Keeping Kids Busy During Summer Break

Like many other moms, every year I struggle with ways to keep my kids busy during the summer months, while maintaining a somewhat clean house & remnants of my sanity!  Most of the time I don’t have things figured out before summer break begins & my plans of maintaining my home & sanity, & my kids’ education have vanished!

Fortunately, this year, I read this article well before summer began & started making a plan for how to keep the kids occupied & educated while keeping our home clean!  Since this seems to be working pretty well for us, I decided to share it with you guys!

I encourage you to click over & read the article, but for a very quick recap, the author/mom had a list of activities for her kids to do between breakfast & lunch each weekday.  The activities included things to help grow their minds & bodies, as well as household chores. 

After reading the article, thinking about it for a few days, & discussing it with my husband, I came up with a plan.  I took the main idea from the article above and combined it with this daily cleaning calendar and a combination of the summer math & reading programs at my kids’ school (these optional programs were new this year for our school).

So, here’s a breakdown of our summer schedule:

Upon Waking

  • Make Bed
  • Get Dressed
  • Feed Pets
  • Straighten Bedroom & Bathroom (Putting dirty clothes in hamper, hanging towels, wiping toothpaste out of sinks, etc.)
  • Empty Dishwasher- Mom (While getting breakfast ready)
  • Breakfast + Rinse & Load Dishes in Dishwasher (We are trying to keep everyone accountable for their own messes!)
  • Wash Up & Brush Teeth

Next, everyone participates in a daily home chore.  My husband & I realize that our job as parents is not to do everything for our children.  It is to train our children how to become independent, responsible adults.  Therefore, we are requiring them to help with the daily running of our household.  While these responsibilities may seem like a lot on paper, I assure you our children are not child laborers!  These tasks usually only take them 20- 30 minutes per day!


Home Chores

Monday- Bring down laundry baskets; Help sort & stain treat your clothes; Help mom fold one load of laundry; Put away your clean, folded clothes at the end of the day (Mom will fold & put away the rest of the clothes.)

Tuesday- Vacuum Living & Dining Room; Vacuum Study & Family Room (Each child does one set of rooms per week for the month.  Mom will vacuum the upstairs & steps.)

Wednesday- Clean & mop kids’ bathroom (I usually have one child clean the sink & mirrors & one clean the toilet.  To be completely honest, we only clean the shower/tub on the 4th Wednesday because I HATE to clean the tub!  Then, one child sweeps & the other mops.  Mom cleans the other two bathrooms.)

Thursday- Help sweep & mop downstairs while mom prepares the grocery list, shops, & cleans the appliances.  In the evening, the kids collect the garbage & take it to the curb.

Friday- Swing Day (A different chore is done each Friday of the month)
1st- Dust
2nd- Wipe walls, doors, cabinets, & baseboards (as assigned by mom)
3rd- Wash bedding (remove & replace bedding)  Sorry if this grosses you out, but it’s another chore I hate doing & sadly, once a month is much better than it has been lately!
4th- Clean glass (windows, monitors, mirrors- as assigned by mom)
5th- Quarterly Chores (Dust lights, clean carpets/rugs, vacuum upholstery, wash couch cover- These are mostly my chores, but I plan on enlisting the kids help removing the couch cover & vacuuming the upholstery.)

Hopefully, with everyone helping around the house, it will always be pretty clean!  To maintain our home throughout the day, we will all load our dishes in the dishwasher after eating, straighten up before leaving the house (or going outside to play), & clean up as a family after dinner (putting the food away, wiping the table & counters, & sweeping & spot mopping the floors).

Upon completing the daily home task, it is time for the kids to work on their summer reading & math programs.

Kids Summer Activities

Learning Time

Read for 20 minutes (Our nine year old reads independently, while I listen to our six year old.)

Write in journal for 10 minutes (I have told my son that he can write for 10 minutes or 5 sentences, whichever comes first.  Hopefully, this will motivate him to quickly come up with five sentences, since looking at his journal from last year he barely wrote one complete sentence on most days.)

30 minutes of math (For this time, they can play math games on the computer, take online math quizzes through Pearson Success Academy, or work on the unfinished pages from their math workbooks from school.)

Depending on when the kids wake up & how motivated they are, all of these tasks only take up about two hours of our day. 

Screen Time

If our kids had the option, they would watch TV & play video games all day long!  Therefore, we have chosen to limit the amount of screen time our kids get each week to two hours.  (Yes, that is two hours per WEEK!)  We do not count special family movie nights or math computer time as part of their two hours.  We also allow them to earn 10 minutes of extra screen time for every 30 minutes they work on a skill (examples include reading, practicing a sport, practice riding a bike with no training wheels, helping make dinner, etc.).  This has really motivated our son to read more & he has gone a couple of weeks having nearly five hours of screen time from practicing tennis, basketball, & reading!

Keeping Track of Screen Time 

We keep track of the kids’ screen time using this Taylor brand timer I bought in the cooking section from Wal-Mart for about $10.  It is pretty easy to use & has two separate timer functions.  We use the top one for Zeke & the bottom one for Elie.  Every Sunday, we simply add two hours onto the time they have remaining on their timer.  Then, whenever they want to use their screen time, they just hit the button for their timer & press start & stop it when they are finished.  Whenever they earn extra time, we have them bring us the timer & we add it immediately.  This timer is simple to use & helps ensure the kids stay within their screen time limits.  (FYI:  Wal-Mart also sells timers with four timer functions, but I didn't feel that one was necessary for our family!)

Fun Time

We are trying to do something fun several times a week.  To keep track of the fun things we want to do & the fun things we have done, I listed them on our chalkboard wall:

Summer Fun List

We are quickly working our way through the list!

So, there you have it!  My plan to maintain our home, education, & sanity throughout the summer!  Do you come up with a schedule for the summer months or do you just take it one day at a time?  I’d love to hear your thoughts & ideas!


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