OK, this is just a quick post to say....WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY CHILDREN ALL SUMMER? The end of the school year is approaching quickly, swimming lessons have come to an end, (but they will resume is 5 weeks - what's that about? I have no idea.) and I have no idea how I am going to entertain my 3 children all summer long. Finances are tight, so all the little "camps" that pop up in the summer, but are 100-200 dollars/week, are not an option. Why do they call them camps when they are not overnight? This is something I do not understand. Whatever..... Sit and watch TV all day? Kill me now. Play at the McDonald's Playland every day? I might as well get them a cardiologist now. Go to the park? Good for the occasional outing, but my toddler is a wild man there, and tends to chase the ducks with no real regard for his own life. I am willing to do this once in a while, because it brings them great joy, but I get tired of The Great Chasing of the Ducks. Read to them? Great. That took up half an hour. Any ideas for the rest of the day? There is the zoo. That's fun. One half day covered. Swimming, another hour killed here and there. (Plus, swimming stresses me out.) We have 2 trips planned, which will cover a week in June, and a week in August. I just don't know what we are going to do. Am I the only mother who faces this year after year? Does everyone else have their summer mapped out? If so, can I borrow your map?


Anonymous Erin said...

You probably have done this already since by number three, moms tend to know the ropes, but just in case...

There may be some programs around that are free and fun for kids. Check with your public library for weekly storytimes adapted to age. Some bookstores have them, too. Lots of places have free live summer music, outdoors, no less. Is there a children's museum around?

Or, can you find any big boxes? Make a fort. My toddler loves making forts and usually gets worn out enough to take a nap after he's done.

You named my big three for the summer: zoo, park, and pool. We got a season pass to the zoo, the park is across the street, and the pool is right here in our apartment building.

5/24/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

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5/24/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

Not until your post did I make the connection that moms must hate summer break as much as children love it. Right now, I don't have to deal with it because i have only one child and she is 3. But it sounds like one more thing that I have to look forward to!!

5/24/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Susan M said...

Do you not have a yard and a garden hose?

Library, library, library.

5/24/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger fMhLisa said...

My sis-in-law is doing something that I wonder if I should emulate. I'm considering it, but it is a bit of work. She's organized an outing with other mothers once a week. They communicate by email, she sends them on every Monday, telling them what the Thurday activity is.

And she just calls around to local business and whatnot and asks for tours and stuff. They've gone to the cheese factory (free cheese), and the donut factory (free donuts), and the back lot tour of the grocery store (free hot dogs), and the pizza place (the kids made little pizzas Free!). Anyway, It's only once a week, and it's work, but it is something the kids really look forward to. And it's usually free.

5/24/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

This might sound hideously geeky, but there's some homeschooling stuff that's actually a lot of *fun* that you could do with your kids. You can find science experiment books by Janice van Cleave at the library and do an experiment every day. You can find art project books by MaryAnn Kohl and do art every day. If you wanted something more serious, you could get the Story of the World book and Activity Book and do history projects (MUMMIFY A CHICKEN! HOLD A VIKING FUNERAL AND SET THE PYRE ON FIRE IN THE TUB!) oops I didn't realize the caps lock was on but I guess that worked pretty well.

And: playdates. Free, gets you free time when kids are gone and peace to do housework when other kids are over.

5/24/2005 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

I think of Marjorie Hinkley talking about giving her kids lots of free time to "wander in the hollow." We are fortunate to have fields around us and our kids used to make up all sorts of things to entertain themselves.

Just a thought.

5/24/2005 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Amira said...

The two thoughts I had were exactly what annegb and Julie mentioned. We just have lots of time to play. And fun homeschooling projects fill up the rest of the time. It's been like one long summer for the last 6 years. And it's been great.

5/24/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrea Wright said...

I second what Lisa wrote. I have two aunts (with kids my kids ages) that we take turns planning some outing each week. It's amazing how just something weekly helps break the week up. We keep it really low key, sometimes at one of our houses we turn on the sprinklers and break out the popsicles, tour a factory or fire station etc. Also, the library is great too, except sounds like your toddler is at the age mine is and would run around trying to pull as many books of the shelves as possible.

Most libraries have summer reading programs that your girls would enjoy though.

Most importantly, make sure you leave yourself plenty of blogging time to keep your sanity :)

5/24/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I am coming up with an amazing, incredible schedule!!! I am so excited.
But I am also thinking maybe telling them to just watch TV while I sleep a little longer...and longer...isn't such a bad idea either. Maybe eventually they'll follow my example and sleep in too.

5/24/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I've decided that structure helps me motivate myself. It makes me happy to have a plan. It's my first shot at a summer vacation schedule so I'm interested to see if it flies for us.

