As I am writing this the kids are on their way home from a half day at school which means summer vacation has officially begun! Even though this won’t be posted for a few days I’m already feeling the pressure haha.
The summer last year was completely new for our family. Homeslice and Monster were no longer in daycare meaning that they were home all day, every day, all summer. My father and myself changed jobs so I was now working from home and he was doing a variety of handy work for local farms as well as working night shift on occasion.
I really thought that the summer was going to go smoothly, I really thought that I could take it a day at a time, I really thought it would be rainbows and butterflies. I was really wrong. The kids didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves without the set-in-stone schedule provided by their daycare. They were completed bored any time there was more than 10 minutes of down time. I hadn’t planned anything ahead of time and it left a lot of things being rushed and half-done on my end. I was completely stressed which was certainly more my fault than the kids fault but we all suffered because of the lack of planning.
I decided that this summer needed to be different. I decided that I needed to have a better system set in place so that I don’t go crazy…really so that we all don’t go crazy.
I started out by sitting down and coming up with the main things that each kid is interested in and the main things that they need to work on. Luckily for me, they all share basically the same interests and have the same areas that need a little extra work; just on various levels. All three of them are incredibly interested in hands-on activities so I have made sure to come up with a wide variety of activities that will be hands-on and educational.
The areas I have focused most on are their chore charts, education, and a simple plan of themed weeks.
Before I get into these areas I also wanted to share with you another thing that I’ve worked on. Our little’s really enjoy their cartoons (especially Homeslice..if the TV is on he’s glued to it) but sometimes they get Cartoon-Tunnel-Vision in the mornings and instead of finishing their morning chores they zoom out to the tv. So to combat this habit we created a simple list of screen time rules.
Before they can plop (quite literally) in front of the tv they must have finished each item on the list. I keep this posted on the fridge so all I have to say is “Did you do everything on your screen time rules list?” rather than running through a string of the same questions. This is also a great way to teach them responsibility while making our mornings go much, much smoother. I had this personalized to say Camp Welgo which wasn’t an additional cost. If you’d like to get one of these for your family it can be found here.
So, for starters each child has their own chore chart with their own list of chores. However, in anticipation of the start of summer I made some changes to them allowing the kids to have a little more responsibility.
These are the chore charts that we use. I printed them and then put them in a simple picture frame from the dollar store. This allows the kids to use a dry-erase marker to mark off each chore as they do it and in this way I am able to set up a rewards system for them. They obtain a certain number of points each time a chore is completed, then at the end of the week I add up the points and they earn the rewards that coincide with the number of points earned.
I decided to get a little more creative with the chore chart/rewards system process for this summer. This is an example of the rewards I have come up with for this summer. There’s no guarantee that they will stick but I’m pretty proud haha
65-74 Points: Cartoons in the morning
75-79 Points: Prize out of the prize box
80-84 Points: Tablet or video games
85-90 Points: Pick an individual prize
91-95 Points: HOLY COW! Awesome job! You get a SURPRISE! If all 3 of you got this many points you can work together to pick out a GROUP PRIZE
So I’ll explain the theory behind my madness here, the kids love to watch tv and it’s often difficult to pull them away once they’ve started but they also really enjoy the morning cartoons (like Tom & Jerry) so if they do well on this area (which is pretty easy considering they can skim by on their chores and usually still earn these points) they can watch some cartoons in the morning but within a designated time frame.
The prize box is a little shoe box tote I purchased at the dollar tree. This contains a variety of items that the kids enjoy such as stickers, various crafts, silly putty, gum, and grab and go craft packets. Inside the same tote I have rewards tickets split into the “Individual Prize” group and the “Group Prize” group (how many times can I say group in one sentence?) that they can pick from when they earn those rewards.
The individual prizes include things such as one-on-one time with mom, stay up later one night, 1/2 hour of extra TV time..etc. and then the Group section has things like go mini golfing, go out for dinner, go to the movies, etc.
I want to be sure that I am encouraging the kids to broaden their minds and their abilities this summer and to be prepared when they go back to school. We will be doing the summer reading program at our local library and I will be working with them on various other subjects.
Homeslice and Monster’s teachers gave them some worksheets that they can work on throughout the upcoming summer months and I have my own curriculum with Murry. I also buy these books pertaining to their upcoming grade levels and work with them throughout the summer.
I also have saved a variety of worksheets and craft ideas on Pinterest that I can print whenever we’re ready to work on them.
This is an example of one of the worksheets the kids will be working on during the first week. One of the overall goals of this summer is to build each child’s confidence level and to help them be an encourager as well as a positive thinker.
If you’d like to get this worksheet to do with your child you can find it here.
I haven’t come up with a set-in-stone schedule for the kids because let’s face it- it just isn’t going to work out. Our family has so much going on on any given day or at any given time that a set schedule just doesn’t work for us. Because of this I have come up with a weekly theme schedule and then at the beginning of each week I’ll map out a more specific plan. This is what the themed schedule looks like:
Week 1: Welcome to Camp Welgo
Getting to know the Camp Welgo rules, guidelines, and themes. Learning about the new chores and rewards. Take a week “off”
Week 2: Kindness Week
Make kindness rocks, hide kindness rocks, do something kind for a stranger, write thank you notes for loved ones. The kids have a 3-Day camp this week too.
Week 3: Camping Week
Fire safety, learning to set up tents, lunches over the fire pit, DIY walking sticks, how to make a teepee/shelter, leaf/plant/poison identifications, nature hikes, camping out.
Week 4: Color Week
Make tie-dye t-shirts, playing tag with paint balloons, melted crayon art, paint balloon darts, face painting, sidewalk art with chalk, finger painting, DIY thank you cards for people the kids know.
Weeks 5/6: Handy/Science Week
Can robots, washer jewelry, homemade birdhouses, diy solar oven, ice cream in a bag, food coloring with flowers & veggies, regrow veggie experiment, hydroponic gardening, clay art, volcanoes, mento/soda experiment.
Week 7: Spy Week
Scavenger hunts, search and find clues, fingerprinting, mystery dinner, mystery movie night, seek and find
I have been saving a bunch of ideas on my Pinterest account so if you’d like to see some of the ideas that I have saved you can check out my board here.