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Modern Mom's Guide to Summer

kids Summer summer planning

The Modern Mom’s Guide to Summer Planning

Summer is just around the corner. We all have that one friend who made a color-coded and laminated camp calendar back in December. More power to you if that is you!

For the rest of us, there’s more than a few major gaps in our family’s summer schedule.  No need to stress, you’ve still got plenty of time to make this a memorable summer. 

We’ve rounded up our favorite summer tips and activities to make your planning a little easier. Let’s dive in!

Start with the big things. Add vacations, events or camps you’ve already booked to the calendar. Book any remaining flights, hotels or car rentals so you have less last minute stress. If you need any special gear or equipment, order it now so you have it when gymnastics or football or space camp rolls around. 

Create a loose weekly schedule. Of course this one is made to be broken, but it can be nice to have a default option. And add a lunch date to any of these, and you’ve got a nice little half day planned!  Here’s an example:

  • Monday: Bake & make day (try a new recipe like banana sushi and make a craft)
  • Tuesday: YMCA, water park or pool day
  • Wednesday: Library and picnic lunch outing
  • Thursday: Play tourist in your own city
  • Friday: Backyard or Neighborhood scavenger hunt

Get energy out early. As a swimming family, we sign up for a swim team at our local pool. A few hours of practice in the morning means a happier and more balanced day for everyone. The saying “Tire them out before they tire you out” holds so much truth.  The goal is to get them up and out of the house before 9am to keep everyone sane.

Sprinkle in a few ‘magical moments.’ You know the ones that are seared into your brain when you look back at past summers. Magic doesn’t have to mean money. Here’s some of our (affordable) favorites:

    • Stargazing: For your budding astronomer, the best night to see the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower is July 30-31. My favorite app is SkyView Lite.
    • Picnic dinner: Stick to handheld and mess-free items for a successful picnic with kids. Here’s a few other ideas for what to make!
    • Neighborhood popsicle night: Buy a Costco size box of popsicles and send word out to the whole neighborhood. Watch kids come from every yard for a sticky and sweet treat. 
    • Outdoor concert: In our hometown of Athens, Georgia, we’re lucky to have incredible live music. Do a quick search for live, outdoor music in your hometown and surprise the kids with a concert. 
    • New farmer’s market: The best way to encourage a picky eater to try something new is to involve them in the process. Wander through a local market and choose a few unfamiliar ingredients to cook up at home. 
    • Board game competition: If CandyLand and Chutes & Ladders aren’t cutting it anymore, browse for a new option here. 
    • Sweet treat delivery: Nothing brings joy quite like unexpected cookies. 
    • Miniature golf date: Mini golf is a vacation staple but it can be fun at home too. Find a nearby course to practice your putting over a friendly competition. 
    • Driveway Art Gallery: Make a massive chalk mural to show off your kids’ creative side. 
    • Berry picking adventure: Find what is fresh near you and spend a morning picking fresh berries. Your kids won’t believe how different they taste compared to supermarket finds. 

    Build in time for reading. As a kid, I loved “DEAR” - Drop Everything And Read. What a great reminder to look up from your email and grab a real life book. You should get in on this action too. When everyone is cuddled up with a good book, kids are more likely to stick with it. Worry less about a specific reading list and more about dedicated reading time as part of your routine. Your kids’ fall teachers will thank you. 

    Make a “bored box.” Plan an outing with your kids to the local craft store or dollar store. Let them go wild and pick out crafts or kits or books that look fun to them. Then store everything together into the “bored box and hide it away until you hear the first “I’m bored” of the summer. 

    1. Lean into current interests. Got an aspiring chef? Check out some cookbooks from the library and let them go wild in the kitchen. Have a LEGO master? Set aside time for dedicated building and offer a few extra chores to save their allowance for a new set. Got an arts & crafts expert? Schedule an outing to the local art museum to get their inspiration flowing. Show your kids that their interests matter by encouraging those loves and hobbies with the extra time of the summer. 

      Chore Charts and Rewards.  Get your kids involved in the everyday chores by coming up with weekly or monthly rewards.  My favorite way to get the kids to pitch in is by giving them something to work for - like a trip to the movie theater, renting a new movie and watching it outside, or even a trip to Barnes & Noble with credit to spend on whatever they’d like!  Find some ideas for age-specific chores here and stock up on those swiffers!

      Sometimes a little bit of planning ahead will go a long way in making your days that much more relaxing and allow you to even have a little fun!  

      Would love to hear your must-do summer traditions too. Comment below with your summer special days. 

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