Get up, shower, feed baby, kids feed themselves
8:30 Summer school--planned learning activities at the table.
9:30 Summer school ends.
9:45 LEAVE THE HOUSE - (Planned so I don't have to think about it, we just go and do)
Monday-Grocery Store & Library
Tuesday- PLaygroup (I plan)
Wednesday - Field Trip
Thursday - Playdate to park or something?
Friday - Speech & errands
12:30 Lunch
1:00 Baby takes nap, Kids HAVE to go outside for an hour (I have to go watch if they ride bikes)
2:00 Kids play inside or out
3:00 Quiet Time on the couch reading or looking at books
3:30 TV/play
4:30 Clean up
5:00 Play/Misc same as now
6:00 dinner
7:45 Clean up
8:00 Get ready for bed

5/24/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...


In the 1950s, when Sr. Hinckley raised her kids, 'wandering in the hollow' was an option. Today, assuming you could find a hollow, there would be no other children there. But you could probably find a pedophile and/or drug dealer.

One other idea I forgot to mention: reading aloud to kids. The Little House series, Narnia, etc. are all wonderful. And you should have mandatory quiet time each afternoon: each person in different room, do whatever you want, but no talking. Goes for Mom, too. It is bliss!

5/24/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Anonymous danithew said...

I have no idea if this will help or not -- but for a recent birthday of one of her three sons, my sister asked for a slip-n-side. It cost $10.00 + change and it appeared the two boys who are old enough were very enthused at the prospect of using it.

When I was on the phone with sis yesterday she suddenly had to hang up because a live bird got into her house. I imagine that this would consume some time and be of interest to children as well. So I highly suggest you allow a live bird to fly into your house. :)

5/25/2005 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

I've been obsessing over this question all week. I have three kids, almost 8, just turned 5, and 18 months. My big, big problem is that it's too hot to play outside for most of the summer, even at 8 in the morning. Last summer my oldest literally would try to climb the walls (our living room has picture-frame molding floor to ceiling, which provided the necessary inch of wood for her to grip and hoist herself up with -- what a nightmare).

Also, we're all very fair-skinned, so hours of playing in the water would have us blistering, even with sunscreen. I finally decided what I need is a nice schedule (to avoid the hours of boredom, TV, computer, and getting on each others' nerves that would result otherwise), and even wrote one up with input from the kids and the library schedule, and dollar days at the zoo.

What I'd really like, though, is to talk to some moms who homeschool successfully -- Julie? Please? How do y'all set up your days with kids multiple ages? Do you try to keep a (flexible) schedule, or just have a general order in which you do things? What works for you? The book recommendations sound great, by the way.

5/25/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I am not faced with this delima for a long time, but I have worked in summer programs for schools and here are some ideas:

Field trips to a farm, the library, post office, museums, etc. Other posters had great ideas on this one.

Hikes, even if the "hike" is just around a park with trees make it into a nature walk, try to find leaves, bugs, whatever to make it interesting.

A morning swim time is always great because then the kids are pooped and may take naps that afternoon.

One thing my sister, who is the wonder-mom, does with her kids during summer break is a mandatory quiet time for everyone. The baby gets a nap, the older kids rest and have to do a writing project/easy coloring page. The writing project is a journal entry, a story, or evena letter to a family member living far away. This gives the kids a needed down time and gives my sister the time to get a break from busy kids.

5/25/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

P.S. I forgot to add, when my sisters and I were little, my mom and her friend combined our families for a small "summer school." They planned outtings and mini classes for us. We did fun things like making s'mores by putting the ingredients on tin foil and leaving it outside to melt. I also remember them incorporating books into our learning. We read "Stone Soup" and then made our own stone soup, tasted it, and then learned to make real soup. They somehow incorporated some type of an allowance into the summer school because we had a once-a-week trip to Pick-n-save to learn to spend our dollar, or save it up for something bigger later.

5/25/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Sue M said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Sorry for laughing, it's just that every day is summertime around here, since none of my kids are old enough for school, hee hee.

I agree with all of the wonderful suggestions above, and they've given me a few ideas as well!

Personally I take my little tykes to the park almost every day - a different park each day. Once a week I try to take them on a field trip, like has been suggested above. It's usually just me and the kids, although sometimes I get up the nerve to invite someone from my ward along (we're new in the ward) and it turns out to be fun for all of us. We've gone to museums, working farms, the zoo, the aviary, up to the mountains, on a train ride - all kinds of fun things.

We have a library day and storytime once a week.

Our ward has both "playgroup day" where everyone brings toys, balls, ride-on toys, etc. and gets together in the cultural hall, and "park day" at alternating parks each week.

Classes are also a great way to fill the time. My two DDs have pre-ballet classes once a week, and I've enrolled them in a toddler tumbling class once a week as well. They've taken "farm classes" at a local working farm - "all about ponies", "all about ducks", etc. If I had older kids, I would think summer would be a good time to explore their interests - enroll them in private lessons of one flavor or another - horseback riding, tennis, swimming, etc. (if the budget allowed it of course). My sister's little girl tried out tennis lessons at the community rec center last summer and loved it! (she's seven)

We also have a huge unfinished basement, and we have it all decked out with kids play stuff - a mini tramp, a slide, a small plastic swingset, etc. We have bikes and things down there for them to play with - so when it's too hot out, or when I don't want them to get sunburned, etc., we just head down to the nice cool basement. I don't have to worry about the baby getting too warm, we have a nice fluffy couch down there for me to sit on. Good times.

