Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On the Quest for a Simple Summer

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Simple Summer Utah Deal Diva fun activities for summer Utah
The kids are out of school and the weather is {mostly} warm so I declare it official: Summer is here. If you're like me, the thought of nearly 3 months of summer brings mixed emotions. On one hand I'm so excited for my kids to get a break from homework and tests, but I'm also dreading the inevitable boredom{and whining that comes along with it!}. The only thing worse than having your kids express boredom at all is having them express it five times each hour, day after day, all week long. No joke.

I've never been one to enroll my kids in a zillion extra curricular activities. For one, some of them are quite expensive and when you have multiple children, those costs can really add up. Another reason I opt to not participate is I'm not afraid of having my kids get a little bored. Boredom begets creativity in my opinion. While I don't feel the need to entertain my kids all day, they do need a bit of help with structure.

Enter the Simple Summer Schedule. 

We've done something along these lines for years now. You don't have to ditch a schedule entirely during summer, just switch out different activities and try not to over plan. Allow your kids time to ride bikes and dig in the sandbox. I find that having things to look forward to helps tremendously. Just like during the school year, I try and have a plan for each day, only it's filled with summertime activities like playing at the park until noon, going home for lunch, then after 30 minutes of quiet time, we'll go visit the library.

I've organized our schedule into daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly activities and have given you all several ideas in the graphic above {thanks Amanda Peterson!!} Let this be a guide to help inspire other fun activities for your family to do this summer!

Daily:

First of all, never underestimate the power of side walk chalk, bubbles, a bounce ball and water painting. Ration these items and introduce new variations over the summer. Here are a ton of inexpensive outdoor toys. Take a daily walk or bike ride to get the kids moving. Having contests to see who can find the most bugs, birds, dogs, etc. Mix it up with an outdoor scavenger hunt! Make your own musical instruments and have a concert. Break up the fun with quiet time or times where you listen to classic music. Even though school is out we also read for 30 minutes each day as well as have at-home school time. ICanTeachMyChild.com is a great resource for ideas and printables. I also make sure each child has a Brain Quest Workbook each summer. We generally do 3-6 pages each day.
Utah Splash Pads
Photo Credit: Standard Examiner
Weekly:

Call a friend who has kids similar in age to yours and arrange to meet at a local park. The Utah.gov website has a neat feature for residents. Go here, then click the "Near You" box on the left. It will automatically detect your location and give you several parks nearby. Visit a different park each week! Take a picnic lunch. Here are 45 sandwich-free summer lunch ideas. Get your kids involved in your outdoor garden, or plant something indoors.  Visit a Utah Splash Pad- they're free and great for kids who don't know how to swim!
Utah Farmers Markets

Bi-Weekly:

Tis the season for fresh produce! Take the kids to visit one of Utah's Farmers' Markets- there are a ton. The Utah.gov, Near You tab also has information for local libraries. Kids are able to check out 10-15 books. Use these for your 30 minutes of reading time each day! Kids of all ages will enjoy simple science experiments.  {I also liked these science experiments geared towards older kids.} These fun activities are not only engaging but they also are incredibly educational. Family Fun is a great source for kids crafts. Remember that clean-up is a part of the process! Visit a local pond- remember to bring some breadcrumbs to feed the ducks. Help the kids learn about service by incorporating one or two kid friendly service projects into your schedule. Movie nights wouldn't be complete at our house without Easy Homemade Caramel Popcorn. 
Hogle Zoo rocky Shores exhibit Utah
Photo Credit: SL Tribune

Monthly:


Each month I post a Top 10 Free Events in Utah list! Here's the list of free Utah events for June. Learn about Utah State History and visit some Utah Historical sitesUtah has some amazing waterfalls- take a day trip to see one and stop by a swimming hole to cool off. Go downtown SLC and ride the train around for free. Visit a Utah State Park or even one of Utah's National Parks {Remember, this Saturday, June 9th is a National Park free admission day!! }Take the Utah Road Trip Scavenger Hunt with you and try to cross a few things off the list! Utah's Hogle Zoo just opened their Rocky Shores exhibit- stop by and say hi to the polar bear!

See now? There's no way your kids can claim boredom if you schedule your summer with fun, simple activities like these! Anyone up for a game of Kick the Can?!

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