Every summer from the time my kids were four and five years old (they’re only 18 months apart) until they were about eleven and twelve, I created theme weeks for each week of summer vacation. I called it Camp KeepAKidBusy. It was a way to give us a little bit of structure, some educational aspects, and keep us busy throughout the summer.
I would pick topics like weather, money, food, science, and animals and then we would build in activities during the week that would support these topics. We had a lot of fun visiting zoos, farms, science museums, and — my favorite — a national weather service station!
Find a simple sample of one of our weeks below. The theme for the week is Food.
|Plan a menu||Visit a Farmers Market / Farm||Field Trip –
|Make a grocery list||Grocery shop from kids’ list||Library: whatever books they want, in addition to books with the theme (cookbooks/ food books)||Watermelon seed spitting contest||Older Kids- Iron Chef event or younger kids baking activity|
|Reading time||Pool||Reading Time||Pool||Art Project:
Use food dyes to create painting
|Make dinner from kids’ plan|
The standard activities that stayed the same each week are in black, and the themed activities are in blue. Creating structure and simple activities can help your summer be fun and frugal!
You can find lots of fun places to get ideas!
Pinterest, for example, is a fantastic source for simple science experiments, art projects, and fun activities. In addition, I highly recommend investing in at least one membership to a local children’s museum or hands-on science museum. We have invested in a few memberships for our family at the local zoo, children’s museums, and science museums in the past. We used them frequently and they were well worth the investment. Even now our 17 year old and 15 year old still love to visit hands-on science museums.
The best part of a membership is that you can use it frequently and feel comfortable leaving after only an hour, knowing you can come back again without paying another entrance fee.
What do you do to keep your summer fun, frugal, and sane?