I think I was more excited about the arrival of summer break this time than I’ve ever been before. I was desperately in need of a change from our routine and the monotony of our dreaded schedule. The weeks prior to my family’s last carpool line for the school year, I read a plethora of articles and blog posts about what to and not to do over the summer. I read about some parents letting their kids run free and other parents who wouldn’t dare. After a while it all felt judgy, misguided, and completely wrong for my family.
You see, I strongly believe in doing what works for you and yours. I’m adamant about that policy for me and mine and I wouldn’t dare tell YOU how to enjoy your summer. I can tell you how my family will be spending our summer and some of my ways, as a mother, to keep it all together.
My kids will be involved in community activities. They already are. We don’t have the extra money to attend every camp in the area and honestly don’t feel the need to. If you can afford it, GO FOR IT! Finding the lesser expensive (preferably FREE) events in our area works out a lot better for us. I’m able to keep my eyes on the girls while enjoying whatever is occurring. As a nerve-wrecked mom, I need my eyes on them!
The local libraries offer all kinds of reading programs and free activities. There are art centers that have arts and crafts days for families . The YMCA and aquatic centers offer swim classes (and more) to the public usually at discounted rates. If you can’t afford that, head to your backyard, pick up those water hoses, and spray yourselves down! Fun! During my searches, I’ve also located local farms that offer tours with animal and child interaction.
There are so many places that I didn’t even know existed in our area!
Another thing we enjoy are the discounted movie tickets offered to kids over the summer. Most are $1-$4 while some are FREE! Parents typically get in at no charge. We frequent the museums, too. And we don’t just visit the kid museums, we head to the art museums as well. My girls love ‘em! While there, talk to the guides about upcoming events. You’ll be surprised at how many events you’re clueless to. We stumbled upon a drumming performance one day!
When it comes to plain ol’ fun, go to the park, the arcade, a toy store at the mall. WARNING: If you don’t plan to buy any toys, make that clear BEFORE you go there, on the way, and before the kids get out of the car. Then remind them while walking to the door and at least twice while in the store. Lol! It doesn’t take all of that for us but you never know about other families. After these outings, we typically have a Wendy’s frosty, frozen yogurt, or head home to enjoy a frozen goody already in our freezer.
A trip to the planetarium, the zoo, the lake, and the beach are all in order for us. We have many things on our list but all activities aren’t outside of the home. We incorporate art days at home where the girls go wild with washable paint on the deck. We have read-athons right on our living room floor. We cook together (purposely) some days and play outside. We enjoy board games, cards, activity books, scrapbooks, jewelry making, etc.
Then there are those extra special days when mommy & daddy don’t want to be bothered. That's when the girls are left to play with all of those darn toys cluttering their rooms or watch tv/movies. I don’t care what anyone says… t.v. has saved me some days!
I try to make a schedule on Sundays for the week. I try to make sure we have snacks on hand to pack and bring along when we go out. That saves money ya know?! I try to incorporate science and math activities daily, too, but I can’t do everything and I’m not going to try. We do what we can. We plan when we can. Other times, we just wing it! “Winging it” works just as good for our household. Do what works for yours.
Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas to help you enjoy the summer. Remember to get your rest and don’t turn into a nightowl just because you don’t have to catapult your little ones to school. Kids still tantrum and parents still lose patience. Rest is vital!
Another little gem… drop those kiddos off with relatives when you can. Enjoy a date with your honey or yourSELF. You don’t have to go at night. The mornings and afternoons work just as well! Summer is not only for the kids. It’s for us parents too! It’s our time to enjoy some things we can’t enjoy when school and homework are looming.
Whatever you do, just enjoy it YOUR way!