Now that we have survived April vacation, I am ready to prepare my schedule for summer. Of course, this is not set in stone. If we want to stray we can, but when it really comes in handy is when we are home with no other clear events planned. It helps in those moments when the kids are not clicking with one another and they come to me whining that they don’t know what to do. Below is sample schedule similar to what we did over April break.
- 7:00 AM Get dressed
- 7:10 AM Breakfast
- 7:30 AM Harry’s piano practice
- 7:50 AM Liam’s piano practice
- 8:00 AM Morning Exercise
- 8:05 AM Potty time (yes, we schedule that!)
- 8:15 AM Free play
- 9:15 AM Storytime!
- 9:30 AM Math with snack
- 9:45 AM Shoes and jackets on
- 9:55 AM Leave for Craft Store activity
- 11:30 AM Head home for lunch
- 12:00 PM Lunch
- 12:30 PM Wes to nap
- 1:00 PM Board or Paper game
- 1:15 PM Tin foil art
- 1:45 PM Free Play
- 2:30 PM Snack Time
- 2:45 PM Quiet activity time (I have a list of activities and they get to choose.)
- 3:15 PM Free Play
- 4:15 PM Errands (I have to schedule errands or else I will make every excuse I can to avoid doing non-kid friendly chores with three kids.)
- 5:30 PM Dinner
- 6:00 PM Clean-up
- 6:30 PM TV
- 7:00 PM Bedtime
Now the hard part! Come up with a whole bunch of activities to plug into the schedule! Luckily the internet is full of amazing ideas and I’ve got almost 2 months to get myself organized.
Hopefully I’ll be posting Part 2 soon!
While I should be thinking of all the fun events in April (and writing a post about that instead) I am actually only thinking of ways to keep the children occupied during April vacation. Usually this means crafts and worksheets. However, I have realized that my children need to MOVE! So I’m trying to come up with more ways to incorporate controlled movement. In other words, how can I get them moving without having them go completely crazy and destroying everything in their path.
My first idea is just a simple daily exercise time where we can all get a dose of movement and get the blood pumping. Since I rarely make it to the gym, I see the benefits for me as well! To keep it orderly I came up with 24 simple exercises and printed them up on cards. Each one is either done 10 times or is performed while counting slowly to 10. I let the kids call out the exercises, but I do the counting so they don’t go to fast. You don’t have to do all the cards at once. For today I decided to start slow and just have them choose 10 from the stack. Once I get my schedule completed I will try to split them into 3 or 4 quick sessions a day.
Print out your own set here: Get Moving Cards
I’ve set it up to print on both sides if you want the cute picture on each. If not, just print pages 1 and 3. Here’s how ours look printed (and laminated of course!)
Now go and get moving!
I love schedules.
If I enjoy something, I want to put it on a schedule. If I hate something, I want to put it on a schedule.
I like routine because it reduces the amount of active thinking I have to do while handling three crazy kids. The fortunate thing is that kids ALSO LOVE schedules! I didn’t realize how much until Harry and Liam started playing school and running through Harry’s actual school schedule with their toys and stuffed animals. He even made his own version of the schedule board they use at school.
Click on the picture if you want one of your own. It’s only about $10 and I do think it would be really fun to have, but I’m going to stick with a laminated printout that I can stick on the fridge.
I used an hourly schedule with the kids last summer and it really helped keep things under control. Last year I did it hourly, but this year I’m going to make it even more detailed and do it by 30 minute increments. Of course, the key to a good schedule is being willing to abandon it if something great comes up. But for those days you are all just stuck together, having a schedule can really reduce fighting and keep you sane.
April vacation is nearly here, and I’m going to use it to try out a new schedule with the boys.
Come back soon to check it out!
I can’t take credit for this tip, but I am passing it on because it was so much fun for the boys last year. Instead of hunting for eggs, we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt. I loved this idea the moment I saw it on WhatsUpMoms because I HATE hiding eggs all over and then having a war break out over who finds what. The scavenger hunt was something they could do together and then just get their baskets at the end. They loved it and I plan on doing it again this year.
Here is a link to the original video from WhatsUpMoms. I think I mostly used her clues, but here is a printable of mine if you want something to print and go. Easter Scavenger Hunt
I really liked these special little eggs to hide the clues in.
Check out Harry and Liam on their hunt last year.
When I think up activities, there is always a grand plan. That doesn’t mean I always make it to the finish line though. One thing my boys have taught me is that they are more than willing to finish the race for me. Tonight’s post is a perfect example of that.
I came up with an idea to encourage them to write some funny little stories. Here was the grand plan, which I still hope to sit and do with them, and then I will explain how far I got and what the kids did with what I had.
I went online and found a bunch of pictures that I though were either cute, funny or interesting.
I printed them out and (of course) laminated them. I cut them out and had grand plans of separating them out into characters, settings and exciting elements and then using them to help the boys create silly little stories. I had them all organized and ready to go when the baby woke up and made it too difficult to sit and explain my big ideas to the boys. So, instead I tossed the cards at them as I ran upstairs to get the baby.
When I came back down there they were pairing up characters with different locations and elements and making up funny scenarios. It didn’t keep them busy for hours, but they had a good laugh and are excited to take out the picture cards again to make up stories and play more games.
Sometimes, less is more. It’s nice to have big plans, but it’s sometimes even nicer to give the kids something interesting and then to let them figure out what fun they can have with it.
Here is a pdf with the images for you to try: Build a Story
I’ve been wanting to post for a while but as most moms know, even small blips in routine can send the whole family spinning. Well, in a span of 2 weeks we have bought a new home and sold our old home. Sad to be leaving our town, but excited for what is ahead. And, it has been crazy!
But now to get back into routine, I want to post a little something. The boys and I were lucky enough to have some friends over for an early play date before school. Last night I threw together this little game to help harness the energy of 4 well-rested children!
It is basically the “Hide the Button” game that is posted on my printable page, but using St. Patrick’s Day pictures instead. I printed out 6 of each picture and then wrote 1,2 or 3 on the backs before laminating them and cutting them out.
Then I hid them all around the playroom and set the kids looking. Once they were done we tallied the scores using this game board. Each one took a different colored marker and then colored in the number of squares they had earned according to the backs of the pictures. It took two rounds to fill the board and then they all colored in the center together.
Want to give it a try? Print out the pictures and game board here.
Game Board and Leprechaun Hide and Seek
I never thought about how freeing it would be for my kids to have some guidelines on how to draw stuff. This Christmas my sister (Hi Jenny!) got my sons Ed Emberley’s Make a World which teaches them how to draw loads of stuff. They love this book!
I thought at first that having a drawing book would stifle their creativity, but it was the opposite. Now they could finally draw all the things in their minds! They started making up stories and illustrating them, and they have not stopped.
Today Harry was working on his new book, C is for Clover, which is an ABC book about St. Patrick’s Day. When he got to P he needed some help drawing St. Patrick and that is how I stumbled upon this website: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/learn-to-draw-saint-patrick. Both boys had so much fun drawing St. Patrick that I kept digging and found a few more March themed drawing pages. Check them out here:
These are just links to the drawing instructions but this whole website is really fantastic. Check it out and let me know what you think!