Summer always seems to sneak up on me. All of a sudden, school programs are over and it’s shorts season and scorching outside. My kids? Excited at first and then quickly bored with our regular routine. I realized that this year, I need to come up with a mom’s summer fun/survival guide.
Since we recently PCS’d to North Carolina from San Diego, I’m trapped in a comparison loop. The activities I enjoyed with my kids aren’t possible when you live two hours in both directions from a metropolitan area. There isn’t a zoo or children’s museum nearby. In fact, we drive 25 minutes to eat at our family’s favorite fast-food spot. Last year, I let myself succumb to feeling disappointed by the “lack of family activities” around our new duty station, leading to a lack of fun.
This year, I am determined not to miss out on enjoying summer, not just for my kids, but for me too.
I compiled this guide to help parents dominate their summer with children under 5 years old. Since my children are too young to attend traditional kids camps, this list requires full adult supervision.
First, I aim to leave my house with my three children on my own at least two times a week. That includes a play date at a park or friend’s home. Collaborative parenting with a friend is a great way to stay sane if you are home all day with young children. When in doubt invite a friend over with the promise of interrupted adult talk and kid-friendly snacks or lunches.
Summer fun schedule
My typical summer week looks like this:
Monday: Play date with a friend // Tuesday: at home // Wednesday: go outside // Thursday: at home // Friday: educational experience // Saturday: whole family outing // Sunday: at home
Inflatable pool at home
Run around at a park
On days when we are at home due to weather or I’m too tired to venture, we do crafts I find on Pinterest. I have an activity cabinet stocked with Play-Doh, coloring supplies, glue, construction paper, puzzles, coloring books, and age-appropriate board and card games. My children specifically enjoy water beads, playing in water with bubbles, and coloring empty delivery boxes or white poster boards.
If all the above isn’t possible, I have one last crowd pleaser. I take a muffin tin and fill it with snacks or bite-size treats. We lay a blanket down in our living room and have a picnic. We will watch a movie or show together or while I’m catching up on my least favorite chores: dishes or laundry.
What are your favorite family activities?