In June and July I have part-time childcare so both boys are home a few days each week. It's my first time doing significant and consistent solo parenting! Heading into it I felt both excited and a little bit intimidated wondering how much squabbling or other challenging behavior there might be. But so far it's been really great!
For days at home with the boys I need some routine and predictability. So I consulted my schedule-loving mama friend Sarah Powers who shared a blog post with me that she wrote years ago about a "just structured enough" summer schedule. I am in love with it. For me, having something planned for the morning and afternoon is just enough structure. It leaves time for spontaneous play, reading, or outings but gives me a go-to activity when we need it.
Our schedule follows this general routine on days when I'm home with the boys:
+ Wake up/breakfast/get dressed/play
+ Morning activity or outing
+ Snack at home or on the go
+ Independent play or activity (like looking at books or listening to a podcast while coloring) while I prep lunch or get something done
+ Quiet rest time (usually 45 min to an hour)
+ Afternoon activity or outing
+ Snack at home or on the go
+ Independent play or activity (like looking at books or listening to a podcast while coloring) while I prep dinner or get something done
+ Family hang out/get ready for bed/bedtime
I created our summer calendar using a small bulletin board, washi tape, and pieces of poster board stuck on with tape. Friends, I have little to no drawing ability. But I tried. This is what my calendar looks like for this week:
To fill in activity and outing slots I've been brainstorming and saving ideas to my kiddos Pinterest board. We haven't done much crafting at home up to this point so I'd like to build up my supplies without going overboard. I know the simplest things can be versatile and fascinating for kids. I also recently came across the fantastic book 150 Screen-Free Activities for Kids and it's giving me tons of ideas. This is the first week we're using the calendar and for future weeks I'd like to have the boys help fill in the slots and create more of the activity cards. They have already loved looking at the activities planned for this week.
Lately some legitimate independent and cooperative play between the boys is emerging and it's amazing. Like, this is what we dreamed of knowing we would have two kids. Whenever that is happening I let it go on for as long as possible. When I notice it start to devolve I can transition us to a planned activity or outing and that often helps reset everyone.
In addition to activities and outings I also want to schedule some summer fun like getting ice cream, going to a movie or having some screen time at home (like DVDs of old Reading Rainbow episodes from the library!), or even silly things like getting snacks from the library vending machine (Dash is always begging to get something and this would put him over the moon).
Here are some of the things we might do this summer...
At home indoor activities:
+ Making play dough or slime (I'd love to go to Goodwill and pick up utensils and other interesting "tools" to use)
+ Craft activity like paper roll dragons, giant paper popsicle (inspired by these felt ones), painting rocks (maybe even these cactus pet rocks), lemon-stamped dish towels, or salt dough dinosaur fossils
+ Cutting up junk mail or catalogues and then gluing pieces on paper
+ Find a recipe together and then bake or cook it
+ Water play at the kitchen sink and bathroom sink (each boy could have their own station) with "tools" like measuring cups or washing cars or little toys with extra toothbrushes
+ Listening to podcasts (we love Story Pirates, Circle Round, and Wow in the World) and drawing or coloring print-outs (like the pictures available on the Circle Round website)
+ Nature bookmarks (after some early morning or evening collecting)
+ Indoor Easter egg hunt
At home outside activities:
+ Getting toys (like cars or animals) muddy and then washing them in a tub
+ Water table play with lots of containers for pouring (this one is pretty easy to make and stores under your bed!)
+ Messy play like a tub of shaving cream or fizzing dough
Activities away from the house:
+ Early morning visit to a shady park (it's HOT here by 8 a.m.!)
+ Library visit to attend a program or just to look at and check out books
+ Public pool or splash pad, and possibly meeting friends there
+ Visiting an indoor bounce park
+ Getting ice cream or sno-cones
+ Having lunch with Chris downtown
+ Going to a movie or watching a movie or shows at home (like DVDs of Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, or Mister Rodgers)
+ Getting donuts
What will you be doing with kiddos at home this summer, or do you have any favorite summer activities from when you were a kid?