After mentioning our summer binder on face book I had many people request more information. I hope this will answer your questions. I hope you will create a binder for your children this summer and have the best summer ever!
When I look at the life of our children and I break it into years it seems so short to say I will only have 16 summers with them until they are getting jobs and taking on "adult" responsibilities. When I look at it that way it seems so short. With that in mind, I plan for our boys to enjoy the summer and when its time to go back to school, I am the one sad. I love having the kids home and with just a little planning, you can enjoy it too. So, get a cup of coffee and let's plan to have the best summer vacation ever!
Supplies Needed: 1" 3 Ring Binder, Hole Punch, Dividers with Pockets Labled Week 1-4, Blank Paper, Pen and a Good Attitued!
The first thing in our binder is a weekly calendar. I like to print one week at a time since we plan our activities by the week. I print out enough calendars to last the whole summer, hole punch and put into your binder. Once printed write all the appointments, commitments, vacation, VBS that you already have committed to this summer. Once that is filled out then have a family planning meeting. This is the boys favorite part. I get a special drink, we sit around the table and I simply ask what they would like to do this summer. On a blank piece of paper we start writing everything they would like to do. Many of our activities are free or low cost but we do throw in few things like water park and maybe a mini trip, adjust it for your budget. After we have planned that list I fill in one or two activities a week on our calendar. I keep their list in the back of the binder to use for filler the next week. Another idea is to cut the activities into strips, put in a hat and pull out the activity you are going to do for the week. Since we have boys they like the same thing, but if we had a girl in the mix I would probably do the hat idea. Once we have planned our activites for the week we then go on a coupon hunt! Yep, coupons! If we have an activity where we will be out for lunch then we look for coupons for lunch or if we take a lunch we look of a dessert coupon like BOGO Free on an ice cream or other dessert. When we get our coupons they go in the divider pocket for that week. Coupons can be used for the activity too! We get our bowling coupons every week, we love those! You can also go to your local visitor center and get coupons for just about any activity you plan. If you can't find one, call the place you are wanting to visit and see if they offer any. Our water park has BOGO Free days and half price if you come after a certain time. If you have older children have them help find a good deal or have them make the phone calls for you. Praise them when they get the information needed.
The next list in our binder is a weekly chore chart. We had a family meeting talking about how we all needed to work together at home. My husband and I came up with a personalized chore list that they needed to do each day (keep in mind, they are kids, don't make it so long they are working 8 hours a day). I do not use this as a time to say, "If you don't get your chores done then no activities!" Let's face it, they are kids and they are learning. If they had as much character as you then there would be no need for training. There are going to be days when teeth don't get brushed or the bed is not made and guess what, its okay! The world will not shut down! Kids respond so much better to praise then they do punishment. If you are positive about it and help guide them to get it done then they will be positive too and it makes for a much better day. I praise them all the time when I look at the list and its all marked off. If I notice they have not started then I just say something like, "How is the list coming along today?" or I will say, "Boys, in 10 minutes we are going to get started on our list." I am not yelling nor threatening. After all, what is that accomplishing but a negative attitude in the home, then every one feel the stress of Mom is MAD!!! Who is the winner there? I want to teach them responsibility and I do not want to be the nagging woman in their life. Now, we have the charts and they know what is expected each day. On the list are a few things that need to be accomplished weekly like cleaning the bathroom, bathing the dog, those need to be accomplished by Thursday so we can keep Friday's open to run errands, go to the thrift store or do any make up work. If they see what you expect and you are positive about it, they will enjoy getting it done. Keep a positive attitued and remember, you are training and they are learning.
This year we started cooking class on Monday (that is Monday's when we are not busy with other activitis). I gave the boys cookbooks with picutes and had them pick out a recipe. Our oldest cooks the main meal and our youngest makes a dessert and drink. They are responsible for choosing a recipe, making out the menu, creating a grocery list, looking for coupons, going shopping with Mom to look for the best deal, putting away the food, preparing the meal and then clean up. We do this over a few days. Once they have picked their recipe we make a copy of it and put it in out binder along with the menu and grocery list. We do this to show them its important to plan ahead so you have everything you need. It has turned into a fun activity. We make the dessert in the morning so we are not all in the kitchen in the evening. Kyle has learned its easier to fix the meal in sections like getting as much of the menu done in the morning so when its getting dinner time a lot of the prep is already done. We have really enjoyed what they have cooked and they are having fun doing it! Again, its an activity where you have to keep yourself in check and remember you are teaching and they are learning.