The Dudes have been out of school for a full week and I am proud to sat that we are officially beating each other silly enjoying summer!
We’ve been swimming and laking and actively avoiding soap and watching a butt load of TV um, stuff with abandon.
But, with my everlasting need to have some semblance of control around here I’ve decided that it is now the time to enact Operation Don’t Go Nuts On Your Kids This Summer: Phase One (please note, should phase one fail, there is no phase two in existence because probably you will be dead).
A few weeks ago I spent a little time hiding in my bath tub with my cupcakes and my calendar coming up with a theoretically fail proof, boredom busting, Dude-tivities list of things we can, should, and most definitely will do this summer so no one gets deported to Mimi’s house indefinitely.
In previous summers, my plan, which consisted of having no plan, was stupid.
Sure, waking up whenever we wanted to lay in our jammies eating cookie dough all day with no agenda, obligations, or regard for personal hygiene sounded good.
But, in reality, the last time that actually worked was the summer following my first year of teaching before I actually had children. I was insanely pregnant with #1 and I spent every day laying, partially naked on the floor in my apartment with a bucket of ice cream, trying to keep from bursting into flames from the heat.
Those days? Are over (which is both a good and a bad thing all at the same time).
Kids crave order. I require it. And without it all four of us just went all bat-crap crazy up in here. We spent every day in ratty jammie pants and stained t-shirts trying not to scream each other out while chocolate hoarding in separate corners of the house.
Okay, so maybe I was the only one chocolate hoarding or trying not to scream.
Point is, this methodless method? Fail.
This summer, will be less fail-y and more awesome-ish. I swear it.
Because we’ve got a plan!
Maybe not a full on, down to the minute, no room for blowing off a day and hitting the pool type plan. But some good ideas for things to do when the going gets rough and The Dudes get buck!
1. Hit the pool.
2. Run through the sprinklers.
3. Have a summer reading party. We are having ours courtesy of PBS and iVillage to remind our little homies that summer reading is what’s up. You can have one too?! Just invite a few *pals over, read a story or two, do a related craft, eat some inspired snacks, and make a morning of it. Check out iVillage’s Summer Reading Challenge for some cool printables and fun book related party ideas!
4. Build a sand castle.
5. Wear whatever they want.
6. Have a picnic. Let them make their own sandwiches for the event and maybe even invite a friend or two to enjoy it with them. They don’t even have to leave the yard to make this awesome.
7. Plant a tree. Or a potted plant. Or a flower. Make it extra special by painting the pot and giving it to someone you love.
8. Get in the kitchen. We LOVE brushing up on our cooking skills in the summer. We even assign each of the Dudes a week night to help with dinner, from planning to presentation.
9. Hit the library.
10. Put on a show. This is something I used to LOVE doing as a kid. I’m sure my little brother was less enthusiastic about participating in my shoddy musical productions, but whatevs. So bust out some costumes, or help the kids make sock puppets, and let them work together to put on a theatrical production you will be able to watch on video and laugh at them wholeheartedly with their spouses in the future!
11. Build something. A fort. Or a club house. Or paper airplanes. Or a Lego castle that will be left on the floor like an evil, midnight boobie trap waiting to sabotage grown up feet. The Dudes love building things that they can use all day. And I love the part where it actually takes them ALL day.
12. Have a lemonade stand. Or a popsicle stand. Or both. #3 came up with this idea the last week of school and it was a huge hit in our hood (and in his wallet, he made $11 on his first stand!). He has a standing um, stand, every Wednesday for the rest of the summer and kids come from all over to see what he’s selling each week!
13. Become an Olympian. It’s a Summer Olympics summer and The Dudes are pumped about it. To celebrate we’re building an obstacle course and inviting friends over to participate in The Dudes Games. We’re even making our own medals to hand out to the winners!
14. See a movie. Lots of cities offer free summer movies during the week for kids to enjoy. Movie buffs that we are, we try to see at least one major flick each month during the summer break. And, we rent movies from Blockbuster.com to keep us busy on rain out days too.
15. Dance in the rain.
16. Learn a new game. You’d be surprised how many kids don’t even know what tether ball is these days. And that, if you don’t duck or swing when the ball comes back around, it could quite easily knock your block off! Want to teach your youngster an old school game? Here’s a fun list of classic playground games!
17. Do some science. Check out some kid approved experiments on PBS Zoom.
18. Save the Earth. The Dudes are saving trees (they had a really traumatic tree felling experience this spring where a number of the trees in our yard were removed for no good reason by The Man) Lorax style. #3 committed to saving some cash from his weekly lemonade stand to help buy new trees for our yard.
19. Go on a bug hunt.
20. Do something different. We’ve already gone to a monster truck show and to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage at the National Theatre. We may not be able to head to Tahiti this summer, but we can try what our own city has to offer instead!
21. Take an educational tour. Of a factory, or a ballpark, or a fire house, or a grocery store even. Just because it’s summer time doesn’t mean an educational field trip can’t be on the agenda! We went to the UTZ factory last week and learned all about the awesomeness behind one of America’s favorite snack brands!
22. Write letters. Or make hand made cards and send them to family members the good old fashioned way.
23. Make a scrapbook. Of all of the fun things they do and see this summer. It will be fun to share next year at school!
24. Get crafty. I keep a big box of craft supplies in the playroom for The Dudes to bust open when I just can’t take their crazy anymore they need some new direction. I stock it with these $1 store craft kits and glue dots so they can make a project that won’t break the bank, make a mess, or requirement input at all.
25. Have fun. Plan on it and it will be way more likely to happen. I’ve decided to ditch the whole summer-is-the-worst-time-ever attitude and focus on the awesome. Positive thinking yields positive outcomes or something, right?!