Now What? What do you do with your kids to keep them entertained, not arguing, and keeping their minds moving?
As a mom of 3 young children: 10, 6, and 3, I am always on the lookout for fun activities and experiences I can take them to during the summer. I am also CHEAP!! I like to experience moments with them, with the mindset that we are a family of 6 on a budget. This year, I am sharing with you how I keep my kiddos entertained, my wallet in the green, and my own sanity in tact.
First, I print off a large calendar of the months of June, July, and August. Then, I do some research. I find out when the local library is offering their summer reading programs for each age group, determine when our church is doing Vacation Bible School, look up camps, plan a weekly trip to my parents to swim, and register for swim lessons. Next, I hit the internet for local parenting websites and county sites for adventurous places around my area. I compile a list of places by city with activities that my kids might be interested in or that I need to look into.
Feel Free to use so of mine!!
Now the fun begins. I take my large calendar and write in those staple events (camps, lessons, VBS, weekly trips to the library, swimming) as well as BIG trips I'd like to include in our summer (Zoos, Biltmore, etc). Now that I have my must-dos on there, it's the kid's turn. I take some of those activities and write a variety of them on note cards. Each child is allowed to choose experiences and then determine on which day we will tackle this. My kids love our calendar/ planning day because it puts them in control. Another option is to flip the cards over and then let them choose, so that the activities are completely a surprise. I have done this when they start arguing over an activity :]
Our calendar is posted in the kitchen so everyone know what is happening each day. The children understand that going somewhere everyday is not possible or fun, but they also love the experiences they have, because they chose them.
**Please Note**: I am not crazy enough to think that we will get to ALL of these places, I pick and choose. I also want you to know that on weeks where I have placed trips like the zoo or Biltmore, there are no other activities allowed to be placed during that week except for the staples.**
Another idea I LOVE doing is creating a "Screen Time Bank." I set up a list of items each child has to do with a screen time amount to be earned when those tasks are complete. My kids can also cash in these time for money to be used at various gift shops or paid experiences during our summer time excursions.
I hope this helps everyone out there get some ideas on what to do with their kiddos this summer. Make it memorable, Make it fun. They are only little for a short while.