Back in April the kids started a new school! We had been homeschooling and it was kind of by chance that I went on a tour with a friend and fell in love. It’s a very small private school that is Waldorf based. When I left the tour I felt like I had found the perfect place for my children and ever since we enrolled that feeling has been amplified more and more.
For the summer I wanted to continue some of the routine and easy going work that my kids look forward to at school. I knew I wouldn’t want to be too structured but also knew one child in particular needs that structure for their days to go well. I decided to take the concept of assigning a color and a theme to each day of the week (read more about this here!) and come up with fun activities we could do for every day of the week. The hope is that this keeps us off screens and allows for a loose plan to each of our days.
Here’s how it works. My kids painted these adorable peg people and they are on display on our dining room table. Each day we move the color associated with that day to the center and then pull out a popsicle stick. I found these sticks in rainbow color at the dollar store and wrote preplanned activities on them and stuck them in a mason jar. This was the most time consuming part of this, but I did it over the course of a few days and honestly you can skip this part completely and just make up stuff on the fly! I preferred to put in the work ahead of time and then not have to do much during the summer. I’m lazy!
This is our first week using this system to kind of show you how it works and that the activities planned are fairly simple!
Mondays are Purple days and our theme is to Make something. Messy art projects, baking, Lego worlds, are all things to do on this day. Our first project was to make a treasure hunt and it turned out to be more brilliant than I planned! The kids each picked a ‘treasure’ from around the house and hid it somewhere. Then they made a map and guided the other person through the map, stopping along the way to give them quests (think jumping jacks, play the piano, run around the couch 3 times). They did most of it on their own and ended up spending an entire afternoon on the project and it morphed into imaginary play.
Tuesdays are Red days and they are a day we can Explore. The first stick we pulled said Charlie’s favorite place and he picked to go to the ‘dinosaur museum’. So that afternoon we went to the Perot and checked out their new Ultimate Dinosaur Exhibit. Only two days of the week are real go out and do something days and it makes it easier for me to say yes knowing the other days will be chill, homebody days. I also plan in errands around those days so we stopped at the library and the bank on our way downtown.
Wednesdays are Yellow days and these are our Learn Something days. I’ve stashed a few science kits, some books on certain themes, and plenty of reading and math games in our play room for the kids to use. Our first stick said to read or make silly poems and after the museum trip we were in full dinosaur mode so we went with that. Dinosaur books, dinosaur experiments (I subscribed last year to the Magic School Bus Science kits and they have been well worth the money!), and then funny dinosaur poems!
Thursdays are Orange and they are our Go days. This week we pulled out a stick that said ‘new park’ but it also happened to be over 100 degrees. So we compromised and the kids asked to go to a trampoline park near our house. Honestly it was my favorite outing, but the kids had a blast and apparently Tues/Thurs are the cheap days to go so I can’t complain!
Fridays are Green and they are our Play days. Play is something my kids don’t need a lot of help with but for some reason pulling out the stick is exciting to them, even if it’s just an idea to play with their regular toys! Today they pulled the ‘messy box’ stick which is the box I keep of our sensory play in. Aqua beads, kinetic sand, rocks, water play, all that good stuff. They set up shop in the kitchen and went to town creating a world with their small animal figurines. Something they could have done anyway, but being given the idea sparked a morning full of fun!
Saturdays are Blue and are Family Days so all the sticks have things that we can do together. This one said ‘yummy treat’ so Chris took them to Bahama Bucks for shaved ice. I have easy things like game night and pizza night in there as well as outings like bowling and Top Golf. The weekends are my kids favorite days since they get dad all to themselves and these activities simply prompt us to do more than hang out at the house!
Sundays are White and there are no sticks to choose from. We try to keep the day free and calm and truly make it our Sabbath. I let the kids do whatever they want these days so usually there are iPads and video games out. For us it works when the expectation is that screens aren’t really a part of our routine so the days like today that they get to use them are a bit more special. I’ve found that if screens get used more frequently I get asked more and more for them to be out and it becomes a battle. Not fully banning but definitely limiting them is just what works for us, and of course there are exceptions. For the most part though I let Sundays be a day of rest and that means everyone gets to choose what that looks like!
As you can see our little gnomes have a nature collection accumulating and I wouldn’t be surprised if more little people join them soon. Whether or not you use them for a calendar, I highly recommend painting peg people. My kids pull them out all the time and love to play with them. I love Pepper and Pine’s tutorials on different characters and animals to make!
I hope your summer is going well and that you’re having fun just playing and being with your children whatever activities you choose to do!