SHOUT OUT to all you gorgeous, wonderful, amazing Mommas!!!
The time is near, friends.
That’s right. The day is coming when school is over for 3 months, toddlers are running amuck and we won’t give a care about the new Unicorn drink at Starbucks anymore because we will all be driving our Hot Mess Expresses all over town to the [insert anywhere in the world that will entertain children] and back 1,478 times a week…
And if you’re anything like me, you’re kinda, not-so-secretly freaking out about it.
Our babies are our whole entire world. They are, promise. But, there’s something about spending 24/7/365 staring into one another’s eyes that would make even sweet baby Jesus a little unnerved. Who’s gonna holler AMEN for me this mornin’?!?
So, I have decided (on behalf of all of us) that we will not take this invasion of toddler tyranny sitting down. We refuse to be unprepared. We will get up off the couch, shed our mermaid blankets, toss our coffee mugs in the sink and take back our homes. One. Momma. At. A. Time.
In my weekly love letter to you beautiful ladies, here are 15 Ideas for Surviving Summer with Sanity…
(1) Put Together a Family Time Capsule – We are loving this idea at our house! Fill a shoe box with a few toys, photos, and other memorabilia of whatever is going on currently with your family. [We have decided to write little notes about what is going on with our family as we are making each capsule.] Then, hide it in your basement closet and return to it years down the road, peek inside and relive the memories. This is such a great sentimental craft, but it is also an awesome way to eat through 4 hours of a day without even realizing it! Cabin fever be gone!
(2) Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Turns out you can set up a scavenger hunt in under 10 minutes. Simply select 5-10 items to hide, jot down quick clues and set out on the adventure to find them! Pro Tip: Utilize your elf-on-the-shelf knowledge to help make your hunt even more fun!
(3) Put on a Family Talent Show – Get the family together in the den, turn off the TV and let each family member have their own 15 minutes of fame!
(4) Build a Fort and Watch Movies From Inside – this is an all-time favorite! My brother and I used to build forts as kids and I still remember those times as some of my most favorite memories of childhood. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that will stick in your kids’ minds forever!
(5) Host a Cookie / Cake Decorating Party – The kiddos don’t have to wait ‘til Christmas to get creative in the dessert decoration game…turns out they love smothering confections with icing and sprinkles all. year. long…
(6) Recreational Bath Time – If you can’t get in an actual pool, let the kids splash around in the tub. Since bathtime is focused on cleanliness, let this time be all about the fun! Consider pouring in just a bit of bubble bath to take the fun factor up even more notches! Plus, don’t forget to capture all those shampoo mohawk hair moments on the camera to laugh at for years to come!
(7) Storytelling Session – Encourage your kiddos to explore their imagination! Consider giving them a character, a scene and a plot. Then, let them fill in the rest of the story.
(8) Make a Homemade Pizza – If you have time to plan ahead, make sure to stock your fridge with pizza ingredients for a super fun treat with your kids. Allow them to pick their toppings, assemble them and watch as you pop it in the oven! Fun fact: kids are much more likely to eat all of their meal if they took part in the prep. Just like with adults, there is something “cool” about feeling like you cooked a great meal!
(9) Have a Dance Party – There is nothing that relieves stress faster and more effectively than turning up some music and just bustin’ a move …. or 10. Get the kids involved. Let them pick the music and consider even throwing together a quick routine! P.S. Our family fave is “Some Nights” by Fun. (don’t forget the period… 😉 )
(10) Put on a Fashion Show – Encourage the kids to dig in their dress up baskets and strut their stuff! Make it fun by giving out prizes for “best smile,” “best outfit,” “best walk,” etc.
(11) Host a Family Room Camp Out – Gather sleeping bags, pillows and lots of blankets to form a campsite in your den. Snuggle up and tell stories until time to go to sleep.
(12) Have a Puzzle / Game Championship – Put out a bunch of puzzles and games for the children to select from. For extra fun, keep score as you compete as a family!
(13) Plan Some Inexpensive Day Trips – No matter where you live, there is bound to be a park, museum, attraction, zoo, aquarium, etc. that would provide hours of enjoyment! Pack a picnic lunch and set out on a family adventure.
You don’t have to spend a bunch of money. If you live in a bigger city, you could even pack two attractions in for one day. OR spread them out over the summer.
The key to remember: Summer is a marathon, not a sprint! Don’t feel like you have to wear the hat of a Professional Cruise Director day in and day out. Spread the activities out over the summer and give yourself a break. I typically plan one day trip, one in-house family activity and several crafts / activities for each week. It makes me so much less stressed and there’s something about an agenda that makes this Momma giddy with glee…
(14) Look into Classes and Camps Offered in Your Area – Did you know that churches, local colleges, zoos, museums and schools offer day camps / classes for children?!? In fact, gyms, dance studios and theaters offer classes as well! You would be amazed how many different organizations make an effort to give kids fun activities for the summer!
Here are some ideas of what’s available:
Dance / Gymnastics Classes / Camps
Music Classes / Camps
Art Classes / Camps
Science Camps (at Children’s Museums and schools)
Photography Classes / Camps for older kiddos
Theater Classes / Camps
Ice Skating Classes / Camps (this is an interesting one that most people don’t think about…)
Gardening Classes / Camps
Horseback Riding Lessons (for older kiddos)
Bonus Idea: There is no shame in the “attending-more-than-one-VBS-game.” It’s a win / win actually. Your child is socializing and entertained while learning about Jesus at the same time. What could be better?!? I don’t suggest signing them up every week of the summer ;), but if they’ve got a friend who attends another church…why not check their VBS out, too? A few weeks here and there isn’t going to hurt anybody!
(15) Lastly, and most importantly, give yourselves (and your kiddos) grace. When the goin’ gets tough, remind yourself of three things:
* You are enough. You are doing the best you can. And that’s enough. Heck, it’s better than enough. It’s awesome.
* You’re the ONE. God picked YOU to be the Momma to your little ones. Out of the entire universe, God picked YOU. Wow. You are a star!
* You are SO loved. God loves you. Those babies love you. I love you.
You’ve got this. Chin up, Momma! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t get down about the things you can’t control and focus on the ones you can. Junior is not gonna go on and on about his mother’s perfectly ironed duvet covers one day. But, he will brag about all those super fun, late night dance parties before bedtime…
Let’s love those babies like it’s goin’ out of style. And, most importantly, let’s give ourselves (and each other) grace…lots of it!
Erin is a lifestyle blogger cultivating a community of incredible women who share her desire to learn more about God. When she isn’t busy attending tea parties with her toddlers, you can find her sharing love and life on her blog at ErinBrownHollis.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.