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Summer Schedules And Activities | Kiwi Crate

Around here we are transitioning from school year schedule to summer schedule.

I like schedules. I liked schedules when we had a two-parent household and I probably like them even more now as a one-parent household. The schedules we have around here aren't super rigid but they do lend structure to our days which is necessary for me working from home and for their overall happiness as well (and as always with everything it's a work in progress and a constant navigation).

I like the kids to have a balance of activities - a bit of screen time, outside time, reading time, quiet play time, craft time (mainly for Anna), workbook time (academic workbooks like math for Simon and letters/numbers for Anna) so we organize our days into chunks of time. On the days when they aren't out of the house they are in and out of the office, sometimes doing projects in here, sometimes outside, sometimes hanging out in other areas of the house.

Next week Simon will be heading to summer school and Anna will start a day camp so that will mix things up again. They will both be out of the house until mid-afternoon. When they come home the plan is for snacks and then quiet time in their rooms. This is something my Mom did for us when we were growing up in the summers as well. Quiet time means you go to your room and you can nap, read, play quietly, etc. for a set amount of time - the key being it's on your own. We often did this on days we had swim meets in the early evening. Our afternoons were spent resting up (I usually read or took a nap) for the evening activities. Around here after they have some quiet time I like to head to the pool if it's nice - that's the plan anyways (like I mentioned above - there's also flexibility involved). This is something new for Anna and she's working on adjusting to not having someone with her to play with all the time.

I also like to have a list of fun things for the kids to do when they start asking (or whining) about what to do next. This was especially true last week when we had a couple of days with rain instead of sun.

One of the things that Anna really likes are the craft kits from Kiwi Crate. I've mentioned them here before (initial review here) and we are still enjoying them.

I save these crates for when we can work on them together because she does need some assistance and because they are an awesome opportunity for us to do something together. She loves opening them up and I love checking out the design and the thought that goes into each one.

One thing I really love is the conversation that comes up. The photos here are from the Making Music kit - we had so much fun talking about music, sharing the tasks/creating the instruments, and then making some music.

She's come back to this kit multiple times to create more music. I love that it's not just a one time thing.

The other recent box that we really enjoyed was the Farmer's Market crate - another one that's getting multiple use and encouraging imaginative and interactive play.

We are looking forward to opening up the next box.

You can order the Making Music kit here or sign up for their monthly kit here.

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17 thoughts

  1. Ruth G says…
    07/05/2013

    Sounds like you've got the right idea! I know that a schedule is really great to help Simon know what to expect each day and that the quiet time really does help avoid the before dinner grumpies (I wonder if it's typical for the youngest to be more extroverted - my eldest needed quiet time to regroup but it was like torture for my extroverted and younger son.) Thanks for sharing! I hope that your summer is filled with fond memories and happiness!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Marlee says…
    07/05/2013

    Hi Ali - Struggling here to get a summer schedule going. Our days really need structure. Such a timely post! Do you have an example or printable of your schedule that I could work off of? That would be so great.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Queen Mary says…
      07/05/2013

      Marlee, Old Mom here. Two thoughts that worked for me/us -- what was your kid(s)' schedule at school? Use that as a prototype, it's familiar to your kid(s). the other thought is to have your kid(s) help make the schedule. This way they have ownership in the schedule and they are more likely to keep it/find it fun to keep it/respect it. My husband starts the school day with morning math (he teaches elementary school), I start the day with the crossword puzzle in the paper, is there something like that your kids start with? What about easy yoga/stretching exercise? Trip to the pool? Home for lunch? Afternoon siestas are always a great idea and lend themselves to conversations about other countries that have siestas and longer lunches and smaller dinners - Europe, South America, oh no! We've accidentally learned something! Oh no! It was fun! Who wants to go to the library and check out a book on Mexico and have tacos for dinner? Should we shred our own lettuce and cheese? Who wants to do that? Let's have quesadillas instead of grilled cheese this year! Hey, sopapillas are fried dough just like doughnuts are!

  3. Christina Kimmell says…
    07/05/2013

    As a work at home mom, I can relate to the summer schedule madness. It seems that once we get the schedule finally down, It's back to school. I think you stated it perfectly that you have to adapt to the new season and love every crazy second of it! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. TracyBzz says…
    07/05/2013

    I had a Bucket of Summer Fun for my kids. I cut squares of cardstock, found a cute bucket and wrote out all kinds of ideas for stuff to do in the summer. When they'd say "I'm bored" or I'd decide that was enough tv then we'd get the bucket out and find something to do. Everything from play with play-doh to bake cookies. Worked quite well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Queen Mary says…
    07/05/2013

    I think most teachers will second the recommendations for summer schedules and structure; most kids do crave structure -- I think they even say that about teenagers pushing the limits -- they still want those limits to be there! Did Simon have quiet time at Anna's age? Maybe Anna could spend some quiet time thinking up ideas for her own craft crates and stuff she'd like to make! Love the ankle bracelet -- she should check out some belly dancing books or videos to go with it!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Jana Oliveira says…
    07/05/2013

    Does Ali or anyone have any suggestion for Autistic kids toddlers this box seems great but for my son non verbal and with some sensory issues craft is not really his best activity.
    The rain days are the worst

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Ali says…
      07/05/2013

      Hi Jana - this would not have been a good match for Simon either when he was younger. He's never had much interest in crafts. What sorts of things does your son like to play currently? With Simon we ended up often just encouraging the things he showed interest in (often cartoon characters, etc) and seeing what we could find to link to that.

    2. Jana Oliveira says…
      07/07/2013

      Constant struggle Ali his play skills are really low he just want to play on iphone the whole day i have to do therapy like play with rewards with him but I'm trying to think out of the box this summer and find something fun he would like
      Thanks

  7. CJ says…
    07/05/2013

    What a lovely post Ali, it's inspirational to hear about all the things you have planned. Summer is such a wonderful time and so many memories are made then I think. I hope you all have a good weekend.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Jane says…
    07/05/2013

    I love the idea of quiet alone time and wish I'd thought of this when my kids were growing up. Would it be too pushy to tell my daughter-in-law about this?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Tracey says…
      07/06/2013

      why don't you just email her this blog post with a simple note: "thought this might interest you" I wouldn't have found that pushy from my MIL.

  9. Tracey says…
    07/06/2013

    I'd love to hear more about how you structure your days, how much time you dedicate to each area.

    I'm rather miffed with the Kiwi Crate folks, how can they use our native bird for their company and yet not actually ship to New Zealand? So disappointed.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Liz says…
    07/06/2013

    Finding the rhythm of summer takes time... but once I do I love having a blend of structure and freedom. We've been trying "family meetings" on Sundays around our firepit... relaxing, talking about what worked the last week and what's coming up the following week... I used to roll my eyes at family meetings, but it's surprisingly nice.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. J3SS1C4 says…
    07/07/2013

    I used to love quiet time and would have quiet time pretty much every day. I still do! I love reading and relaxing on my own for an hour or 2 each day! Goodluck getting into the rhythm of summer! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Jennifer K says…
    07/08/2013

    Love the idea of Kiwi Crate, we need something like that for older kids (including stuff boys would like)! I'm great at guiding my kids in doing crafts, but I'm just not into thinking up the ideas.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Ricka says…
    07/09/2013

    Hi Ali, it sounds good having a summer schedule for the kids. I have summer schedule for my kiddos too. It seems doesn't work for me, and feel very frustrated. I am planning for them doing worksheet after breakfast. After that, they can be playing whatever they want. It seems it is very torture for us and unhappy. I don't want them spending too much time playing all day. What should I do?

    Reply 0 Replies

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