How parents can plan a fun-filled summer for children

I'm not a parent that plans out every minute of every day. However, I do like to have plenty of options in the summer. Since the weather is often over 90 degrees, I have to find indoor or water activities to keep the kids occupied. Being organized and knowing my options helps those hot days fly by. Here are some of the ways I am planning a fun-filled summer for my children.

Getting Organized

There are many different ways to organize your summer. You can use a big wipe-off calendar, a printable form or an online version. First, I write down all of the lessons or activities we do on a weekly basis. Then, in a different color, I might write down free community events, movie premieres, out of town trips and story times at various venues. You can even write down great meal ideas like mini-hamburger, kebob or pizza night. Every summer, we try to plan a trip. Depending on our finances, we may go camping or stay at the beach. We also plan at least one trip to see family in San Diego.

Looking at Options

While I know there will be some days when we simply hang out at home or go swimming, I like to know what my options are. Thus, I look at the library calendar and our local community events. I look to see when the pool and aquatic centers are open. I write down special events at the zoo and shopping mall. It's good to have plenty ideas to give children.

Saving Money

If you get organized early, you can save yourself some money. Look at online hotel sites for deals. Go to websites and jot down the days when museums have free admission days. Another good idea is to decide if you want to get a zoo or water park pass. Passes are a good way to spend money once and then have fun all summer long. Indeed, planning ahead can save you money.

Being Creative

Along with writing down specific events, you can also gather with your family and brainstorm some amusing activity ideas. You might ask each child if there is somewhere, within reason, they want to go. Then, think up some general activities like having a water balloon toss, a lemonade stand or going on a morning hike.

Being Flexible

Often times, I will look at the 10-day weather forecast. Although it's not completely accurate, I can get an idea of what the weather will be like. Then, I might choose a beach or pool outing for the hottest days. Of course, I save some DVDs for those "under the weather" or "everyone's tired days. "

Have a great summer!

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