Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parenting Tip #85 Structure your summer with Categories!

One month of summer is gone already! Having gone through many-a summer myself, with many-a child, here are some things I found to be helpful. Maybe one of them will help you.

You need to have some sort of structure for summer to run smoothly (plus plenty of food!) I don’t like a lot of structure, but I do like categories. Thinking and organizing your day in categories might help you feel like you have more control over the summer situation. And it helps your children feel structure in their day. You may want to have all these categories every day, or have just a few each day.

reading time- Have your children find a funny place to read--like in the bathtub with pillows or in the closet with a flashlight. You might include some snacks. Stretch reading time out to 45-60 minutes depending on your children’s ages.
And enjoy reading WITH them, too.

art time-structured or creative.  Have lots of markers, paper, glue sticks and anything else you can find.  Glue beans on a paper to spell names/words. Glue yarn in fun designs on paper.  Sew designs on paper with the sewing machine (with no thread in it)

inventive/creative time-create something with recycled objects or objects found in the backyard, boxes, cardboard, whatever

toy time-play with toys that have been put away so they seem new now, or toys in the bottom of the closet. How about trading toys with a friend.

bored time-Let children be bored. Encourage them to create a game using socks, or popcycle sticks. How about playing school, or bank or library. Play alligator by spreading pillows or cushions on the floor (you have to jump from cushion to cushion or the alligator will get you).

Cleaning time- Let children declutter their drawers. Give child a squirt bottle and a fun sponge and let them wash doors, and fingerprints. How about ice skating on a wet wash cloth to mop the floor?

Computer time-Make this a short and directed time length. You probably already know where lots of educational websites are.
Snack time- Cut an apple in half, scoop out the core and spoon in tuna fish or peanut butter. Freeze grapes or banana slices. Make watermelon popcycles by inserting sticks or toothpicks in chunks of watermelon and freeze

Writing time-Have your children write a book, illustrate a story, or write a memory and send some of them to grandma.
Create desks with boxes or as, the baby did, sit in the box.

Water time-Let young children paint with water. Give them a bucket of shallow water and a paint brush and let them paint the patio wall and floor. Please stay with your child while letting them play with water. It takes only a small amount of water for a child to drown in.

Paint rocks with water or fill a large container with water and measuring cups and spoons-children love to fill and dump over and over again. Give your child a cup of ice cubes to play with outside. 

Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Jessica for quickly following through with my plea for pictures to illustrate this blog post.  You can see what kind of mother she is, she's already been doing these things with her kids for years!

Now send me your pictures with your kids illustrating some of the fun ideas you'll come up with and I'll post them.


  1. What a GREAT post!!! I love the idea of reading time in creative places! You never cease to amaze me with all of your wonderful ideas for raising kids AND teaching piano!!!

  2. We have a craft drawer in the kitchen with all sorts of supplies for the kids to get into whenever they want to, a box of scrap paper (so I don't feel like they're wasting paper), other creative stuff on a shelf nearby (play dough, design blocks, bendaroos, craft books with more ideas, etc.), and the world is there stage. They've come up with some pretty creative things (and usually decorate the house with them). Of course, they love their Grandma (Cathy)'s Play time activities (slips of paper with fun things to do when bored)!




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