Plan weekly “theme days” to help structure your summer – this free printable Weekly Summer Activity Plan will give you some structure to your days and still allow for flexibility and spontaneity!
Done? Good! This will make a lot more sense now.
So you know that I’m trying to be more proactive with our planning this summer for a variety of reasons…mainly because this will be our last few months as a family of four! Since my oldest just finished Kindergarten, this will be also be my first real “summer vacation” from school as a stay-at-home-mom. I’ll admit, I’ve really gotten used to sending her off to school each morning and only having one kiddo to entertain at home. It will be wonderful to have her home with us again, but I have a feeling it will take some getting used to before we settle back into our old routine!
You know what, though, I don’t want to go back to that old routine. Confession time: it takes me a while to get moving in the morning, and I enjoy a slow cup of coffee while sitting at the computer after my husband goes to work. Usually, the kids get to watch a television show or two while I do that. Then I get them dressed…they play in the basement for a little bit…we have a snack…and before we know it, it’s almost lunch time. My husband comes home for lunch every day (which is a HUGE blessing to help break up my day!), but that means unless we are out the door to a park or the library or something by 9:30 or 10, we don’t really have enough time to go anywhere before it’s time to be back home for lunch. My 3.5 year old still naps (naps are a non negotiable in our house – my daughter napped until the week before she started Kindergarten!), so that means early afternoon activities are out…and then by the time nap time is over and we play outside for a little while, it’s time to start making dinner. And then the day is gone!
When I started thinking about how I wanted this summer to go, I didn’t want lots of big trips or super planned-out days…I just wanted a little bit more structure and motivation to get out and DO things, rather than just flying by the seat of our pants and deciding day-by-day what we were going to do. We live in a fantastic area within an easy drive of a ton of local parks, state parks with lakes and small beaches, a fantastic local library, a children’s science museum, weekly farmer’s markets, and more. We also live within “day trip distance” of some great theme parks, zoos, and museums. I know there’s know way we’ll be able to take advantage of EVERYTHING in one summer…but it seems silly not to take advantage of some of it, especially since lots of it is very inexpensive or free!
Okay, so here’s our plan: each day of the week will have a “theme” to help us structure our days a little bit…but with enough flexibility that it won’t be stressful or busy. I can’t take credit for coming up with this myself – there are loads of variations on this idea on Pinterest. I put together a plan that will work well for us, and I think it will help me to be proactive with our summer days rather than spending most of our days at home.
Here’s a break-down of our plan!
“LAZY DAY” Monday – I know myself, and I know that planning big things for a Monday is NOT setting myself up for success. Plus Monday is usually my grocery day. So Monday will be our “lazy day” to run errands and hang out around the house. There are still plenty of things we can do at home, inside or outside (I have a list of 100 Activities for Summer in my Summer Activity Binder!), so we’ll have lots of ideas to keep us busy.
“TRY IT” Tuesday – Tuesday will be our day to try something new. Depending on the weather, we’ll stay home and try a new craft, recipe, or other activity…or if it’s a nice day, we’ll head out and try a new park! There are over 40 parks in our area, and we’ve probably only ever been to about 8-10 of them. It will be fun to explore some new ones!
“BOOK WORM” Wednesday – Our local library has a great summer reading program, so Wednesday will be our head-to-the-library-and-stock-up-on-new-books day. If there’s a day that we don’t want to or can’t make it to the library, we can read some books together outside, watch a book-related movie or show, etc.
“TAKE A TRIP” Thursday – We’re lucky that my husband has a generous allotment of vacation days, so rather than taking a family day trip to an amusement park or museum on a Saturday with huge crowds, we’re usually able to do it mid-week. Thursday will be our day for scheduling day trips…but of course, we won’t be taking big trips every single week! So on the Thursdays that we aren’t taking a family day trip, we’ll still aim to take a “trip” someplace nearby – a state park, the arboretum, the local children’s science museum, etc.
“FUN DAY” Friday – Friday acts kind of as a free day where we can do a fun activity at home or plan a special family fun night. (Like an outdoor movie night!)
Quite honestly, with the exception of any day trips we take, the “theme element” of the day will only be a few hours, max…the rest of the day will still allow time for chores around the house, a quick errand, reading/learning activities, and general free play. We live in an amazing neighborhood and the kids are constantly outside playing, so there’s almost always somebody to play with. I think the variety and structure of this weekly schedule will work well for us, while still allowing for flexibility, freedom, down time, play dates with friends, etc. And Mom always has the final say, so I’ll be able to call an “audible” and switch things up whenever I want ;-)
In addition to the printable schedule, I created a second sheet with blanks and then laminated it – that way I can plan out our week and post it on the fridge so my kids can see the schedule in advance.
If you’d like to use our plan as-is, I’m happy to share my printable plan with you! It’s actually available as part of my Printable Summer Activity Binder which will help you plan your whole summer, but you can download this two page printable here:
If you’re thinking about implementing a similar “theme day” schedule for your summer but want something different from mine, here are some ideas I found from various other bloggers:
Monday – Make something Monday, Move-it Monday, Chill Monday
Tuesday – Time to Read Tuesday, Tuesday Treks, Tidy Up Tuesday, Science Time Tuesday
Wednesday – Wet & Wild Wednesday, Water Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Wild Card Wednesday, Wonder Wednesday, Wander Somewhere Wednesday
Thursday – Thinking Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Time to Read Thursday
Friday – Fresh & Fun Friday, Favorite Friday, Fun with Friends Friday, Figure it Out Friday, Field Trip Friday, Fun Food Friday
There is certainly no need for a “cutesy” alliterative name for each day, so here are a few more general ideas to choose from: Craft Day, Library Day, Baking/Cooking Day, Park Day, Water Day, Get Outside Day, Adventure Day
If you’re looking for a little help with planning your summer, go grab my 16 page Summer Activity Planner! It’s already made a big difference in the way I’m getting ready to spend summer with my kids. I’m actually really looking forward to the time we’ll spend together at home and around town!
Whatever you do this summer…planned or unplanned…I hope you have a great one!
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