Summer is supposed to be filled with fun, but it’s also a good idea to keep kids productive during those off-school months. To keep my kids learning and growing, there are just a few daily activities I encourage. Read on to see what they are and how we manage to fit in summer productivity while still leaving the bulk of their time for fun and play.
Earlier this week, I talked about prepping for summer. Today we’re going to move on to the “planning for summer” stage. My family does so much better with plans and structure. It’s always good to have some flexibility to be spontaneous, but having a plan in place helps make sure the summer doesn’t get away from us. Plus, it lessens tantrums, fights, and laziness, and makes transitioning back into school MUCH smoother.
When summer hits, my kids suddenly decide they should have zero responsibilities, get to have as much tech time as they want, and play with friends all day. What the what?! While I’m ALL about them having a fun summer, I also want them to have a productive summer.
Today I’m sharing some things I encourage my kids to do to promote summer productivity, and how I use that to prioritize summer fun!
1. Reading & Learning
If my son doesn’t do anything learning related all summer, he loses so much of what he learned the past year in school. His reading level goes down, he suddenly forgets all the math skills he learned, his handwriting decreases, everything. So I encourage him to keep up with these skills.
I buy a workbook of some sort for the grade level he just finished, and have him complete a page or two each day. We always take the weekends off, and this usually means Friday too. Doing this keeps his brain active–and it only takes about 10 minutes.
Also, I keep up with daily reading. For my son, it’s 15 minutes per day. But the more he reads, the more rewards he gets. And my daughter has 3 picture books read to her each day. I’ll talk more about implementing a summer reading program in your home next week.
2. Sports & Activities
We do swim lesson (for my daughter) and swim team (for my son) over the summer. And then we encourage them to keep up skills for the sports and activities they do during the school year. My son is hoping to start basketball, so we’ll encourage him to practice his shooting and dribbling for a few minutes every day. He’s also going into his third year of Let’s Play Music, and I don’t want him to lose everything he learned this year. So we’ll have him do that for a few minutes each day as well.
Obviously chores don’t go out the window during the summer, so we keep those up. I’ll also take the extra time we have together during the summer to teach the kids new, more difficult chores so I can switch up some of their tasks when the school year hits. Along with this, I’ll also take some extra time to teach them new life skills–things like kitchen skills, tying shoes, strapping themselves in the car seat themselves, potty training, etc.
4. Other Items
There are three more things I encourage my kids to do every day: something kind, something active, and something imaginative. The something active is easy because swim team/lessons count, and so does basketball. Or if we go swimming for fun. Doing something kind can be as simple as holding the door open for someone, cleaning up a sibling’s breakfast plate, helping mom for a couple minutes, or drawing a picture for Grandma. And something imaginative is just creative play–play-doh, coloring, crafts, Legos, blocks, playing with the play kitchen, etc.
All of the above has to be done before they are allowed any tech time. I do allow a little more tech time in the summer than I do during the school year, but not much. And these items have to be completed before that or before they play with friends. It sounds like a lot, but it can all easily be done in less than two hours. So if they get up at 7:00, they could really play with friends by 9:00. And then I know they’ve done a lot of good things and can just let them relax and have fun the rest of the day!
What do you encourage your kids to do over the summer?
Stay tuned for next week when we’ll talk about encouraging summer reading, creating a flexible summer schedule, and how to have a summer family book club.
If you liked this, check out the other posts in the Perfectly Imperfect Summer Series: