In this post, I will share a little bit about what our summers have looked like! I know that if our family doesn’t go into the season with a plan, the days are long and chaotic and we will end up wasting the summer away! I live for lists, and I have found that in the summer especially, they are particularly helpful! To keep myself and my children organized, I make lists of everything. We have a daily to-do list, daily activities list, rainy-day activity list, a learning list (tv shows/books), and a summer to-do list (or bucket list). They are seriously helpful for giving my children (and myself) some order to a long summer at home!
Daily to-do List
This list is the first to get written! It includes all the things that the children must do that day, to include brushing their teeth, making their bed, getting changed, etc. I also like to include some homeschooling activities that they must complete. The kids love to do Brainquest worksheets or write/draw stories in their journals. I like to laminate the checklist so that the kids can go through with a dry erase marker and check things off as they go (who doesn’t love marking things off their list after all??) In order for my children to go outside and play with their friends or have any electronics, all their chores must be completed. Since my kids love being outside with their friends, it does not take them long to finish all their work!
In addition to playing outside with their friends, the kids are also able to play electronics once their chores are done. This is usually in the form of ABC Mouse or Academy. They get 15-20 minutes of playing time and they absolutely love it!
Activity of the week
Just like at school, I like to have an activity for each day of the week. The kids LOVE the routine, and they have a lot of fun with them!
On Mondays, we do art. My kids love crafting and drawing, so this is one of their favorites. We love to visit Catholicicing.com. They have some great videos that teach the kids how to draw religious artwork. Religion lesson and art in one…perfect!
On Tuesdays the kids get to make a treat or snack. We like to use the Complete Children’s Cookbook by DK—it teaches them great basics! My children are always finding fun yummy things to create!
On Wednesdays, we learn about God. We may watch a Brother Francis video, read a book about a saint, or do a catechism lesson!
On Thursdays, the big kids play Memory with the little kids.
On Fridays, we go to the park!
Rainy day activities
This is a great list to have on hand. We try to get super creative on rainy days! Some things that have worked for us include:
- puzzle races– everyone pairs up and as a team, competes to see who can complete a 200 count puzzle the fastest! We have found this is a great way to spend quality time together.
- dance party
- lego competitions– I give the kids a prompt (ship) and they build for a certain amount of time. Once their time is up, I judge the best one!
- fort building–in the basement with all the blankets!
- get creative and make a video
- cook/bake a fun snack– I will help them along and answer questions but they are responsible for cleaning everything up!
- journal– write a story with pictures!
As you know, we have to be so careful these days with what the kids are watching on TV. I am vehement about making sure my children are watching wholesome, educational TV shows and movies. Since it is so easy to slip up, I go ahead and make a list of acceptable TV shows/movies that we approve, and the majority are educational! HGTV and Discovery Plus for kids have some awesome shows that my children love! Also Christian Kids TV on YouTube has terrific Catholic material!
Books can also be kind of sneaky, so I like to do the same and have a book list readily available for the kids to choose from. Some of the chapter book options for the boys include The Hardy Boys, Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Stuart Little, The Way of the Warrior Kid, and various Saint chapter books by Tan and Ignatius Press.
A fun little tradition we have during the summer is that I read to the kids during lunch! We have read some of The Little House on the Prairie books, as well as Heavenly Hosts (Eucharistic miracles for kids), Miraculous (Catholic mysteries for kids), and Saint Stories for kids.
Summer bucket list
Last year, our list included:
- have a water balloon fight
- summer swim team
- visit The Ark in KY
- visit Minnesota to see family
- visit The University of Notre Dame
- go to a shrine
- visit Mall of America
- go for a hike
- go to a museum
- go camping (or camp in the backyard)
- play at Top Golf
- visit Mt Vernon, VA
- visit colonial Williamsburg
- impromptu trips to McDonalds and Krispy Kreme
Of course not all of these were accomplished, but it was fun getting creative and dreaming up big plans!
*Check out these free templates to get started on your family checklists!
Thanks for letting me share with you some of our family’s summer traditions! Of course what works for one family may not work for all, but I know that for us, having printed checklists give us a lot of order and organization to the day. Having a big family can be overwhelming at times, but with the right systems, life is so much easier! Everyone is happier and calmer when they know what each day is going to look like and what they should expect! I hope some of these ideas help you as well!
Now tell me.. what does your family do to help Summers run smoothly?