Tips and Tricks Tuesday- Your kids are home for summer-eeek!

We are officially done with school!  WooHoo!  Celebrate good times! EEEK!  What are we going to do this summer?  I know there's a lot of excitement for this time of year, but in a week or so, after you've watched every movie in the house, you're going to be wondering, "what else can we do?"  You only have 18 summers with your kids, so make them memorable, make them fun, make them AWESOME!

Summer boredom is common for every age group, from toddlers-teens, but  I want to give you a few ideas to keep those boredom blues away.

1.  The most important thing you can do right now is get out your calendar and start planning.  You have a plan to make this a great summer, one that the kids will be talking about and missing when they go back to school; but if you fail to plan then you really plan to fail. 

2.  Do some internet searching and find out what's FREE in your area during the summer.  Most cities have free days for their museums, gardens, and tours.  Don't stop there.  Movie theaters also have special $1 day movies, and Home Depot and Lowes have free kid's workshops on Saturday. 
I live in the Denver area and here's our city's Free days.  Fill your calendar up with as many of these free activities as possible, and go twice if it's fun all around the first time!

3.  If your kids are old enough, have a brain storming session.  Ask them what they'd like to do this summer, with the disclaimer that the family may not do everything on the list.  You may be surprised by what they come up with for activities.  Having the kids add to your summer schedule just tells them their ideas are important too.  They love that!

4.  Make your schedule and "display" it in a public place so the kids can see and look forward to the next day's activity.  I know it's summer and we all want to be free, but I've found that a basic schedule helps keep us moving and away from the TV.  Mondays might be craft day; Wednesday will be brain day meaning library, reading, or a science experiment; Fun Friday means an outing, etc. 
 It looks a little like this one I made last year, and it helps to set a loose but purposeful schedule.

5. Make an I'm Bored jar or box. When you have some down time, and we will have those times, have the kids pick an activity from the jar.  Whatever is on the paper they pull out, they get to do. If you need ideas for what to put in the jar, I have lists and lists I found all over the internet.  You can find many of them on my pinterest page and they cover several age groups.  My kids are a little older so we skip some things and look forward to others.  Make them age appropriate and activities they will enjoy doing.

6.  Put a summer budget together.  Everything I've talked about so far is for FREE activities, but the truth is we will have days when admission fees and ice cream money is necessary.  To make this summer great for mom/dad too, put your budget together now.  If you only want to spend so much a week, take it out in cash and use it throughout the week.  When it's gone for the week, go back to your free activities.

Hope you all have an AWESOME summer with your kiddoes!  Yesterday, we took a long walk with the dog on a nearby trail.  They had skateboards and roller blades and it was nice and FREE!  Today, we're heading over to a mall where we'll most likely have to stop and get an ice cream cone.