Summer Time Activities for Kids (and Moms!): The Summer before Kinder
Happy summer friends! Almost everyone I know is on summer break now. For those of you still teaching or working through your kid's summer vacations-I will add you to my prayer list!
Our summer got started abnormally. This is my first year as a stay-at-home mom, after teaching for 5 years. No late nights working on end-of-the-year reports. No packing up my classroom. No definitive LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!
In fact, my husband and I took an early 10-year anniversary trip (WITHOUT KIDS!) to Europe. We left at the end of May, hoping to beat peak traveling times and returned one week into June. The week before we left, I came to the realization that our homeschool preschool year would be done and that when I returned, it would be summer "break." (I use quotations because when you have kids at home, the word "break" doesn't hold value).
I fully intend to take a break from homeschool preschool. We loved our first year together and made some great memories. While I normally like to keep our routine the same for all of our sanity, this time is different. This summer is special.
It's the summer before kindergarten for my firstborn.
It's 10% exciting, 30% surreal, and 60% frightening.
All the mommy emotions are taking over my decision making for this summer and I'm giving him 2.5 months to be little and enjoy childhood. My semi-strict screen limitations are widening for extra cuddles on the couch. The cleaning schedule is getting pushed aside for more time outside of the house. Educational goals, while still being practiced, are not our focus this summer.
As an educator, I sent home practice tips and hands-on activities for kids to do with their families, knowing that most of it would go unseen. You never want your students to lose what they have gained due to inactivity. So, we will continue to do engaging activities to repeat what we have learned the past year.
Academically, Mr. 5 knows what he "needs to know" before kinder. I'm not as worried about that as I am about watching his childhood go by too quickly. (I should add that I think any child, regardless of academic standing, deserves to enjoy being a kid before going off to school).
Unlike most "summer before kinder" lists, ours is going to be about enjoying the time we have together and letting him be little.
1. Stay up late
2. Build a fort
3. Ride a rollercoaster
4. Have a sleepover (with siblings/parents)
5. Use telescope to find stars/planets
6. Go fishing
7. Take a family vacation
8. Drive-in movie
9. Play in the rain
10. Eat ice cream before dinner!
Obviously, these won't be daily activities or habits, but ice cream before dinner may just make us all enjoy life more. There are more possibilities but I don't want to break any promises, so I'm sticking with what I can make happen.
I'll share more ideas as they happen naturally through following his childish imagination and desires. Be sure to follow along on Instagram or Facebook! But in the meantime, we will stick to a daily theme to entertain us and get us to the end of the day with some sanity left. There are many versions of these on Pinterest and I did my best to find things that worked for my family. If it works for you too, download a free copy, screenshot it, or pin it on Pinterest to help get you through early mornings and short naps.
Now, wait just a minute! This is all fun and dandy until they're asking to make slime for the 8th time. We all know kids don't just take our summer bingo boards and 100 item bucket lists and entertain themselves. It still takes buying groceries and supplies, washing the endless laundry, and driving them to and from places. So momma, here's a summer schedule for you too!
You can Marie Kondo your house or you can just binge watch Marie Kondo tidy up other people’s homes. Either way, take time to treat yourself to things you want to do, too! The best way to make sure your kids have a memorable summer is for you to be in a happy memory-making mood.