This year, our summer is 3+ months long: end of May until early September. Part of me loves that; part of me is mama deer in headlights.
Here is my game plan for the Longest. Summer. Ever.
1)Register for activities. The reality is that, for better or for worse, we are in a town where most kids go to camp or activities from 8am-4pm. So, I've compromised: out of 13 weeks of summer, the two older ones are in activities for six weeks from 9/9:30-12/12:30.
2)Plan themes/excursions for free weeks + outside time. I like choosing a theme, because it helps me to narrow down what excursions to take. Typically, our first unit is farm animals. We visit farms, bake/create crafts in farm form, and read farm-focused books.
3)READ. My rule of thumb is 10 minutes of reading for how many years old my kids are. The library is age appropriate for my crawler, pre-schooler, and first grader. I'll often base my theme on what the library is doing. And never underestimate the summer reading program!
4)Swap out toys to fit the theme
and keep my sanity. Sometimes, I'm good at this. Other times, I just go on living my life, and my house is a shit show. *sigh* When I separate and "showcase" certain toys, though, playtime is much more enriching for all three boys.
5)Learn new chores. Speaking of three boys, summer is a great time to learn new chores. I usually do this in the morning, when we're all fresh. I include meal prep in this, too. Some examples of simple food items are: pb&j, scrambled eggs, yogurt parfaits, ants on a log, etc.
6)Celebrate family. It's important to teach my children how to make someone feel special on his/her big day. In July, we're hosting a bash for their grandparents' milestone birthdays. To get ready, we'll look through old photos, make decorations, and prep apps and desserts.
7)Hunt for doughnuts. 2018 was the year of ice cream adventures. 2019 will be Mommy's favorite: doughnuts! We Google bakeries, and then we Google parks nearby. These outings are typically on weekends, because you know that Daddy does NOT want to miss out.
8)Do sleepovers. Preparing for sleeping elsewhere is an undertaking in and of itself. The two Bigs do a monthly sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's. I'm hoping to add friends' houses and backyard camp outs to the list of sleepover locations.
9)Explore the Midwest. There's Chicago, but Milwaukee is often more accessible (beer garden with adjacent park, anyone?). We'll also be doing Wisconsin Dells with friends, a few days at a lake house with Grandma and Grandpa, and possibly a trip to St. Louis to see the cousins.
10)Maintain a daily routine and Mommy time. I plan in my Mommy time (breaks), chores, and outside time. Knowing how hot it gets, I keep us out of the heat (or reading in the shade) in the middle of the day. Here's what my schedule looks like:
6:30am The Bigs can serve themselves breakfast
Before 7am Mommy time
7-9am Morning routine +breakfast + new chore + backyard time
9/9:30-12/12:30 Activity and/or the Y (Mommy time) + excursion
1:15 READ 10 minutes to baby + nap / Bigs play or read
1:30 Mommy time
1:50 READ 20 minutes to 4 yr old / 7 yr old READS 20 min to self
2:10 READ 40 minutes to 7 yr old / 4 yr old watches Sesame Street
2:50 Five minute chore (sweep floors, wipe tables, put away toys/clothes)
3:00 T.V. time for Bigs / Mommy time (* dinner prep *)
3:45 Get ready for outside time (pool, park, backyard, etc)
4-5:30 Outside time
5:30 *Dinner prep *
6:20 Do dishes
6:40 Outside time with Daddy
7:30 READ 10 minutes to baby + bedtime routine
7:30 READ 20 minutes to 4 yr old / 7 yr old READS 20 min to self
8:00 Bedtime for Bigs
After 8pm Mommy time
*Dinner prep* - My goal is to make two or three meals at the beginning of the week, so there's minimal prep every day.