Our Summer Survival Strategy

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Summer is here whether I like it or not. Admittedly, it’s not my favorite season, but I’m both excited and a bit nervous about this one. It’s the first summer I’ve had two kids and both of them will be home with me for the whole break. In the past, they’ve gone to their preschool’s summer session, so with the exception of a couple of weeks at the beginning and end, our summer schedule looked much like the rest of the year. I’m excited because we’ve got several trips planned, and I’m hoping to spend time with my friends at playdates, but I’m nervous because I still have both paid and volunteer work to get done. 

My goal is to survive the summer with my sanity and house somewhat intact. I needed a schedule that would a) keep the kids from watching TV all day, b) let me still get things done, and c) not be a ton of extra work for me. I am at my best on a schedule, even a loose one, and my kids love to know what’s going on and what to expect next. So we got out the poster board and made a weekly schedule: 

  • Sunday: Church & Rest
  • Monday: Park/Playground
  • Tuesday: Arts & Crafts/Sensory Activity
  • Wednesday: Free Play
  • Thursday: Library
  • Friday: Water
  • Saturday: Family
The Floor is Lava at the Opelika Public Library

Sunday

Sunday is a work day for my husband because he runs production for our church, so I’m getting the kids and myself ready and there solo. By the end of service, and especially if we go out to eat with friends, I’m very ready to find a spot on the couch and live there for the rest of the day. I do my best to not work on Sundays, and that includes housework or kids activities.

Monday

We pick a park or playground to visit. There are so many options in Auburn/Opelika that we could pick a new one every week if we wanted to. So far, the kids love the Blue & Green “big” kid playground at the ball fields behind Mikata. We’ll probably end up back there a good bit. We don’t stay long; last time it was probably around an hour and a half, and I got my daily bible reading in, plus some of my current book while they played.

Tuesday

This is by far the messiest day. I’ve been finding activities that require only a few supplies or use things we already have. Busy Toddler has been fantastic for ideas. So far we’ve done Oobleck, frozen paint, homemade play dough, and toy rescuing. We also regularly play with kinetic sand. On the to-do list: bubble foam, mosaic chalk art, and magnatiles on the garage door. After we do all these, we’ll probably circle back to their favorites. I will say though, no matter how easy you think an activity will be, the kids WILL find a way to make a humongous mess. The best tip I’ve found is to spread out a washable shower curtain liner or use a large roll of craft paper to cover the floor, or move the craft outside if possible.

Wednesday

This is a mid-week break for us. A day to hang out at the house and let their boredom drive them to creativity. My house is usually wrecked, but that’s the price of children.

Thursday

Library day! We love the Opelika Public Library. There is great kids programming year round, but they really step their game up for the summer. We have been going to as many kids events as we can, but Messy Story time on Thursday mornings is our regular programming.

Friday

Probably the kids’ favorite day because WATER. Sometimes this means a neighborhood pool, ours or a friend’s, but not necessarily. We also play in the backyard with a kiddie pool, sprinkler, or just some buckets. Other water day plans include a glow stick bath, pom pom play, and ice sensory play.

Saturday

I’m calling it a “family day” but really that just means that Dad is home, and I have help lol

This was our first attempt at Oobleck before I learned about the shower curtain/craft paper tip. “Aw, it’s cute you thought they were going to keep it in the bins.” – My husband

These daily activities take a few hours max. I try to do the day’s activity in the morning, have lunch, and then a quiet hour where the kids play independently in their rooms. The quiet hour doesn’t always work, but I’m trying. The afternoons are for free play and any errands I need to do. We’re only a few weeks in, and I’ve already had to shuffle the days around a bit to accommodate work and meetings, but overall it’s working out well. The kids are excited, and they’re not asking to go to the pool every day. We still watch TV, but I use it strategically to get certain things done, like a more intensive work project or exercising. We’re also working out the details of having a sitter come give me a break for a few hours a week. I’m optimistic so far, but also definitely more worn out at the end of the day. When does school start back, again?

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Sarah Savage
Sarah Savage is originally from Crestview, Florida, but has called the Auburn/Opelika area home for the last 14 years. She graduated from Auburn in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She and her husband, Jonathan, have a six year old daughter and a three year old son. Sarah works part time from home as a Communications Editor for Auburn University, but spends most of her time attempting to keep her kids from climbing—and subsequently falling off—furniture and providing an endless supply of snacks. She enjoys working out, reading, baking, listening to podcasts, and volunteering with local service organizations.

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