How to Plan Your Summer On Purpose

I’ve shared with you before that I made it my goal last year to ‘enjoy my kids’. It was hard for me to admit that I wasn’t enjoying motherhood and I worked all year at being really intentional and mindful about this. (You can read all about it here in the blog post, or listen to the podcast episode).


Enjoying my kids has become easier but it seems I have to like pre-game myself for a new summer season so I can be mentally prepared, have all the snacks and all the plays lined up. I’m not sporty, I don’t know why I’m using a sports analogy – probably because Friday Night Lights is lined in my heart and I sometimes wish I could just talk with Coach Taylor. …..


Ok, so, Summer is coming. All the kids will be home. They are 8, turning 7 and turning 5. I feel like the kids are that much older and the water table and toilet paper roll crafts they loved the past few years aren’t gonna be enough to get us through the summer so I wanted to make a plan.


My plan is titled:  “How To Summer With Kids and Enjoy This Time So You Aren’t Googling ‘How to Petition For Year-Round School‘ After Two Weeks of Picking Up Popsicle Wrappers and Refereeing Sprinkler Fights”


I asked my Instagram and Facebook friends for ideas on what to do this summer and then some of you asked me to compile a list.

So here are the suggestions that were given by you awesome ladies and some ideas I plucked from the wilds of the internet:

Yoga with kids videos
Sprinkler time
Science experiments (lots of idea from @thedadlab)
Painting day (paint a canvas to display as art in the home)
Homemade ice cream
Read a novel, a chapter out loud once a day
Set up an outdoor movie
Catching fireflies/butterflies
Paint rocks to hide around local parks
Outdoor obstacle course
Slip n Slide
Build something epic (lego tower, Rube Goldberg machine)
Build a backyard fort
Go fishing
Day hikes
Nature scavenger hunts
Fly a kite
Make boats to float at a creek and have races
Go for a bike ride
The pool
The library kids’ programs
Town programs for kids (e.g lego camp, basketball camp)
Local parks
Local festivals
Farm visits/petting zoos
Plan a family get together
Park dates with friends
Local ice cream joints
Local bike park ⠀⠀⠀

This list can feel overwhelming. So I want to share with you how I will be putting it into action without feeling like an understaffed kid’s camp director.

Here are three ways you can take this huge list of ideas and put them into action. 

  1. Get my kids input. If it was up to me we would sit on the deck eating nachos and reading novels all summer – but I want them to have a summer they are excited about too. So we have been talking lots about what they want to do and I’ve been adding it to a big list of ideas.
  2. Then I’m gonna plan out the swim lessons, the time at Grandmas, and the big events and outings we have planned with my bestie or with Conor when he’s off work
  3. Then I have random chunks of days left. What I’m going to try is to theme my days. I heard this on the Sorta Awesome podcast and loved this strategy to make it easy. I’m gonna probably have a craft day, library day, science day, hike day, a nothing day, and a food day where they get to think of something to make and we buy the stuff for it. So if I’m looking at my calendar, I know we are gonna do maybe 5-8 science experiments.  I’ll pick some and the kids will pick some and I’ll get the stuff for it.


And here is the thing. This sounds complicated. It sounds like I am Martha Stewarting my life (which makes me tired thinking about pouring things into fancy jars and wrapping things in linen), but really it is lazy. It is setting out some plans and letting the plans roll out summer for you. It is totally up to you how complicated or simple you make it!


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