More thoughts on summer rythm…

The kids need some sort of structure.

I need them to not be bored.

I am thinking our days will, in general, consist of Free Play, Activities, and Events.

Free Play is just that. It’s “go outside and play” time where they can run, and roam, and build forts and use their imaginations to create entire worlds outside of the one they live in. Where they trapse inside for various accesories that make no particular sense to me but are ESSENTIAL for their “game”. Where a sled becomes a spy car and a coaster their “spy signal”. Where they can enjoy the long lazy days of summer. After all, I agree with Charlotte Mason that children need that time of creative play where they can be left to their own devices and not have every.moment.mapped.out.

That being said, in my experience, the lazy days of summer, while beautiful and important, need to be peppered with some highlight moments and some opportunities for structure at various points in order to anchor those free-flowing times and to give the children some sense of what to expect. It is a balancing act, or more appropriately, a dance. I like that image, of us dancing through our days. Lovely music as the backdrop, mama watching & leading, sticky popsicle hands and grimey feet fluttering around the house and yard making their own lifesong sing to Him!

Activities are things they can do with some independence right here at home.I am thinking of having a pocket chart for each kid for the week. In the pockets will be all kinds of choices of things to do throughout a day. They will be asked to choose an activity during “activity time” or if boredom begins to creep in after some free-play.

Some of the ideas for this Activity Time are:

-painting
-legos
-math
-history
-copywork
-playdoh
-reading
-wii
-movie
-video game
-exercise
-swimming
-stamps&coloring
-take pictures
-puzzles
-magnet fun
-book on tape
-digging in the dirt

Some of these activities are going to be repeatable – which means they can be done multiple times in a week. Others are single-use which means once they have chosen that activity, it won’t go back on the board until the following week. For example, reading they can repeat as many times in the week as they want to, but the wii is a once-a-week choice. Anything media-based is once a week, as a general rule.

Finally, EVENTS – are the things that we do outside the home that anchor our weeks and ensure that I shower… 😉
Here is the list-in-progress. Still brainstorming a few ideas.

Summer Camp – 1 week
Summer Reading Club @ the library
Storytimes @ the bookstore
Summer Movie Series at the local theater.
Vacation Bible School – 1 week
Swimming at the public pool
Zoo
Children’s Museum
Workshops at the Hardware Store
Playground
Train Ride
Splash Park
Wet & Wild
Science Center
Flagstaff trip
Lake Mormon
Lake Pleasant
Lake Verde
Grand Canyon

So, as you can see, I am still in the brainstorming stages. There are certain events listed that are more like rewards for great behavior and then there are others listed that are mini vacations we have planned – but still they are events that anchor our weeks so I put them in there.

Today is the first day of summer vacation and they are getting a “movie day” as a reward for all the hard work they did over the summer! Which means I can get this whole routine planned, get the index cards made, and hopefully clean the house a little so we are set to roll with our summer routine tomorrow!

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One thought on “More thoughts on summer rythm…

  1. Anonymous says:

    How about cooking or baking for activity time? You could have the ingredients on hand for rice crispy treats or snicker doodles or Jello jigglers. I have a recipe for these yummy peanut butter balls that don't have to be baked. I always found that to be a great way to pass the time with the kids I would babysit.

    Sounds like a fun summer!

    Tara

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