Do other moms spend a lot of time planning their kids' summer activities? Are there any good online planning tools that we can use?

Jessica - posted on 04/05/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




It feels there is so much information out there for all the different summer activities around our neighborhood ranging from acedemic, sports, camps, music, leadership, community service, volunteer work, etc. In order to keep my children busy, active and learning, there is so much to plan, especially in coordinating their schedules and managing the logistics. I am wondering how other moms plan for their kids. Is there any smart tools out there for this purpose? I do not want my children to stay at home, inactive and waste their summer time playing around.


Guest - posted on 04/05/2014




I used to be a "Plan every moment" kind of mom. I've only got one kid, so it's pretty easy for me, and I'll explain how I do it below, but first, I have to tell you that it is VERY important that children have some free time to just play around. That free play helps develop their creativity and problem solving skills. It is also important for establishing synapses that cement long term memories essential to learning and to developing more complex thought processes. Don't plan every moment. It is wonderful to expose them to new ideas and experiences, just make sure there is some free time in there as well.

So this is how I plan my son's summers.
Our city has a summer educational fair every spring--different camps and summer programs set up booths to give out information about their programs and recruit new clients. I go to the fair and collect information on anything that seems interesting to my kid. Most programs are one or two weeks, there are a few weekend things.
When I get home, I assign each week of summer vacation a color, and weekends get all get the same color (this just helps me because I'm a very visual person and dates all just run together in my head, but colors stay separate). I then enter each summer program into a spreadsheet along with color dots indicating the weeks they are available. I then create a second, 4 column spreadsheet with a row for each week. Each row is highlighted with the corresponding color. The first column lists the weeks of Summer by date, the 2nd column lists the program name and location, the 3rd column lists the cost, and the 4th is a brief description.
I open both spreadsheets at once and simply populate the second spreadsheet with information from the first. The colors help me easily see which programs overlap, and when to enroll for each one to avoid conflict and make sure all weeks are filled. The whole "at home" process only takes about an hour. We do not get to do everything, but having everything together makes it easy to pick out the activities I think my son will benefit the most from.

Like I said, I used to plan an activity for every week we were not traveling, but now I plan a week of free time after each summer program and before and after any traveling. I have found that with the free time in between, my son absorbs much more from the summer programs long term, and he is more relaxed and amicable during travel.


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Jodi - posted on 04/05/2014




Why do people think that children need their entire summer planned for them? Have you heard of creative and free play? I cannot believe you consider playing around a waste of summer time!! When we were kids, that's what we did!! It is "down time" for kids. All of the rest of their year is organised for them, on a schedule. Just let them be kids!!! Take it day by day and back off in my opinion.

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