take a Trip Thursday, Fun Day Friday
Want more ideas about theme days or even a free printable? I loved this post from the Unoriginal Mom, and if you liked the 3rd bullet point above, grab her printable.
5) Remember the Goal
Okay the last thing is the most important. You can do all the planning, fill the days, make the crafts … but if you get lost in making the plans or keeping the kids busy – you might just miss the point. Remember your goals for your summer. You only get 18 summers with your kids. That may sound like a lot but it is going to go quick. They aren’t going to remember all the hard work, silly snacks, fun crafts you did for them. They’ll remember spending TIME with you. So, don’t worry too much about what you do, but just BE THERE. And one last thought – don’t forget to REST, because summer is about having a break, making a change, and recharging for the next year.
You’ve got this mama! Get ready for a fun journey to making the most of your summer. I’m excited to see what’s in store for our family this summer. I know for sure my kids are going to eat everything in the house – that’s one thing that doesn’t change year to year!