Are you a planner during the summer? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?
I love to create a simple framework for our planning and then try and see how flexible we can be within that framework! With four kids (ages 3-11) and a lot of interests and opinions, one thing that is really important is to plan together!
How we host a summer planning meeting:
Have you ever involved your kids with your summer planning? I used to be able to plan everything and everyone would follow along... but now with older kids, I've learned that it is really important in our family for everyone to be part of the discussion.
For us, our summer planning meeting needs to be 1) short, 2) visual, and 3) encourage participation!
How we plan our family meeting:
First we have to find a time to plan! We usually do this on an evening night right around bedtime. Kids are usually pretty cooperative and happy to prolong bedtime a bit with a family conversation.
During our family summer planning meeting, we talk through each week and create a big calendar to help kids visualize what is happening on each day. We like to brainstorm how we'll spend the summer during our meeting. Below are SIX of the things that we talk about and build into our summer plan.
6 Things We Do Each Summer!
1. Make a Summer Fun List! We get together with friends and set up a schedule of pool days and adventure days. Everyone take's turns hosting at their neighborhood pools or we go to splash pads. We try and do at least one activity per week in the afternoon, sometimes two. We also have a beach day each month! We like to write this list on a big piece of paper and cross off the activities that we end up doing.
2. Host Summer Camp at Home! We do this maybe 1-2 mornings or late afternoons each week. We use our Virtual Book Club Summer Camp materials and we spend a few hours twice a week doing activities. It is so fun! This year these are our themes: 1) Dinosaurs & Volcanoes, 2) Things that Go 3) Camping! You can still sign up for summer camp here.
3. Have an Adventure day! Every few weeks we try and go on a full day adventure, just me and my kids. No friends. I love the time with just us! The day depends on the week and other schedules.
4. Relax! We sleep in (LOL, as much as that happens with littles), play with toys, watch movies, and hang at home!
5. Sign up for Camps! This year I've signed up my three big kids for camps a few different times. Some teenagers in our area are teaching my three big kids tennis for a week for cheap. A friend asked their mom if they would be interested in giving lessons and coordinated it. Can't wait! We also have some teenagers that are doing a backyard water camp and a basketball camp at a pretty inexpensive rate. My big kids will go to those too! While my big kids are at camp, my toddler and I will work out, run errands, and maybe try some of the additional summer camp activities we've created. I love supporting local teenagers and helping them make money while also letting my kids have a fun time with their friends!
6. Travel! We are going out of town for two different trips this summer. Once with my in-laws and once to go and drop off my big kids at Cousin's Camp run by my mom and dad. It is a week of Cousin fun with NO PARENTS. They love it! You have to be 4 to participate! I'm so glad I get to keep my toddler so that I still have a little buddy!
How we organize our plan:
We make a big wall calendar with a sharpie and some butcher paper. I like to make sure each day is clearly detailed and I will often add in a drawing so that my toddler can understand what is going on as well.
We don't write out the entire schedule, but we'll write out the times of specific events that are scheduled during the week.
We don't put our adventure list activities onto the calendar until after we do them! This is because sometimes things come up and schedules change or someone gets sick and I like my kids to be able to recognize that we can be flexible and spontaneous and not everything has to go on the calendar.
I also have a hard time making a decision sometimes until the day of because weather here can change so dramatically or something additionally fun could come up with friends!
Now that I've shared my summer plan and how we organize it, I'd love to hear yours! If you need any help planning anything or need ideas, feel free to reach out! I'm always here to help!