Summer is here, which means kids are around (and possibly it might feel like they are in your butt) if you don’t go to a year-round school. Those same children, who I’m guessing live with you most of the time, will probably be with you for the next ninety days hopefully with a fun vacation baked into that time.
It’s been two weeks in my house already and that familiar feeling of “I’m going to go cray-cray in my brain-brain” is creeping in on me. With my full-time virtual job, still driving to a few camps, trying to get some physical exercise by working out (I know I’M WORTH IT, but do you know how inconvenient this is?!?!) oh, and the kids need to be fed from time to time.
My kids are, fortunately (and unfortunately) very used to the whole, “Uh, you’re hungry? Again? Didn’t you eat already? You got any ideas for what you’d like now?”
My kids know that I love them and it is crystal clear to them that feeding them is not one of my Mommy strengths. I stayed up until 11:20 p.m. last night talking through a breakdown that began around 9:00 p.m. THAT is my superpower and I’m proud of it, but food–not so much.
Anyway, summer is here and each year I get better at planning my summers for optimal family peace. Saying “optimal family peace” is making me nervous giggle, but I’m claiming it!
So here are the things I’ve done over the last five years:
Summer Themes My Family Has Done (and Loved)
The first time I did this, we called it “the summer of new things.” We did one thing each week we had never done before. It was a BLAST! A few things I remember were going to Reed’s Gold Mine and then to the trampoline place Jump Sky High. It was definitely one of my favorite summers.
The second summer was “the summer of things we love!” That summer we did things that we loved to do each week. So we went to our favorite parks, we ate Ben & Jerry’s ice cream a lot, we went to Jump Sky High and Monkey Joe’s that summer. It was totally awesome as well!
The third summer we did “the alphabet summer.” In the school they were going to before the summer started, they would focus on one subject for three months. The first of which was the Rain Forest so I carried that into the summer and the theme ended up being “animals.” So we each picked an animal and did lots of different projects with the animal. We used Model Magic to sculpt our animals and then painted them. I remember making dioramas which was totally fun and of course, the library was heavily involved with our projects. If you do this, my biggest piece of advice is to keep it a total blast and just have fun with it.
The fourth summer I cannot remember for anything so you get to create your own theme and make up fabulous stories about how much fun we had. 🙂
The fifth summer ended up being a survival summer for me. I was presented with an opportunity to do some legal crap which I’m still paying back. But mostly we stayed at home, reading, writing, and doing crafts. I remember it being a relatively uneventful and calm summer, but it was not one I wish to repeat.
This coming summer we’ve deemed “More Bang for Our Buck” summer. I’m super excited about this one because we’ll probably make a budget (when kids are old enough for this, I think it’s incredibly important to let them in on the whole money process). Also, Michael wants to help which is a huge asset because I depend on him so much to help me figure things out and problem solve. I love to say to him, “Ok, here’s the situation and here’s where I want to end up.” His brain gets me where I want to go most of the time and man oh man, what a gift! And he loves to help so it’s the perfect match.
9 Summer themes Ideas That Might be a Blast
Using the one’s from above and always include relaxation time …
The summer of New Things!
The Summer of Things We Love!
Under The Sea Summer (or another central subject that you could do lots of different activities around)
More Bang for Your Buck Summer
Summer of Stuff To Do From Different Blogs
Summer of Letters and Words! – Oh, your family could have loads of fun making poems, coloring different letters, drawing stories, writing stories, there would be lots of library trips, road trip letter games … Oh gheesh, so many ideas!!!
Summer of Numbers!
Our healthiest summer yet! – Learn about physical health, mental health (books like Filling Your Bucket), psychological health, emotional health, etc… I could see yoga becoming a solid part of this and locally grown fruits and veggies and lots of cooking!
Orange Summer – This could be a blast. You could have to eat one orange thing each day and wear orange every Monday or even have each month be a different color.
Ok, Ok, I’ll stop there but you get the point! 🙂 I have found that summer’s that have some sort of focus more naturally flow without the frantic disconnect and
Ok, so once you define your summer – and I HIGHLY recommend the kids get involved with choosing what the summer theme will be, I wanted to share some ideas you can use.
No, I didn’t come up with the ideas, I just found them for you. You. are. welcome! There are some AMAZING bloggers who are super good at this stuff. I am good at other things. Blogging about crafts is not yet on my list of “things Mica is good at.”
Please note that some of these tips and ideas you may have heard before, but my thought about that is if so many people are saying it, it’s probably a pretty solid piece of advice.
Zen Habits Love this one, especially because there’s a quote that says, ““Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.” – Red Buttons
What The Kids Can be Doing This Summer
Now, while we’re relaxing what are our children doing?
They’re doing some of these awesome activities with the understanding that our different brainers often need more stimulating activities. These are things that will keep them focused, fill their bodies with the stimulus they need to feel, and hopefully make them feel really good.
I’m only sharing one site and I’m a little bit scared to share it with you … because if you’ve not been on Pinterest before, it’s a bit of an abyss. Sometimes I enter and then forget to come out. So go in at your own risk and know that I believe you’ll find amazing activities you’ll want to do with your children and that your children will love to do!
And here’s another thing IMO (in my opinion): kids of ALL ages can do activities even if it says for young kids. Take shaving cream, for example. I’d LOVE to shmear shaving cream all around a smooth surface and add colors and squish my hands around for 2o minutes. I would even invite my kids to join me, but they wouldn’t have to.
Half the time you just have to make the supplies accessible and sit down to start doing the activity yourself. Your kids will sometimes very naturally come and join you (well, with screen time limits of course).
And here are our summertime screen time rules for this summer. Each child gets three hours a day of screen time which they choose when they do it (no more than an hour at a time though).
THEN, they can “earn” another 30 minutes of screen time. This is my very intelligent and tricky plan to get them to do things for the house and me. So this morning, Mason earned his 30 minutes fast because he cooked pancakes for breakfast. Age appropriate is always necessary, but cleaning up something they normally don’t have to, helping you to prep for a project or setting the table or whatever… kids love to help and if it’s done in a kind and fun way, the whole family will benefit.
WHEW! I hope you do have an amazing summer and I hope these ideas are helpful for creating fun, non-screen activities that are beneficial, stimulating for our different brainers, easy, and joyful.
All the very best to you and your family,
If you have some awesome summertime sensory activities you would like to share, meet me on Facebook!