Sadly, our summer is already half over. In 6 short weeks, I’ll have the first of my children in school all day. And I’m definitely not ready for that! If I could find a way to slow down time, I would! But since I can’t, I am choosing to be intentional about the time that we do have together. One of the first things we did when school got out this year, was to create a puzzle of all the things we wanted to fit into each of our weeks ahead. And what we came up with ended up being a good mix of things that have helped us to stay sharp mentally, spiritually, and physically, while inspiring us to have a little fun as a family too!
The great thing about a puzzle agenda that you can include as many or as few activities as you want, and change things up whenever you feel the need. In case you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are the things we chose to include.
1. Field Trip - to anywhere…the zoo, museums, berry picking, the beach, a nature center. The options are limitless!
2. A Park – to make it a little more exciting, we mapped out a few parks in the area that we’d like to go this summer!
3. Library – for story time in the park or just to check out a few good reads.
4. Hike – on one of our area’s beautiful paved walking trails or off-road on a trail through the woods!
6. Serve – bringing dinner to someone, opening our home to company, picking up trash on a trail…you can find more great ideas here.
7. Science Experiment – we’ve been using the Fascinating Science for Kids e-book from I Can Teach My Child.
8. Math Game - there are numerous awesome ideas on pinterest…just search for ‘math games’!
11. Send Mail - each week we have fun sending a postcard, a letter, or a package to grandparents, cousins, friends or even a soldier or missionary.
12. Bible Study – we are currently working our way through the The Story for Children and the Early Elementary Curriculum that goes with it.
13. Memory Verse – those that go along with our Bible study, as well as ones that we put in our Easter jar.
14. Swim – at the pool.
15. Water Play Day – playing in our little blow up pool, with water guns, with the hose, water balloons, squirt bottles, the sprinkler, slip n’ slide, or any combination of those!
16. Play a Game - an inside board game or even outside fun like kickball.
17. Movie Night - slipping into jammies a bit early to enjoy a family movie along with popcorn or some sort of little treat.
18. Tea Party - sometimes it’s a tea party lunch, sometimes it’s a fancy afternoon treat, sometimes it’s a tea party that the kids put together with whatever they come up with all on their own, but no matter what, each time, it’s absolutely special.
19. Picnic - in the top of our playset, at a park, on a field trip, or even on the kitchen floor!
20. Art - often something inspired by the books we’re reading or by Great Artists.
21. Craft - something along the lines of our craft week projects, or one of the craft kits that the kids have acquired.
22. Summer Bag of Fun - a tradition that was started last summer. We kept a few of last summer’s favorite activities and added some new ones.
23. Bike Ride - the kids constantly ride bikes on the sidewalks around our house, but at least once a week we try to hit the trails, go to a park, or cruise around the neighborhood.
24. Journal - we started journaling last summer and continue to make an entry at least once a week, either about something we did, something we learned, or by just finishing a silly journal starter.
25. Play with Abandon - this one is more for ME than anything. It’s my reminder to, on occasion, just let everything else go and PLAY with my children. To forget about the messy house, the pile of laundry, the dirty dishes, and enjoy them while they’re little. Having this simple reminder has recently led to a fun hide & seek game just as we were laying down for naps, accepting my 2-year-old’s invitation to play in his play kitchen when I really needed to start dinner in my real kitchen, and allowing baths to last a little longer and get a little messier than they otherwise might have. It’s these simple moments that have become my most cherished!
I realize that 25 activities sounds like a lot to do each week, and to be honest, during busy weeks, we don’t always get to them all. But we will often cover more than one of them at a time. We’ll picnic while at the park. We’ll send a postcard while on a field trip. We’ll serve others by picking up trash while on a hike. But no matter whether we make our way through the list each week or not, we simply start the puzzle completely over the next week. I am confident that having it has inspired us to experience more together than we otherwise would have. And at the end of the week, I know that we didn’t just let another week of summer pass us by.
Wanna make one of your own?
Here’s how we did it:
I gave each of my girls a coloring page. Once they had them colored, we glued one edge of the 2 sheets together to create one large picture. Then (because of the annoying perfectionist in me that wanted perfect pieces), I took one of the kids 25 piece puzzles that had been put together, laid it on top of the back of our coloring page, and removed one piece at a time as I traced along the remaining puzzle edges. Next, I cut out each piece, laminated them, trimmed off the extra laminating film, wrote an activity on each puzzle piece, and hot glued magnets on the back.
Here’s how we use it:
We put the puzzle together on one door of our side by side fridge. Then, as we complete each activity, we move that puzzle piece over to the other door of our fridge, putting the puzzle back together on that side as we go. The next week we start our activity puzzle all over again!
It’s been working so well for us that I’m starting to think about using a very abbreviated version of a puzzle agenda once school starts again!
Linked to: Show-and-Share Saturday