Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DailyBuzz Moms 9x9 -- Free, Afforable, Summer Fun: Adventure Camp with Mom

This summer, for the first time since they were toddlers, my kids will be home with me for the duration, that is approximately ten weeks. No camps or vacations, but plenty of (fingers crossed) fun and adventure.

For those of you whose children stay home with you all summer, please comment below on any strategies, ideas and insights you may have. For those of you who think I'm crazy, pray for me.

Joking aside, although there were some camp opportunities that my kids wanted to go to, we forwent spending hundreds of dollars with the hope to save money and provide, at least for this year, some lasting memories of time spent together creating our own fun and adventures. We also have a surfer on our hands and paying for and sending her to camp would likely interfere with good weekday weather and waves that we wouldn't want to pass up, so without the committment of a camp schedule, we have more flexibility.

Once this decision was made I went all out research mode pulling out old articles I'd saved for crafts, bookmarking websites and recipes, seeking the advice of other blogger mamas, visiting Pinterest (to see what I'd pinned in the dead of winter thinking it would be fun to do in the summer) and laid it all out before me to create what I'm calling, "Summer Adventure Camp with Mom."

Like the Judy Moody and Not Bummer Summer books and film series I want our summer to be filled with laughter, adventure, learning and of course, fun. I have visions of lazy days and jam-packed, doze-off-on-the-car-ride-home as the sweet summer air lulls them to sleep, kinds of days. I imagine creative days and days when we let someone else take the lead, like a guide at a museum. Most of all, I want it to be a time for us to bond without the strictness of a schedule, but enough structure that we look forward to each day.

Here is my game plan and please, wish me luck:

Ordinary/Home Day

Morning Schedule:
8:00-9:00 Breakfast, kitchen cleanup, etc.
9:00-9:15 Get dressed, get ready – see chore list
9:15-10:30 Individual/Partner Free Play                                                                                        
10:30-12 Group Activity

Afternoon Schedule:
12:00 -1:00 - Lunch, kitchen, and dining room cleanup, etc.
1:00 -2:00 – Quiet time – see list of acceptable activities
2:00- 4:00 – Group Activity & afternoon chores and snack
4:00-Dinner Individual/Partner Play until dinner

Individual or Partner Free Play: is time to play with siblings or alone with toys and the regular things we have around the house. It's just as it sounds free...anything goes.

Group Activity: will either be an outing or an option from the "crafts, baking or etc." lists.

Quiet Time: reading, drawing or daydreaming.

Each Sunday the kids and I are going to plan out activities based around the following templates during the months of July and August. By doing this together I am involving them in our plans and ensuring they get to do the things they want to do within the limits of my carefully researched and budget fitting lists.

Our schedudle will also be influenced by the weather, invitations from friends, appointment and various other commitments, but for the most part will be of our own making.  

Theme Week 1 for July:

Masterpiece Monday: Crafts, learning about artists and the arts in general.

Tasty Tuesday:Cooking/baking -with kids being 90% in control.

Wet 'n Wild Wednesday: Go to a lake, pool or other watering hole.

Thoughtful Thursday: Do something kind for someone/volunteer.

Friends and Family Fun Friday: Kids can have friends over or we  will go on a field trip, movie/homemade pizza/popcorn or they will plan the day.
Theme Week 2 for August:

 Make Something Monday: Craft, food, a teepee fort, birdfeeder...something major.
Time To Read Tuesday: Visit library and read the day away, answer all the questions we've ever asked (well maybe some) learn about history, the future, etc.
What’s  Cookin’ Wednesday. Let the kids chose something they want to make and have at it.
Be thoughtful Thursday: Make or bake something, write a letter/call- do service, visit grandparents, animal shelter, etc.
Somewhere Fun Friday: Another field trip! day

As for the regular days when we're just about the house here are my ideas:

Things to do when we're home:
  • Each child chose an animal to research and create a presentation, craft, baking and lesson (this was totally their idea when I proposed Summer Adventure Camp with mom.)
  • Yoga- We each take turns teaching
  • “Play in a Day” Song, dance, skit and programs! To perform for friends and family.
  • Dance Party
  • Write Short Stories- Fiction free write/creative
  • Celebrate! 7/31 Harry Potter Birthday (cookbook, game, movie) We did this last year and it was alot of fun!
  • Read 100 Books: come up with a fun way to record: collage with picture representing each book/title?
  • Movies
  • Nails-pedicure and manicures
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Card games
  • Play basketball
  • Obstacle Course
  • Blow bubbles
  • Learn Spanish and/or French (though that could get confusing, si-oui?)
  • Board games
  • Puzzles
  • On a hot day wash the vehicles, have some fun with water!
  • Apples to apples and apple turn overs
  • Boredom Buster Basket (Items I've saved over the last few months to provide a quick distraction if I should hear the words, "I'm bo..."
Ladies Holiday, Copyright 2012

