This summer was especially different for our family as we welcomed in a new baby boy. Our second son Micah was born at the end of May. Our older son Wyatt, goes to preschool during the school year at a Montessori school. We would normally enroll him into a summer school type of program for the summer since we both work, but this summer I decided to keep him at home with me and the baby since I am off work on maternity leave.
Wyatt is very smart and extremely high energy. When he has something to do he is a great kid and very productive at whatever he is doing. However, his downfall is when he doesn’t have something to do, he ends up getting in trouble because he is bored. I’m trying to work with him more on being ok with down time, but it is contrary to his personality so it’s best for everyone if I try to think ahead of what our plans might be for the day.
When Wyatt is at Montessori school he has a million different projects to choose from in addition to outdoor play. I knew if I kept him at home with me this summer it would be a challenge unless I came up with some sort of schedule and activity plan for him. I am mid-way through the summer and I have to say coming up with that plan was the best decision ever. I thought I would write about it here in case there is anyone else out there with a high energy child who is at home with them over the summer.
Below I have listed out what we used for our summer schedule and also a project list. One major thing to call out is that the schedule is not something we follow strictly. I have a newborn and other things that factor into the day, so nothing will ever be perfect or on schedule. Also, if there is a day when something comes up like if our friends invite Wyatt over to swim or to play then the schedule gets thrown out the window and we jump on the opportunity to have fun and socialize with friends. However, for the usual days the schedule really just helps gives my son a tiny bit of structure and something he knows he can be doing. When I see he is starting to get bored I can say “have you done your lessons yet?” or “its time to pick out a project”.
Summer Schedule (Preschool Age):
- Breakfast & Vitamins
- Chores (let the dogs out, collect the eggs, help pick up downstairs, make his bed, get dressed)
- Bible time (Usually while I am nursing Micah, I will read to Wyatt from his children’s bible and explain/expound on the record.)
- Lessons (I ordered the ‘DK workbooks’ for science, math, spelling, geography, and cursive writing. We are working through a couple lessons per day.)
- Art/Design Project (Wyatt will pick out something to do from our art supplies area which could be coloring, stencils, stickers, pattern matching, stamps, or something along those lines.)
- Educational show (This is usually a show from Planet Earth or something similar. He does this while I enjoy my 2nd cup of coffee and get some computer work done such as paying bills, meal planning, or writing a blog post perhaps :). )
- Get out & Explore/Move! (This differs each day. It may be going for a long nature walk in the woods if we are staying at home. If we are going in town we may go to the library, the park, or on some days gymnastics class.)
- Quiet time (Wyatt is fading out of naps but still takes them on some days so we have a quiet time where he is expected to be in his bed and look at books quietly or sleep for a period of time.)
- Walk/Play outside (Some days we go for a walk with our neighbors and some days we just play in the yard on the swingset, sandbox, or with the dog. On hot days we set up the sprinkler or kid pool.)
Wyatt designing with wooden shapes:
A picture of Wyatt heading off to collect eggs in the morning:
Wyatt riding his bike on one of our park days:
The schedule I listed above is an example of what a given day might look like during the week. On the weekends when my husband is home it looks a lot different. We may have a beach day, visit friends, or do work around the house. We try to have a good mix of being productive and having fun family time.
In addition to the items on the summer schedule I made a list of projects to do throughout the summer. I made a list of 12 so that we have about 1 new item per week.
Fun Summer Project List:
- Build and paint a birdhouse
- Make ice block w/ toys inside (to melt and chip at)
- Take trip to ace hardware and/or nursery to get items to make a Salamander garden (“Fairy garden” items)
- Make super hero masks
- Paint wooden race car
- Paint wooden airplane
- Pressed flower kit
- Build clay dinosaurs
- Put big lego building blocks in the kiddie pool and build a water park
- Make a nature color wheel.
- Nature Name (Have child collect a bunch of small leaves and then he can glue them to make his name)
- Branch Design (Get a small branch from outside and have child paint it different colors)
Wyatt doing the clay dinosaur project and the super hero mask project:
Tip #1 Plan your chore in accordance with the child’s activity
It can be a challenge to get things done with a newborn and a preschooler so I try to plan out what I need to get done during the time my son will be doing a certain activity. To give a couple of examples:
- I fold laundry while my son plays with toys in his bedroom since the laundry room is next to his bedroom. I find that he only wants to play in his room if someone is nearby him. Sometimes I will bring laundry into his room and fold on the floor and put on some fun music. I will let him match the socks
- When it comes to picking up the house, prepping items for dinner, getting the mail, taking the trash out, etc. I ask my son to help and get him involved in whatever I am doing.
- While he is napping or while I let him watch a TV show is when I get done all my computer work, since that is the type of work I really need to concentrate on with fewer interruptions.
- When he is playing outside I try to water the garden, pick a few weeds, or throw the ball for the dogs.
Tip #2 Minimize your ‘to do’ list
When you become a parent you automatically will get done less things because it takes a lot of time to care for these precious little ones. When you add another child (especially during the newborn phase) it takes even more time. So when it comes to the things you want to get accomplished you need to make your list realistic. For me, if I don’t accomplish anything on my list I feel very unproductive and actually get a little bit sad.
I have learned to have a running list of items I would like to get to at some point, but are not urgent. I organize those by category like ‘around the house’, ‘phone calls’, ‘errands’, and ‘computer work’. When it comes to my ‘today’ list or ‘this week’ list, I only list items that must get done this day or week. Once I complete all of those items I can pull up a couple of items from my other lists. It sounds silly but by just putting 2 things on my list it helps me to focus and feel accomplished.
Tip #3 Enjoy time with your little ones
Don’t get too occupied with having a schedule, projects and lists (especially if you are someone like me who loves planning and lists). Remember to cherish every cuddle with your little ones. They grow so incredibly fast. In the future you won’t look back and care how clean your house used to be or how many things you got done in a day. You will care about how many kisses and hugs you gave and how much quality time you spent.
I hope this was helpful and gave you a couple of ideas for summer activities with kids. Comment below on the summer activities you have planned for your family!