Friday, June 24, 2016

Just imagine how cooler I'll be....IN SUMMER!!

Olaf has been waiting for his moment in the sunlight!  
It's finally Summer!!!

With two boys, Summer can be a fun...and interesting time.  School's out, which means that Littlehead's year in 1st Grade is over, and Momma's Preschool year is over as well.  And Littlesthead is just enjoying being a 1 year old.  So, that means Summer adventures can commence.  

There will be some Cub Scout fun throughout the Summer.  Our local Cub Scout Day Camp is fast approaching.  And of course there are Pack and Den activities to keep us busy.  Vacation will be another week of awesome fun.  BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF SUMMER??!!!!

I'm a typically active person.  I like to be outside when it's possible.  Filling up the baby pool, turning on the slip-n-slide, riding bikes, going on hikes... all of these are things we like to do.  Rainy day?  Board games, Legos, reading and whichever subject we have chosen to study throughout the Summer.  We've learned about bugs, birds, the human body, robots and currently learning about astronomy.  All these fun ideas, but how to make sure we do them and not end up at the ol' standby... TV, Ipad, Video games?  It does make for a challenge to not turn into screen time zombies.

Thanks to this wonderful thing called the Internet, I have found a few solutions to solve this Summer bummer situation.

First things first.....
How do we limit some of the screen time?  It's way too easy for my littlehead to plop down with his Ipad or Netflix.  I found quite a few screen time charts or incentive systems.  I came across one in particular that I felt like would work with my 7 year old from the Shady Lane.
This is the blank version, but there are other versions as well, including a different color scheme and pre-filled in items.  I printed out a copy, filled in the tasks and slid the sheet into a clear plastic sheet protector.  As my littlehead completes a task, we can color in the meter with a dry erase marker until he earned his screen time, wipe clean and start again.  I incorporated reading time (which goes along with our local library's summer reading program), easy chores, and activities from two other summer boredom busters I will mention in just a minute.

My littlehead has always loved activity books.  It could be my doing.  Ever since he was old enough to wield a crayon, we carried coloring books or activity books where ever we went.  Going out to dinner,  a long ride in the car, the doctor's office?  Let's load up the backpack with activity books.  In more recent years, a majority of those activity books became Math related.  Man, does he love Math. We have inadvertently been preventing Summer Slide with these fun activity books, but he doesn't need to know that.  

Of course it was a no brainer when I came across the Summer Brain Camp binder printables from Imagination Soup.  There are activities for Reading, Writing and Math.

The free printables include 3 lists of various activities and reward coupons.  They also provide links to various resources to accompany the listed activities.  It's pretty easy, print, slide into sheet protectors, and put in a binder.  I put a binder friendly pencil pouch to hold dry erase markers.  

My FAVORITE Summer Boredom Buster that I found is from Over the Big Moon: 60 Days of Summer Fun!  All you need is some Popsicle sticks, a way to color code them, and the printable activity cards. 

At Over the Big Moon, they created a color coded system:

ORANGE= Art, Activity or Craft

PURPLE= Cooking

GREEN= Field Trip (Museum, Zoo, Etc)

BLUE= Water Activity

YELLOW=  Science Experiment

SILVER =  Special Activities

There are completed activity cards and blank cards that can easily be edited in Photoshop.  I really only had to edit the Green Field Trip cards and the Silver Special Activities.  This year, with my Littlehead being in Cub Scouts, I added a new color category:  RED = Hiking Locations.  

What on earth do you do with all these popsicles?   At the beginning of the week, Littlehead picks a popsicle from each color, except for Silver.  We find the coordinating activity card, and refer back to Over the Big Moon for activity information or recipes.  That's right, they have all the needed information and resources linked right on the website!  We try our best to complete the activities before the week is up.  Sometimes we end up a little more busy with camps, doctor appointments, sleepovers at the grandparents', or some much needed errands.  

With all of these Summer Boredom Busters combined, I should never hear the words "Mooommmmmmmm..... I'm booorrrrreeeeeddddd..."

I hope these suggestions can work for you family as well as it did for mine.  Have a great Summer!