For the last couple weeks we’ve basically been housebound as my hubby’s work truck undergoes a major repair. He’s had to “borrow” the family SUV to carry-out his HVAC/Plumbing calls. Summer is usually the best season for our business, so the timing is not the greatest, but God is sovereign, so we give thanks for there’s a reason for everything. That means we have to now modify our usual “out and about” summer schedule and make the best of each day, at home. Let’s do it!
I decided on a flexible summer routine to keep these busy boys of mine engaged and active! I focus on 4 things for them.
- Keeping their MINDS engaged
- Keeping their HANDS busy
- Keeping their BODIES moving
- Having downtime: for them and me 🙂
How We Do It
Once they get their morning chores done, we start out with breakfast and devotion
Then the boys each grab their summer bridge activities workbooks
After their short workbook activities. We do either of two things, head outside to keep their bodies moving or they head to the basement for free play/downtime. The weather outside dictates the order of those events. If they head to the basement, they’ve got their Legos, pretend stuff, cars, kinex, etc. to keep them busy for a couple hours. If we head outside, they’ll run, ride, skate, scoot, play badminton or their all time favorite…water play!!! We fill a large bucket with water and they get their water shooters…anyone in the way is bound to get soaked, even mommy!!! (not fun for me, I might add). While their busy, I use this time to do my school planning, prep for dinner, some ironing, or whatever else is needed.
We then have lunch. After lunch they enjoy their reading, computer or kindle time. This is when I have my personal downtime. Then, in the afternoon we get ready for craft time!! Yaay!!
Here are some of the crafts we’ve done.
If we don’t do a craft, we usually watch and discuss a movie together, like the moral lessons of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or play a board game, like Chinese Checkers. Then they have dinner.
In the evening, before bed, some reading/audio book time. They read whatever they picked from the local library. My non-readers listen to an audio such as “Adventures in Odyssey”.
Of course, there are always deviations from the schedule when unexpected things happen. Having an established routine ahead of time however, makes the day flow more smoothly for everyone. It keeps the boys happy and engaged and less frustrations for both mommy and kids :). We didn’t plan on being home this much, but having a balance of crafts, books, physical play, downtime and a few wonderful playdates with friends has made the time thoroughly enjoyable and it’s allowed me to do some decent planning for the coming new school year. In July, we hope to be able to do VBS and a couple of one-week camps so we’re going to be on the road more often. On the days when we’re not on the road, we’ll naturally fall back into our “at-home” routine.
Where/What To Buy
I keep a steady inventory of craft stuff. My favorite places to stock up are dollar stores, Walmart craft aisle or any favorite local arts and crafts store (never forget the coupons!). These places can yield many different crafts to keep the kids super-occupied. The Target store “dollar” section is awesome too and sometimes Amazon.com. Here are some ideas:
- Modeling Clay
- Kinetic Sand
- Shaving Cream (here are some activities)
- Tempura Paints/Paintbrushes
- Coloring Books/Color-By-Numbers Books
- Make-a-Meal Sticker Sheet (they loved this one!)
- Crayola Color Alive (they really loved this too, their artwork came to 4D life with the Color Alive App!)
- Mold and Design Hand Print
- Origami/Paper Folding Kits
- Paint-Your-Own Wood Crafts (jewelry/treasure box, birdhouses, planes, etc.)
- Spy Kits (dollar store)
In full disclosure, we don’t know anything other than homeschooling. I think this makes the transition to summer a bit simpler for us because they are already used to doing school-at-home and pretty much everything else. So the boys don’t frown (at least not yet) about working on a couple workbook pages or reading each day because in their mind it’s a lot less school than their accustomed to! Lol. Once, I keep their minds engaged, hands busy and bodies moving…we’re golden!
Hopefully, you’re not as housebound as we are. How do you keep your kids engaged at home over the summer?