Hazy, Hot, and Humid. It can be difficult to beat the summer heat when you hear those three words in the weather report. I remember hearing them often to describe the heat waves we’d get in Northern Virginia. My mom generally gave us two options to stay cool during the summer: play in the pool or play in our rooms. Whatever we did, we needed to stay out of her hair. (Something I can totally relate to now.)
We’ve just endured our first heatwave, with temps above 90 for three days. It’s felt more like July or August versus the first week of June! It’s gotten me thinking about activities that we can do to beat the summer heat this year, especially with the pandemic still going on.
My favorite memories swimming in a pool when I was a kid. For several years, my parents bought big, 3ft deep pools for the back yard to save money on a pool membership. So far, we've been using inflatable pools that aren't quite as big, but deep enough for the boys to practice some swim skills in.
Sprinklers have come a long way since I was a kid. There's something nostalgic about running through a garden sprinkler, and that's typically what my kids use, but if you're looking for something with more whimsy, check out these inflatable sprinklers for kids!
I bought XShot Water Warfare Micro Fast-Fill water guns for the boys and they LOVE them. They're great for when we don't want to bother filling up the pool. The boys have used them in water gun fights, watering the plants, and target practice.
If visiting one is out of reach, consider a virtual visit from the comfort of your air-conditioned couch! Destination DC has compiled a list of museums in the Nation's Capitol that offer virtual tours, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the International Spy Museum.
I remember several childhood summers in which my mom attempted to prevent the summer slide by making me complete worksheets or workbooks. There was one summer she sent me to a tutor for math. (She stopped trying for a while after that one.) The only thing she did that I look back on fondly was a summer camp type program that allowed me to choose classes for high school credit.
I took a handwriting class, dance class, and a creative writing class. I had to get up early for it, but it was stuff that interested me and in the end I actually enjoyed myself. Some of the things I learned I was able to carry with me through college and even apply it to some of the jobs I’ve held as an adult.
What is the summer slide?
“Summer slide” is the loss of some of the achievement gains a student made during the previous school year. This affects low-income families the most.
I told myself I wouldn’t put my kids through all the boring stuff like my mom did, but even with them being 4 and 6 I see the benefits of trying. I’m learning that what works really depends on the child, too. One of my boys wouldn’t mind sitting down to complete a worksheet and the other one takes after me, doing whatever possible to avoid being in sight of one.
Keeping your kids on track doesn’t have to involve hours of work, and it can even be fun!
This didn’t really work for me growing up. I can already tell it’s going to be tough to do this sort of thing with L, too. But G loves workbooks right now! I ordered each of the boys a Summer Brain Quest workbook, appropriate for their grade. I find these are great to bring along to appointments and activities that involve waiting. These also have a sticker chart in the back, which has been an incentive for L.
If you don’t want to order a workbook, a Pinterest search can show you where to find sites that let you print worksheets for free.
I really wanted to put G in an art camp this summer, but it conflicted with our summer schedule. If there’s a subject your child is interested in, finding a day camp related to it is a great way to keep them engaged and learn more about it.
Tutors/Summer School/Online Courses
If your child needs extra help, continue their education through the summer months with a tutor or summer school. These can be a huge help if your child will perform better with someone other than you.
We got a subscription to ABC Mouse for Christmas and the boys love it! The games and songs make it fun and the boys don’t fully realize they’re learning at the same time. You can also download it onto your phone or tablet so you’ll have it available when you’re out and about.
I fully admit that it’s harder to fit books into our nightly routine during the summer. Our kids have fun playing outside until the sun goes down or we’re out late visiting friends and family since we don’t have to worry about school the next day. The kids are done at that point and reading to them before bed doesn’t always happen. So I find that I have to make an extra effort to fit a book or two into our day. Knowing WHY reading is so important keeps me motivated to fit it in. If your kids aren’t interested in reading to themselves, then try reading to them, or try my next tip:
One of the things I hated about school when I was a kid was being told what we had to learn about. Use the time off from school to let your kids learn more about their personal interests. Let them loose in the library and have them choose their own book. This worked out wonderfully for us last year, and it even got L interested in books!
A lot of libraries have storytime for younger kids. Ours has a summer reading program for kids and adults. Each milestone you reach gets you entered for prizes.
At my kids’ ages (4 and 6), I think it’s most important children learn how to share, take turns, and interact with peers. The best way to teach them is through play. Play also enforces fine and gross motor skills, which help with writing. Plus, they just don’t get enough of it while they’re in school so it’s just as important for them to have unstructured time when they’re on break. Just don’t forget to play with them as well 🙂
What are you doing this summer to make sure your kids don’t experience summer slide?
It’s summer vacation, which means the kids and I have been spending more time at home than usual. Lately, it feels like they’re eating me out of house and home. I didn’t realize that two kids being in half-day preschool two and four days a week meant less food was consumed. I’m still not 100% sure how this is happening. I don’t feed the boys constantly, though perhaps they’re eating a bit more during meals because of all the fresh air I’m insisting they get?