I will also say that I cannot wait until my children are old enough to play hide and seek with me. You can do it indoors, it kills a lot of time, and kids love it. Plus, you get some exercise. (Man, I LOVE that game. It still makes me mad that my DH will not indulge me in an occasional game of H&S. Of course, I often get so excited that I pee my pants while waiting to be found, so that may be the reason why. Oh well, we all have problems.)

5/25/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This is a bit off topic, but I have a question. When my daughter gave up her afternoon nap, we tried to have a mandatory quiet time each afternoon. She would go in her room and then spend the next 30 minutes yelling down the stairs "when is quiet time over???" I would yell back up the stairs to her, telling her to be quiet. It was anything but quiet, and my patience quickly wore thin. Any suggestions on how to help her have some down time on her own?

5/25/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...


My 3yo did the same thing when I first instituted quiet time. It just takes awhile. Be firm, don't give in, because if you do, it is all over. Be sure that there is no confusion that this is 'nap time' or 'time out' (if you do those) but that this is wonderful fun happy quiet time.


Here is our basic schedule, although it changes periodically:

8:30-9:30 -- My 7yo does school work at the table while I supervise, eat breakfast, clean a little, keep 3 yo from making too big of a mess, feed the baby, and, in general, juggle things.

9:30-10:30 -- baby naps while I read school book to the big boys on the couch

10:30-noon -- baby is up: finish school if necessary (rarely have any to do), I clean with baby in backpack, free play for boys

noon-- I nurse baby while checking email and blogs (hence bad typing)

lunch, read aloud from chapter book (usually 15 minutes), quiet time, flexible time, TV/computer time for boys (in other words, minimal scheduling here)

outing in late afternoon -- Monday is cubs, Tues and Weds. trade playdates with homeschooling friends, Thurs. to other friends' house, Friday is homeschooling coop.

We don't have school on Weds., so we go to the library for story time in the morning.

In the summer, we have over friends who are public-schooled whose mom works part-time a lot, and we don't have cubs or coop, but we go to the pool a lot.

I have found for me that I want a tight schedule first thing in the morning and a tight schedule at night (dinner, straighten, bath, stories, bed) but I want flexibility in the afternoons.

5/25/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

TIMER. Either put it in her room up high so she can't reach, or in the hall. When it is no longer you who determines the end of quiet time, she has no reason to keep asking you.
(We had this problem with time out. Even 2 seconds "Can I come out now?" Nothing worked to stop her asking until I did the timer.)I am sure this will work for quiet time and when we do quiet time occasionally at home now my oldest can tell time so she just checks the clock and doesn't have to ask. I just tell her what time quiet time will be over.

5/25/2005 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

Mimi, I'd try a digital clock (write down what the clock will look like when it's been a half hour or however long) or a timer. That way she won't need to ask.

5/25/2005 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I do have a yard and a garden hose. What I lack is a fence. Which is OK for the older two, but for some reason the street is far more appealing than the grass for the toddler.

These are all excellent ideas. I feel so motivated!! I am going to get out my calendar and start writing down different activities on different days, and then when that day dawns, there will be no "what are we going to do today?" We'll just look at the calendar!

I am not as organized as some people, and cannot map out my day in half hour increments. But I can dream. Maybe someday I will be.

5/25/2005 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...


Sadly, you are right. We had a discussion sort of about this on another blog. Summers didn't used to be that much of a problem because we slept in a little, then the kids could run outside all over after chores.

We are still lucky in our little neighborhood to have little "hollows" for the kids to run and play, but it's not as comforting as it used to be.

But I also think Sister Hinkley was speaking somewhat figuratively, and that it's important for kids to have time to just play and use their imagination, to not structure every moment of their day. I guess this is with kids a little older, time to just race their bikes or play house.

The sad thing for me about quiet time is that unless they were sleeping right next to me, if it got quiet, I wondered what they were up to.

5/25/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Oh, we used to duct tape a dog leash to the hose and put the leash on my little grandson when he was between one and two, then we would turn on the hose and he would water the world and not go out of the yard. He was in heaven and I didn't worry about him getting run over.

5/25/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


I think I speak for everybody when I say, Wow. You are a total supermom. I am way impressed by your schedule.

5/25/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

Heather --

You have got to be kidding. I spend most of my mental energy trying to figure out why I am not meeting my goals or being a better mother or housekeeper.

5/25/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I really am getting excited for summer but we still have 3 more weeks of school....And only about 10 weeks of summer.
Our school district has lots of teacher days....one Fri per month no school. I've been good this year to do the field trip thing on the day off. This last Fri, before memorial day, we did the beach. Lot of work but great for the kids.
I'm really excited about my schedule.....but its still 3 more weeks before I get to try it. This is actually our first summer vacation after a real school year so I'm excited to see how it goes.

6/01/2005 07:12:00 PM  

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