Food to cook/bake: 
  • PB and honey chewy granola bars ( I am on the endless quest for the perfect granola bar!)
  • "Around the World" we each pick a place abroad, get a book about it and a recipe, create placemat/collage and draw what represents the country, share some fun facts and maybe learn a few words in a different language
  • Popsicles as in make our own!
  • Homemade soft pretzels
  • Apple turn overs (and play apples to apples)

Source: chickabug.com via Erika on Pinterest

Crafts to do:
  • Potters clay: make our own clay pots for plants
  • Canvas and paint
  • Glow chalk (we have a kit that we didn't use last summer)
  • Bath fizzies
  • Try to sprout an avocado seed.
  • I’m bored- buster jar: we all write down activities we enjoy, fold up the paper, place it in a jar, shake it up and select.
  • Make sprouts
  • Crayons- make some thing with all our old crayons.
  • Play dough
  • Tissue paper flower crowns
  • Flags (fabric and bakers twine)
  • Paint an inspiring message on a rock for our garden (ex: peace, love, etc.)
* Some of these items you will see featured either here on Ladies Holiday or on our sister-site (about all things culinary) Aliment later on in the summer.

Activities - out of the house and in the world!
  • Library (book program)
  • Pet shelter
  • Bowling
  • Picnic
  • Playground
  • Pools and Lakes
  • Farmers Market
  • Bike Ride
  • Playdates
  • Visit family and cousins
  • Hike
  • Berry picking
  • Take a photo walk- take pictures of what we see

I printed out this weekly calendar template from "Mommy Tracked" to help with organization. Above is just a sample of what I had in mind and does not include the Weekly Themes presented above for July and August. This one is just for the last week of June to get us started, so the kids get the sense of what we're doing and what to expect. Refering to the "Home Day Schedule" above I will plug in activities to do during the Group Activity times (3 each for AM & PM.) I find that as long as my children have my undivided attention they are happy as can be and doing even ordinary activities is more fun.

At the end of June I will present the kids their "packet" filled with the "camp outline" a sheet to record books, journaling pages, schedule and a list of chores.

Ladies Holiday, Copyright 2012

With the exception of a few "field-trips," supplies for crafts and cooking, I think this is an affordable and sanity preserving way to ensure we have a fun summer without the detested, "I'm boreds" but with enough freedom for them to still be kids.

Happy Summer to you and please share your thoughts and ideas!

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  1. These are all such great ideas! I'll have to keep these in mind when I actually have some children of my own. :)

  2. It will forever be here for your reference!
    Thanks for commenting :)

  3. How fun! You are an amazing mother!!

  4. i absolutely love love love this! what a creative mother you are!

  5. Well goodness ladies you sure do know how to make a gal feel good! Thank you!

  6. Okay, so can I just start with... you are absolutely amazing and could I just enroll my two kiddos in your summer camp?! Love this. Really, truly.


    1. Ha! If you bring me to Hawaii- I will do anything including open a summer camp LOL!

  7. Wow - this is a great schedule. I love how you have thought through a list of things to do, but have left the schedule somewhat open. It's great to include the kids in the planning process of things. I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful summer for you!!

    I'm so glad you linked this up at Romance on a dime! I'm pinning this!!

  8. Thank you Betsy- glad you liked it!

  9. deirdre, seriously, can you be my mom? or at least my kids' mom, at least for the summer? :) this post is fabulous and inspiring - it totally is helping me think more constructively about our summer. thank you!

    1. Tee hee! So glad thIs was helpful. I like having the structure in place and then on days we feel like it we can break the rules and do whatever and then return to our plan. Have a great summer!!

  10. Wowza! This is amazing! Lots of fabulous ideas & I have a feeling I'll be coming back to this post for inspiration this summer. Just curious - how old are your kids? (You have great ideas here for all ages.)

    1. Hi Ellie-
      Great question. My kids are 7 & 10, but between the four of us bloggers here on LH we have 13 kids ranging in in ages from 1 to 10 and have adapted this template to fit everyone's interest. For more inspiration our pinterest page has some activities for the youngers.
      Thanks for the comment! Cheers!

  11. Wow! What a great amount of work! This could be a syllabus. :) Congrats on winning the 9x9!


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