Wednesday, May 25, 2022

I struggled with my blog title and I’m not sure I picked the best one, but I wanted to maybe help some of you trying to get into your summer groove with young children at home. I dug into my photo archives – real albums with real printed out pictures and humor me with my “older mom wisdom” if you will!

I have twins and I am a teacher. The daycare/preschool we used allowed us to pull our kids out in the summer without having to pay or lose our spot.

Bucket lists became all the rage at the tail end of my kids’ childhoods. I think they are great. I love that a family can sit down and make a list of things they want to do. It’s very intentional to me. I don’t think they should just be for summer, nor should they just be for kids. In fact, I do plan on making an adult summer bucket list!

What’s funny is that we sometimes think our kids want the extravagant vacations or expensive theme parks, but I bet if you asked them to make a list it would include the simple and wonderful things of summer.

I felt so lucky to be a teacher in the summer and on the same schedule as my kids. My goals were to have a great summer for my kids, not break the bank, and to keep learning but in a much more laid back way.

I know that working parents really struggle in the summers. It is so much to juggle when your kids are too old for daycare, yet not old enough to stay home alone.

Maybe my ideas can help babysitters as well as stay at home and working parents?

A pool membership is absolutely worth it. What a pool membership does is enable you to go for a couple of hours in the evening with working parents, get to know other kids and their moms, and just give you hours of exercise and entertainment. If you had to pay as you go, you might not do that evening swim. Also, many pools have entertainment and family activities.

I love the pool. I was the mom who got in with my kids because I’m a kid at heart, but I’m not gonna lie. I remember how amazing it felt when I could let them go off while I read on my lounger. Does it get any better?

If you have a grandparent who asks, you could say you would like money toward your membership or that could even make a great Christmas gift. You would always think of Grandma’s generosity at the pool!

Take your kids to the farmer’s markets! My city has a ton and they are so popular. There is even music at many of them. You can buy breakfast!

Take them to pick strawberries! I will never forget when we were making a bucket list and my twins were maybe 10. I asked, “would you all like to pick berries?” and Mason replied, “No, thank you. I’m not really into agriculture.” Um, ok, Mason, I wasn’t asking about your career goals.

Feed your kids outside! Less mess and I always found that it led to them wanting to stay outside and play! We took picnics to parks, too. Our kids are seriously nature deprived – even at the high school level.

We had our cousins over once a week in the summer and that was the day I generally stayed home and did a few things like laundry. The cousins were wonderful for entertaining my kids and I think they all have special memories. As they got older, we did crazy things like the Mentos in the 2 liter soda bottle outside, those pop it fireworks things outside, slip n slides and stuff like that.

Hammocks are wonderful and we read in ours a lot!

I did some things with my friends and their kids like the zoo!

We almost always had an afternoon movie before dinner.

Take the toys outside! They loved playing with cars outside.

Join the library summer reading! Go to the library story hours and FYI, the library offers so much more. Our library had a guy who made fighting robots. There was a raptor rehab program and they got to see those up close. Basically, get on your library email list or website and pencil all of their activities in.

For many summers, I dropped my kids off for 3 hours at their daycare once a week for my errand or appointment day. It was absolutely worth it. I was able to be fully present on the other days. I took them on the errands that I thought were fine for kids and pushed everything else to Wednesdays. You could also do the same with a sitter or a family member.

We did crafts at least once a week.

I would get out an old forgotten toy and leave it on the table for them to see when they woke up. That bought me some morning coffee time! Ha!

I let them play “car wash” where I got some buckets of soapy water and they washed all the bikes and riding toys outside. This idea came from my friend Katie!

Another thing that I did that they really loved was…we picked a different school playground to visit each week. There are some really cool playgrounds and they loved exploring new ones. Cheap entertainment!

We had someone over for a playdate about once a week.

Our movie theater had a $1 movie at 10 am. We went to that a few times.

We had a good balance of staying home and going out to do things. I think a lot of kids really just want to be at home. They are going, going, going during the school year.

What ideas do you have for my readers? Do you struggle in the summer?


9 thoughts on “Summer Structure

  1. This was so fun to see your boys when they were little and I cracked up at Mason’s comment about “not being into agriculture” – hahahahaha!!! I made the leap to school counseling once I had kids so I could be home with them in the summer. I always enjoyed the laid back schedule, the sleeping in, staying up late, pool days, library days, $1 movies – all the fun. I hope my kids did too, the time goes by so quickly.


    1. Thank you! I know yours did, too! Did you know in the state of Kentucky you have to teach for 3 years in order to be a school counselor? So smart to get on the school calendar but our counselors come back about a month before school starts, too! The time goes so fast and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.


  2. Your boys were so cute! And blonde!
    I’m so thankful for my breaks, it has made it so easy to take care of the kids! The salary is bad, but oh those breaks!


  3. This was such a good post for those looking for summer ideas! My sister was great about asking every Christmas where our family would like a membership (I watched my niece 5 days/week). We picked the zoo one year and for a couple of years we did the Children’s museum. She had a pool in her neighborhood so we always had that too :). Library time was so, so special and when we moved and the local rural library didn’t have anything they let me start a program! We did have quite a bit of structure (because that’s who I am) and I wrote a post 8 years ago about our Technology Tickets because so many people asked about them. I just re-read and it really did help us get a balance of “good for you to do” and “do what you want” time. Here is the link:
    Another thing I did, because sometimes spending can get out-of-hand, was I had a wallet in the car with cash in it. Every week I would put $50 in it (we had four kiddos) and that was it for treats for the week. Want to go to the movies? OK, but do we have enough to also get concessions? Want to get Chick-fil-A? Well, be careful with your choices because we only have so much to spend. Dollywood? (We would buy the tickets of course), well, then we can’t spend money this week because we’ll need enough for all the treats and stuff you’ll want to get when we arrive. I think it was a good balance for us and taught them to look out for “deals” (dollar movie days) or free things!!
    You’re right, though, even though the BIG things are nice, I do think it’s the “every day” things that stick with them. . .they do for me too. I remember getting Trixie Belden books and reading under the tree in the yard, pool days at our community pool, and trips to my grandparent’s house in rural MI. It was a GREAT childhood!! I hope my kids look back with fond memories on their childhood summers too 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! Sorry I am so behind in responding! I forgot that I did tech tickets when my kids were older elementary and middle. They have always loved video games and I was always trying to get them outside! Yes, those are the memories I have, too. Lazy days of reading, swimmming and my neighborhood friends played flashlight tag every night!


  4. Love this post so much. So many great ideas and I did so many of these with my kids. I lived for dollar movie day 😂 and we’d go to different playgrounds. I always took my kids 1-2 days a week to their regular sitter, so I could get some things done. I love the throwback photos and agriculture quote 😂 I loved summers when my kids were little. I still love them now but it’s more about camp drop offs, sports and pool time. I’m not mad about the pool but we used to do so many other things when they were little.


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