Summer 2020: A Resource Guide (with printables!)

May 26, 2020

I look forward to putting together my summer guide for free and frugal things to do as a family every year for you guys. Our guide for 2020 is going to be filled with wonderful things to do at home together. I want you all to stay safe and healthy, practice social distancing, and make memories this summer.

We are approaching the end of our school year, and I’m working to get organized for a productive and fun summer at my house. Creating and printing simple visual reminders for the kids. This summer, I have four boys under seven in my care! So, maintaining some routine and order will give us a little more peace. Now, with that said, I do believe kids need the creative space to get bored. Some of my favorite childhood games and memories were born from those moments I got so bored, I had to use my imagination. I want my kids to enjoy these simply and carefree summers as best they can. So, no. You won’t find a color coded chart here, but you will find we have a simple routine so everyone in the family knows the expectations! Summers are especially more meaningful to us now that the kids are primarily in school full time. School seems to start earlier and earlier, and babies don’t keep. So, I pray this guide would help you as you navigate summer during this unprecedented time.

Start with a “summer planning meeting”— We did this just over breakfast with a scrap piece of paper. I like to explain that we are gearing up for summer and we want to make it special. Special means, we will continue to work on chores as a family so we can have more time time for fun together. Then, we go around and everyone names a couple things they’d like to do. This is a really good time to outline expectations, bedtimes, wake up times, chores, etc. PS- I also think summer is a fabulous time for habit training.

Once you’ve put together a list of things you’d like to achieve together as a family on paper, start looking at what you need to have ready proactively for the summer. Example here– I cleared off a space in my kitchen for healthy snacks. This is also the central location (by the front door) for water bottles. I want them eating healthy and drinking lots of water! (without asking me for a snack every 5 minutes, because I also want to enjoy my summer!) I also cleaned out our “homework” cart and converted it into what my friend Mrs. Bishop calls a snacktivity cart. I store workbooks and craft supplies on the top shelf and then below it are more healthy (not fruit) snack options to enjoy while you do your summer workbook or craft time. Since this summer will be largely home based, I made a couple purchases of books and summer workbooks on Amazon. I bought a couple of these, but its primarily a round up of favorite reads.

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(I also like to place some pretty book filled baskets around the house, when the kids need a minute to cool down they can grab one and read.)

This year, knowing we will be home so much I took it a step further and printed out a lunch menu to post on the fridge. We are keeping meals superrrrrr simple and a little fun. I discovered last summer that I don’t really plan a lunch menu and that got tricky last year so I started doing it. The kids really enjoyed being able to see what we were having. As you can see, it’s nothing fancy but it helps with expectations!

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I also put together a chore list: This will pretty much change for us each week, because we might tackle some bigger projects like deep cleaning the grill one week, but not need that again for a little while. Saturday morning is our family deep cleaning time, and those jobs rotate on the spot. Now, everyday chores for kids include: putting away laundry, unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the table at meal times, its nothing crazy but just laying that foundation for adulthood! So, like I said before, summer leaves a lot of time for habit training so if you want to get the kids more involved in chores etc, this a fabulous time to work with them on that!

Once logistics are set into place, I try to start scheduling out some fun. I’ve done my best to focus on things you can do safely, but I realize every state and every family are different. So, skip what doesn’t work for you!

1) Sign up for the FREE LEGO Life Magazine. My boys enjoy every issue and they always have great suggestions for LEGO builds. Bonus points- it comes straight to your door.

2) Anyone else have HUGE Dog Man fans in your house? Sign your kids for the Books-A-Million summer reading program and your kids earn a free Dog Man hat, while supplies last.

3) Sign your kids for Barnes & Noble Reading Program.

4) Visit the beach or lake (at a safe distance, of course!)

5) Adding this because I know some people are finding their libraries are reopening. Find out if your local library is offering pick up services.

6) Plan an outdoor movie night– We are going to get one of those inexpensive projectors to use in our backyard! I’ve been talking about doing this since we moved in, but the time has finally come.

7) See if any of your local churches are offering VBS in a bag this year. I found a great local church here providing everything you need for VBS at home.

8) This is a wonderful time to try some new recipes and get the kids in the kitchen. One of my sons has discovered a huge passion for cooking and baking during quarantine.

9) Roast hot dogs and make s’mores in the backyard. Bonus points if you serve it with a glass bottle of Coca-Cola. I saw a cute suggestion in the June edition of Southern Living, they suggested doing a “state fair” night in the backyard. Make corn dogs and funnel cakes (I saw some funnel cake mix at Aldi! So, we will definitely be doing this.

10) Put together a basket of outdoor activities-– Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, small balls, water balloons, etc. I’m going to put together something like this and leave in the sun room. I want the kids to have plenty of things to just grab and go play.

11) If you have one near you, check out an U-Pick farm. We try to read a ton about farm life and then visit one every summer. I admit this was a little easier when we lived in Oregon, but we love to make a pie or cobbler from our labor afterward.

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12) Watch out to see if Chick Fil A will still be offering their customer appreciation day to get free CFA.

13) For a limited time, Tropical Smoothie is offering Free Smoothies. I picked mine up this morning. Just sign up with this link.

14) Pile up in the car and go get ice cream and have a trunk picnic! We love doing this at Sonic every summer.

15) Listen to audiobooks

16) Make play dough together and play with it afterward. My kids always enjoyed adding scents to their play dough when they were younger.

17) Print some coloring sheets from Pinterest, turn on an audiobook and just color together. Every time I color with my kids, I remember how much I love it.

Guys, bookmark this page! I will be updating any time I can!

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This Messy Season is a blog serving families through practical tips for nurturing their families, emphasizing quality time and adventure. Helping young families bloom where they're planted, embrace their mess, and thrive through a series of honest, blog posts highlighting realistic travel tips, favorite products that simplify the work load of families, and family entertainment.