While the calendar says February 14th, summer is coming much sooner than you think. Don’t forget – this year summer may be a little shorter for our kids. Many schools are scheduling make up days at the end of the year. Planning now maximizes your time and budget to make this summer the best one yet.
How to Plan a Summer of Fun and Activities with Kids
As a visual person, I need to see the summer written out on pieces of paper. I think of it as mapping out our time to ensure we balance down time with active time. Seeing the plan on paper also helps to identify potential issues like getting children to camps on opposite sides of town at the same time.
To get started, print out monthly calendars for June, July, August, and September. Write in the final day of school if you know it. If not, put the current final day of school in as a starting point. Also put in the first day of school if you can. Since our Catholic school always starts the Wednesday after Labor Day, this is easy for me.
Start penciling in activities your family is already committed to: vacation trip, weddings, sports camps, art camps, etc. These are the big rocks in your summer. Don’t forget to write down home renovation projects. If you plan on painting the first floor this summer, or renovating the kitchen, these projects will impact the rest of your summer plans.
Budget, budget, budget
Before you and your family take on additional activities that may cost money, figure out what your budget will be. I already have a vacation budget built into our yearly budget. As of mid-February, we have $500 saved. Thanks to a change in our healthcare spending, I have an additional $2,000 in our budget that I could use for summer activities. We may end up using that $2,000 towards renovation projects during the summer.
Brainstorm Activities and Trips with Your Family
When you involve your kids in brainstorming and making plans for the summer, you teach them about making choices. They learn the limits of time, money, and resources. They learn that sometimes they have to set aside their wants to focus on doing something together as a family, and sometimes, the family makes accommodations to give individual family members the opportunity to try something new.
Before you start the brainstorming session, go over the summer calendar with your family. If it’s a busy summer already, let them know that now to create realistic expectations. You may also find your kids looking for ways to do activities around what’s already planned like visiting a museum while visiting extended family in another state.
During the brainstorming session, make sure everyone has an opportunity to be heard. Once the family has its list, sort the ideas into budget categories. Include the kids in the sorting to help them understand the cost of different activities.
Organizing Your Summer Plans
After using the #100daysofsummertime ebook from ListPlanIt.com last spring to organize our summer plans, I’ve decided to use the same strategy again this year. My kids loved seeing what was happening on the monthly calendars. I could tuck camp and swim club signups into the notebook.
The other strength of the #100daysofsummertime ebook is the wealth of ideas and forms to help you stay organized. If you like a paper planner, it’s easy to fill in and print out the forms like I did. Electronic planners will love having the forms accessible on their tablet or computer.