Do you find that your summers are over before you know it? That you get to Autumn and Summer felt like a blur and you don’t really have much to remember it by? Or that you reach the end of the Summer break and you feel like you need a holiday just to recover?
That’s been me more often than I care to admit. I’d never spent much time planning for summer in the past. And often, I’d reach the end of the summer feeling like I either need a holiday because I’m exhausted or that the summer came and went before I knew it and we didn’t do much at all.
If you can relate, then we can change all of that this year by being more intentional with our summer. And I’ve got a few tips (plus an awesome printable) to help you out.
1. Be intentional with REST this summer
I’m quite an ambitious girl. And if you give me a list of activities to do with the family over the summer, I’m quite likely to try and cram everything in. But I’ve learned that this only leads to burnout and exhaustion.
If you want to have a more enjoyable summer, schedule rest. Take your calendar and cross out at least two or three days every week for the summer period. These are days where you won’t schedule any activities. Days where you can just chill out at home and enjoy your family. They don’t have to be the same days each week. However, I know for our home, Sunday is definitely a day where I won’t want to schedule any major activity.
Why schedule empty days?
Aren’t I supposed to be making the most of the summer? Well, when you’re taking the family for long drives to the beach, for a playdate across town or visiting relatives a couple of hours away, you’re going to need some rest. You shouldn’t try to schedule road trips and physically taxing activities back to back. Counter balance them with some rest at home or more gentle activities in between.
You’ll be thankful for the shuteye on a sunny afternoon with a glass of something cold! Rest becomes all the more sweeter!
And what’s more, you may find that these empty days occasionally fill up as you go through the summer. Friends and relatives often make impromptu arrangements to visit or have a BBQ. And having this purposeful space each week will allow you to consider these unplanned activities.
Isn’t it a lot easier to tell the kids that you’re all going to see Uncle Bob tomorrow rather than telling them that you’re cancelling the trip to the zoo because you’ve got to see Uncle Bob who’s in town instead? Having some open days in your week means that you can still hang out with Uncle Bob without having to miss the zoo because you can move your zoo trip to an empty day that week.
2. Make a bucket list
Now it’s time to start thinking about what you’d like to do with the family on some of the other days. I LOVE making lists! So, for me, this is my favourite part!
Get your family on board and ask them what they’d like to do over the summer. There are lots of activities that can be done for free. I created an awesome printable for you called the Summer Fun Planner. It’ll help you gather ideas and plan both a refreshing and memorable Summer. Get yours here.
See what’s local
Research what’s happening in your local area. My street has an annual street party every year where they close off the whole street. We missed it once, due to a family wedding, but it’s a fantastic free event where we can meet some neighbours and make new friends.
If you’re new to your area, introduce yourself to a friendly neighbour who can give you some suggestions.
Local libraries also have summer reading programs. Find out what’s going on at your local library.
Why not treat the family to a day out at a theme park, or the zoo. Sites like Day Out With The Kids also list loads of places to take the family.
You might even consider getting a Kids Pass which allows your kids to eat free at a large number of restaurants as well as getting them discounted entry to several places including the cinema, bowling and more. Find out more about that here.
Stay at home
If you’re looking for some activities to do at home, signing up with a service like toucanBox will mean that the kids get fun craft activities sent straight to your front door which they’ll be eager to dive in to.
You can also be a little old fashioned and encourage your kids imagination by letting them get bored! Once they’re bored enough, they’ll soon start inventing their own games and start using their imagination. Having a day at home doesn’t mean the kids will have a movie marathon. Although, that can be fun once in a while!
3. Plan ahead
Use a wall calendar or the printable calendar in my Summer Fun Planner in to start scheduling your activities. Remember to purposefully leave empty days where you don’t schedule anything.
Having a calendar where you can see all the summer weeks out in front of you makes it easier to see where activities are getting too congested and where you need to create more breathing space.
4. Prepare ahead
You’ll have a less stressed summer if you can prepare things in advanced. This may mean making sure you’ve got enough sun cream. Or that everyone has a sun hat or sunglasses. And all the other summer clothes, toys and extras that you’ll need for the activities you’ve got planned.
In my Summer Fun Planner, there’s a place to list out things you’ll need for your Summer and where to buy or borrow them. And borrow if you can! If your family has never been camping before and you think you might give it a try this Summer, rather than spend a fortune on all the gear, see if you can borrow items from a friend.
You don’t want to shell out a small fortune on camping gear to discover your family hate it and you won’t be doing that again! So, borrow where you can and buy the rest.
Have pre-packed bags
If you can, try to have separate bags ready to go for different activities. A designated pool bag with goggles, flip flops etc. Or a hiking bag where you can keep binoculars, bug catchers, walkie talkies and things like that. Or perhaps a picnic basket already stocked (minus the food of course!).
Here are a few activity bag suggestions to get you started:
- Swimming bag (goggles, flip flops, beach towels, swimsuits, sun cream, sun hats, pool floatables)
- Hiking bag (binoculars, bug catchers, nature books, walkie talkies, a kite, a compass, sun cream, bug repellant)
- Library bag (strong bag to hold books, library cards)
- Picnic bag (picnic mat, frisbee, sun cream, picnic plates/cups/cutlery/napkins, wet wipes, bug repellant)
- Tennis bag (rackets, tennis balls, water bottles, sun cream)
- Park bag (sun cream, football, water bottles, sunglasses, a kite, money for ice cream!)
Having these bags prepped means that when you are heading out the door, it won’t take two hours rounding everything up! I’ve been there – it’s not fun!
Even if you can’t have a separate bag for each activity, because they take up space, make a list of the things you’ll need. Keep this list on your fridge or in your shoe closet or somewhere you can reference it easily. That way, you can pack your bag the night before and wake up without feeling like you’re a drill sargeant in the morning!
So there you have it! Four tips to help you create a summer that’s both fun and relaxing;
- Schedule rest
- Make a list
- Plan it out
- Prep ahead
What fun things will you be doing this summer?