Milk. Juice. Crackers. Fruit. This has really taken me by surprise. They’re 3 and 5. I’ve heard boys eat a ton, but isn’t this sort of thing supposed to happen when they’re a little bit older?
Oh, and then non-food items! Antibacterial wipes. Hand soap. Paper for drawing. I typically go shopping once a month, but I’ve found myself running back to the store with kids in toe once or twice already — and we’re only one month into summer vacation! Two more to go…
Now I know how my mom must have felt when my siblings and I were home for the summer.
But there’s one item we haven’t run out of: toilet paper.
While my boys can tell us when they need to use the bathroom or simply just go when they need to, I’m still working on teaching them to clean up dribbles and how to properly wipe their bottoms. I’m also trying to teach them that you don’t need to use a lot of toilet paper to do either.
You’d think being home more would mean running out of toilet paper, but thanks to Cottonelle Mega Rolls, I haven’t had to stress over unexpectedly running out. These rolls are huge; Cottonelle has managed to fit about four rolls in one!
When I do find myself on an unexpected trip to the store, shopping apps like Ibotta help me save some money. Right now you can save $1 on Cottonelle Mega Rolls using the Ibotta app when you purchase them in-store at Walmart.
If you prefer to do your shopping online, you can add Cottonelle Mega Rolls to your cart when you use Walmart Grocery, a program that has not only been a been a huge time-saver for me, but a stress reliever as well. As long as I know I’m buying at least $30 in groceries, I can order everything I need online and have it carried out to my car. Click here to see if it’s available in your area!
Do you find yourself heading to the store more often when your kids are home? What do you hope you #NeverRunOut of this summer?
It’s the Big Question everyone has been asking the boys and I since school ended three weeks ago.
For the first two weeks my answer was, “A whole lotta nothing for now.” I’m a huge fan of unwinding and taking a break, especially when there is a break in scheduled activities. Which, for those first two weeks, we did.
We definitely aren’t having a lazy summer. I’ve enrolled the boys in swimming lessons and my hope is to keep them both enrolled twice a week until September. L has a speech therapy evaluation scheduled in a couple weeks, and if they deem it wise to move forward he could be in those 1-2 times a week for the summer.
Unfortunately though, we haven’t really had anything planned that screams FUN (outside of a night trip to Great Wolf Lodge with my newest sister-in-law, which was fun!). My brother-in-law’s New York wedding this past spring sucked any extra money we had for a night or two away. Admittedly, I am disappointed in that – I really think my family needs time away together. But that couldn’t be helped and I’m hoping that a few day trips will suffice.
I always have a list of things I want to do with the boys over summer vacation, but this year I was inspired to write it all down. I took it a step further and wrote our list on poster board and taped it on the wall where we could all see it.
This is the first year I’ve sat down with my boys and asked their input on what we should do this summer. It was fun! Despite having to do this while they played in the sandbox because they didn’t want to sit down for a discussion. It worked though.
The boys gave a few suggestions that definitely won’t happen (like visiting their cousin in New York). And I wrote down a few knowing they most likely won’t (like a beach trip). But overall, I think we’ve got a pretty good list of activities that are doable and can plan ahead for.
In trying to stay on top of my screening of Dark Side of the Full Moon (which happened!) and my Climb Out of the Darkness fundraiser, most of my life has been dictated by lists lately. Some of these lists are on paper. Some of these lists are on my Todoist app (which is AMAZING by the way!).
There are things I want to do this summer. I’m not sure how much of it will happen due to Mr. Boot’s work schedule, but there are a few things I really hope we can make happen.
Go to the Beach How original of me, right? Well, it’s been a while. Whether it’s with my family or with a friend, I want to make a trip to the beach this year. A real beach. Not my MiL’s lake beach.
Diva Dinner date I haven’t seen my DivaFit friends in several months and I’m missing them. Most likely I’ll have to get the ball rolling on that one, which is hard since I don’t know when Mr. Boots might have to work.
Go see The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I have no idea what this is really about. I saw the trailer when I went to see the second Divergent movie. I saw Henry Cavill and, well, who the hell cares what the movie is about?!
2 dates with Mr Boots With him working so much and me feeling like I need to be in a bunch of places at once, Mr. Boots and I haven’t really had much alone time. I want to fix that starting next month.
1 kid free weekend with Mr Boots I’m ready! I’m ready to send my boys off to Granma’s for a weekend. So. Ready.
Paint Downstairs Bathroom I bought paint and a new light over Memorial Day weekend. I just need the kids out of my hair and I can get this done!
Start C25K At the beginning of the year, I registered for my first 5K. “I have time,” is what I have been telling myself when it comes to training. It’s dawned on me that I’m running out of time. If I’m going to complete the C25K challenge, I need to start next month.
Host a Cook Out Every time I try and host one, I fail. Usually, people bail last minute. I’m stubborn though. I want a chance to hang out with my friends and NOT be the one commuting to do so.
That’s pretty much it. I would like to go to the zoo and the aquarium, but I don’t see those things happening until the fall. I definitely don’t want to go to the zoo when the heat index is 110.
What do you hope to accomplish this summer? Do you have any big plans?