Organizing Our Summer: Brainstorming Ideas {Free Printable} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Organizing Our Summer: Brainstorming Ideas {Free Printable}

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Organizing Our Summer: Brainstorming Ideas {Free Printable}

It's summer!  Are you organized?  Some of you have just started your summer vacation and some have been at it for over a month now.  Either way, if you need some tips for organizing your summer, you've come to the right place!

Yesterday was our first "official" day of summer holidays.  My kids were in school until Friday, and Monday was Canada Day so my hubby was home.  So the kids and I are just kicking off our summer.  And, of course, I have to organize it :)

Last summer

If you remember my Organizing Our Summer post from last year, I tried to balance my natural inclination to schedule every minute with my desire to keep things simple.  {I even through in a video of Danny Tanner and his "Clipboard of Fun" from an old Full House episode - check it out!}

It was a great summer and we had a really good time together.  But we defaulted to screen time much more than I would have liked.  Lately though, we've been limiting our screen time and it has made a huge difference in how well the kids behave.

This summer

This summer, I really want to make sure we have lots going on so I can keep screen time to a reasonable amount.  {Not just the kids... for me too :) }

And I want our summer to be filled with lots of things that the kids really want to do.  Last year I asked the kids to write me a list in their summer journals of things they'd like to do.  They each wrote a few things, but they had a hard time coming up with ideas {even though I knew they had lots!}.

Brainstorming ideas

I wanted to give them a little more help this year to get more ideas out of those pretty little heads.  I created a printable called "This Summer I'd Like To" and I gave them 6 categories to think about:  Go Here, Play This, Do This, Learn This, Make This, and See This.  {Stay tuned... you can download a copy yourself later in the post!}

On Friday, after I picked the kids up from their last day of school, I took them to Dairy Queen for an Orange Julius smoothie (we have a bunch of free coupons from cereal boxes and they've been wanting to try them out, so they were super excited to kick off our summer this way).

I brought along the brainstorming sheets and gave them some time to write down all their ideas while they drank their smoothies.  I wanted our brainstorming session to be at a time they would be in a good mood and had few distractions, so they'd really put some effort into it.

They really had fun with these sheets!  My daughter liked the pictures at the top and drew some pictures of her own.  {Sorry, no pic of them at DQ... forgot to take the camera along!}

After awhile they were getting cold so we finished the lists up at home... where thankfully I had my camera :)

The results

I love the ideas they came up with!  They both included playing with each other on their lists {doesn't that just make a parent's heart melt?!}.  In fact, my daughter made a point of mentioning my son in each category.

The kids read a summer magazine the night before that talked about watching the sun rise, so that made both their lists {I think we'll wait until later in the summer for that one so we don't have to get up quite so early!}.

And I love that they included other outdoor things like going to parks, splash pads, and the beach.  Oh and camping... one of MY favourite things about summer :)

Some typical places to go made the list... VBS, a Jays game, and the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).  And my son included a few surprises... laser tag, the Ontario Science Centre, and the gardens at Casa Loma.

Having the printable really helped!

Having the various categories helped them widen their thinking.  "Make this" led to ideas like baking and crafts. I don't think they would have mentioned those on their own, and if I'd suggested them at a time they wanted screen time, they wouldn't have wanted to do them.  But now it's on their lists so I can build it into our summer plans!

And both had no trouble listing things they wanted to learn this summer {again made my heart go pitter patter!}.  My son wants to learn cursive writing and typing with all his fingers.  My daughter wants to learn to tie her shoes.  And both want to read and write through the summer and keep their math facts up {the fact that those things were drilled home on the last day of school probably helped!}.

They loved the process of listing things they want to do this summer.  I made no promises that we would do everything they listed.  But, having all these ideas will help us fill our time without resorting to screens {although playing Wii was also on my son's list!}.

Your turn :)

Would you like a simple way to generate ideas your kids would like to do this summer?  Then here's a copy of the printable for you!

If your summer's going along just fine, you could pin this for next year or share it with a friend :)

What's next?

Stay tuned to see what I do with these ideas!  Over the next week I'll be sharing our daily summer routine, our cleaning schedule {yep... it's not all fun stuff LOL!}, and how I've organized some of our other activities for this summer.

How do you come up with summer ideas for your kids?  How much screen time do you allow your kids in the summer?  Do you have a summer routine?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Happy organizing!

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Check out all my summer posts here!