Summer vacation is just around the corner! For me, that means five energetic kids running around my presently quiet house looking for mischief and adventure.
Since a big vacation is not in our budget, I have been planning as many free and cheap activities as possible for them. I picked up some construction paper and posterboard from the Dollar Tree last week and made a big Summer Fun Wall, complete with calendar, daily themes, a chore chart and a list of summer goals for each child. My hope was that seeing all the fun activities would get them excited about the idea of a staycation.
And it worked like a charm.
I’ve added a few things to their typical chore list since they have more time at home. There were a few groans from the peanut gallery over this one until I showed them my system. I have an index card for each of the kids which will hang on the wall. Whenever they do their chores without being told and without having to redo anything, they get a star. Once they’ve accumulate five stars, they get to choose something from the goody basket.
Amazing what a mom can accomplish when she has a bag or three of plastic army guys.
The next board contains the July calendar and our Summer Goal List. Each child has selected 1-3 personal goals to work on, and they are rewarded with a star for every hour they spend. My middle son wants to try out as pitcher next little league season, so we will be working on that. My oldest wants to learn Java programming. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I used my free Amazon gift cards to get him an instructional book.
So good luck with that, son. Java it up.
My kids were particularly excited about our theme days. Here’s what I came up with:
- Mondays - Book Club. I’ll be reading aloud The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia and Number the Stars – one each month. Aside from this, each child has their own reading list for the summer, but this is a special day just for reading together.
- Tuesdays - Water Fun. I have 12 different water-themed activities – one for each week. Includes water balloons, Slip & Slide, a trip to the ocean and a sprinkler obstacle course. Check your local dollar store for affordable water toys.
- Wednesdays – In the Kitchen. Easy and fun recipes. I’ll be blogging about some of these, but you can find ideas for homemade ice cream, popsicles and slushy drinks on the web. My favorite site is Food.com
- Thursdays – Field Trip. I have been accumulating my Groupons and Eversave vouchers so we can do one field trip activity per week like going to the zoo, museum, ice cream parlor and free movies. When we don’t have a discount voucher we’ll go on a picnic or walk around downtown.
- Fridays – Camp Out. I managed to find a small pop-up tent at the local thrift store and the kids will be using it for backyard (or living room) camp outs. As simple as it sounds, the kids get such a kick out of sleeping in a tent!
I used the monthly calendars to write in free local events at the library and nature center as well as festivals, fairs and downtown activities in our area. Wouldn’t you know, I made mine before I found these adorable free summer calendar printables by Anything but Perfect.
More Summer Fun ideas:
I am linking up to THESE fun parties.