by Kathleen Smith
May 22, 2018
I know, it sounds so much easier than it actually is. I've tried and failed at meal planning on more than one occasion, but I'm finally winning in this department. How?
And if you're looking for everything but the chef arriving at your front door, check out Holistic Squid's Real Plans for customized meal plans made with real, wholesome ingredients. Our Printable Meal Plan PDF is great for accomplishing this. Also check out our healthy foods for kids and organic | foodie Pinterest boards for some inspiration.
The phrase every mother dreads. Or maybe (like at our house) the phrase your children have learned to NEVER say unless they want to be assigned a chore on-the-spot! I combat boredom by typing up a simple list of quick and easy daytime activities that require little to no planning. I organize the list by indoor vs. outdoor to-do's. Inside think playdough, legos, paper plate crafts, painting rocks, dance parties, building forts, and cozy reading corners. When the weather is perfect for outdoor activities, they can get outside for scavenger hunts, bikes and trikes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, hide-and-seek, freeze tag, and filling jars with treasures they find in nature.
This is another simple list that I'm always so happy I've done ahead of time. Then, when it's a day you NEED to get out of the house, or the weather is perfect for an outing, or your kids have earned a fun excursion after completing their chores for the week, you don't have to spend half the morning trying to figure out where to go! Some of the popular destinations on our list are: picnic in the park, children's library, nature paths, fishing, or a friend/family's house with a fun backyard.
If you're fortunate enough to live in a place where you have a backyard that your children can roam in, make it a place they'll want to spend a LOT of time in! You can add simple things like a swing, sandbox, kid's garden corner, lawn games, and fairy dwellings.
My oldest daughter and I recently made a fairy tepee out of all sorts of everyday and recycled objects. We're searching for a well-protected spot in our backyard to tuck it, and can't wait to add more fairy things to at as we make them.If space and budget allows, think grander things like a tree house, trampoline, multi-person swing, slack line, or even a zip line! Check out Wellness Mama for ideas to make your backyard the envy of all the kids in your neighborhood.
Remember that word "educational" in the title? No matter their age, any child will benefit from some intentional learning even for just a short time throughout their day.
At our house, I've been working on collecting things for individualized learning drawers for each of my kids. Each child will have a drawer where they can choose what they'd like to work on during their daily "learning hour". They don't need to be anything fancy or expensive, I took a set of plastic drawers that were no longer being used in our basement and set them along a wall in our laundry room. They're out of the way, but still easily accessible for all ages.
My 7 year old will be focusing on things like counting money, telling time, memory matching, and reading for comprehension. My 2 and 3 year olds will focus on shapes, colors, sorting, counting, lacing, and learning their letters and numbers. I also made them each their own Spell Well Name Puzzle. And my 1 year old's drawer will feature a basic shapes puzzle, wooden stacking toy, shape sorter, and board books.
Even if learning "hour" can only be learning "minutes" some days, it's still worth it. Check out our educational wooden toys for ideas for your own kids!
This is a fun and easy way to essentially have your kids create their own summer book of memories. And for me personally, it eliminates the mom-guilt I always get when I am reminded that I'm just not a scrap booking mom who physically documents her kids' childhoods. (Sorry, kids...)Every Monday, spend some time writing and drawing about the favorite things you did over the past week. It's a great way to encourage creative writing and is so fun for hear what your kids find especially noteworthy and worth remembering. Often times I'm surprised that it was a simple funny game or story before bed time that my little ones fondly remember rather than the big trip to the playground. Life is all about simple pleasures, after all!There are lots of DIY ideas for kids journals out there. Check out this fun Adventure Journal tutorial by Polkadot Chair and Hello Wonderful's roundup of 10 creative DIY journals for kids.
If you're looking to purchase something that's ready to go, there are TONS of great options on Etsy!
Yes, that's directed at YOU. :) We moms can't do it all, can we?
If you can afford an in-home babysitter, hire a local college student home on break to spend just a few mornings/week with your little ones so that you can do whatever it is you need to do to stay sane, organized, and on-track. In my case, it's keeping up with Smiling Tree Toys.
If paying a babysitter isn't an option, hit up your mom friends and schedule a half-day each week where she takes your kids off your hands and vice versa so that you each get some kid-free time to take care of the necessaries.
Even with the best of intentions, things won't always go as planned. Rather than get frustrated, go with it! Kids (especially toddlers!) have minds of their owns with no rhyme or reason. If they're not feeling it, adjust as you can to keep both your kids and yourself happy. That might mean skipping a planned activity or having cereal for lunch, but hey no shame! Your kids will survive and who knows? That may become one of their favorite memories for their journals!
Taking these simple steps has already made me feel much more prepared for summer vacation than ever before, and that gets me (almost) as excited as the kids are!
In all reality, summer lasts just a few, fleeting months, and I want to enjoy every minute possible while making memories with our kids and keeping up with our family's business. So let the countdown begin, summertime. I'm ready for ya!
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