I heard on the radio the other week that apparently there is a high proportion of parents that run out of ideas of things to do with their kids in the summer holidays by the second week! I really couldn’t believe this because honestly I personally feel the complete opposite that there actually isn’t enough time over the summer to fit in all we want to do. I look forward to having the kids home and we always talk of all we will do to and from school leading up to half terms and holidays. So I guess my question to you would be what are your thoughts and do you feel there is too much time to fill and occupy your kids? Do you struggle to know what to do each day and are wishing them back to school? OR are you full of wonderful ideas and plans and enjoy the school holidays? Do you have routines and schedules you fall into?
As I say I do look forward to the school holidays as I enjoy having the kids back, days out and generally more time to talk together and have fun. Don’t get me wrong it is of course exhausting and trying at times and some days are extremely stressful or a complete disaster, but on the whole its just great to have them around and all be together and its that aspect I really like about it. I like to make the most of the time we have and so a week or so before these summer holidays started (and just before I went in to be induced with Alice) I sat down and using an idea from Pinterest I have had for a couple of years, I planned our summer on a big sheet of paper and then stuck it to the fridge. I used a themed schedule and then worked in stuff from the summer bucket list that fitted into that category. Once the bucket list was penned in, I filled in the gaps with all of the other things I knew the kids would love to do, new things to try or things that we haven’t done in ages that would make our summer manageable, fun and organised!
So in a hope to help out struggling parents this summer fill their time and enjoy the kiddos, here is how we are doing it and some examples of what we have done on the schedule.
Monday is “Make it Monday”…it is an easy going crafty type of day because after the weekend its an opportunity to just chill a little. We usually walk into town on the scooters or go to the park first thing, but the focus of the day is being creative and once they have let out some energy we enjoy our make it activity in the afternoon. The 1st week we made a solar system using polystyrene balls and paint and this last week we made tie dye T-shirts which was great fun. After our hols we plan to do baking, which I am leaning towards something a little more exciting than the usual buns or biscuits and Ethan recently suggested we could “make a fire” one Monday!
Tuesday is “Take a trip Tuesday”.. an opportunity to go out somewhere. Our 1st week we headed to Bridlington to see grandma, enjoyed fish and chips and a day at the coast, and this last week it was swapped with our Thursday activity and went to the farm with friends. Towards the end of the holidays we want to go to a national trust place, Billy bob’s in Skipton, or somewhere just adventurous.
Wednesday is “Water Wednesday” and all about getting wet. My kids love water and this is an opportunity for water fun midweek. As we were at grandma’s the other week it worked well to go in the paddling pool/water slide, and after our holiday (which will be swimming daily) we will be heading to Magna or the great water fountains in Bradford. Some more Ideas we had near us were also Valley gardens in Harrogate (FREE) and othe parks with water features and paddling pools, all dependant on where we wanted to travel!
Thursday is “Thinking Thursday” which is where we do an activity or outing that stretches their minds a little and a day with more of an educational focus. We plan to go to a new museum towards the end of the holidays, but already we have joined the Library summer reading programme and spent the afternoon there reading books and doing a book treasure hunt about Roald Dahl. Most recently, as we were packing for our holiday, the activity included them making books about dinosaurs and playing schools whilst I organised clothes for what felt like a million people!
Friday is when we just have fun, we call it “Fun Friday” – and this week we took a train into Leeds and went bowling. The actual activity was a lot of fun, the day overall not so much. The kids absolutely loved it and together we had some good laughs and healthy competition, but several things made it feel totally nuts and all a little tiring/stressful. Next week they want to go Trampolining and after that a Swimming pool with slides!!…
For the most part we have done what was written in, but depending on the weather, kids behaviour, invites from friends at the last minute and baby feed times we are also a little flexible…as long as what we do fits into the theme of the day, it makes things easier and it has given us some consistency and ease as to just knowing what type of activity we will be doing, even if what was on the schedule changes from one park to another or a different crafty activity.
I really love being organised in life so the holidays are the perfect opportunity to be uber organised and planned! Its so great knowing what we are doing each day, when we will need the car etc and it also has really helped the kids know what they are doing and what they can look forward to, so then can be used as a bribe if needed, but really helps them with routine. What I like most is the balance of fun, creativity and even some educational opportunities which all keeps costs lower as its not all extravagant days out. Our weeks are really varied and we make good use of time and the kids seem to be loving it whether its a day out or educational, they are keen because it is mostly their ideas and the titles like “Water Wednesday” fill them with excitment that it has come around to that day again!
I thoroughly enjoy these moments to have my kids back and have some great fun together, I will definitely continue this schedule whilst they are young and I hope in some ways, by sharing it, it has helped you if you are struggling with ideas…so grab some paper, write in the dates and headings, and brainstorm together with your kids a well balanced, fun week, and enjoy your kids and the school hols. You may be surprised with what you find yourself doing.