Summer is for making memories…but sometimes being the one to come up with the ideas can be exhausting. This free printable weekly calendar will help you create a simple, flexible summer plan without the stress. Ready…set…play!
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It’s official, we’re on summer break! This year, summer feels a little weird, because “summer” won’t be all that different from what we’ve been doing the past several months. Still, I wanted to find a way to make summertime feel special and fun.
For the past several years, we’ve used this summer bucket list Bingo game to help us make summertime memorable. This year, though, I wanted a summer activity plan that was more structured.
Creating a weekly schedule with theme days fit the bill. My boys are already used to doing school time in the morning, so these hands-on, play-based learning and exploration activities will fit into our existing routine nicely.
There are TONS of these weekly activity plans online, but none of the plans out there really included everything I wanted. So, as usual, I created my own!
What makes this summer plan unique?
I was really deliberate about creating the themed days for this calendar. Along with our tried-and-true summer activity books, this summer plan is going to be the core of our summer curriculum. As such, I wanted to create days centered around outdoor play, exploratory learning, and learning life skills.
I also carefully chose the order of my themed days. I actually spent probably far too long debating the pros and cons of “Water Wednesday” vs. “Wander Wednesday”. But it was important to me to create a plan that was easy and logical so I wouldn’t hate it and abandon the whole thing halfway through the summer. (Anyone else ever have that problem?)
I intentionally put activities that would require more work from me (like crafts and cooking) at the beginning of the week when I have more energy and made Fridays a fun and easy water play day.
In the end, I think I found the right balance (for us, at least) between making a plan that is simple, doable, and meaningful. So, may I present….
The Summer Plan for Fun
The core concept:
One fun, memory-making activity per day to keep your kids learning, exploring, and creating all summer long!
What this summer plan is:
This plan is meant to be a framework for creating a meaningful summer. It is meant to help you organize all your fun ideas into a flexible, balanced schedule that everyone can look forward to each week!
What this summer plan is not:
This plan does not prescribe a specific activity for each day. It gives you general categories for inspiration, but YOU choose the activities that work for your family.
I will however, be sharing my own weekly plans on social media to give you inspiration and guidance should you need a little nudge. Follow me on Instagram to see what we’re up to!
This plan is also NOT meant to keep your kids busy from dawn to dusk. It’s just ONE activity per day–maybe 1-2 hours out of the 13 or 14 hours they are awake. I feel strongly that free play time is essential for kids’ development and creativity. I don’t plan every moment of the day for my kids, and I don’t feel that it is my responsibility to entertain them all summer long. My kids get bored, and I am okay with that. After they get tired of being bored, they often think of something amazing all on their own.
Alrighty then. Here’s what we’ll be doing each day of the week:
Our daily themes for summer fun
Make it Monday
Mondays are for arts & crafts. I put this one first because at the beginning of the week I still have energy for messy projects like painting or making homemade play dough.
I have fond memories of sitting on the kitchen counter as a girl cooking with my own mother, and I want my kids to have those memories as well. Plus cooking is a valuable life skill, and I hope to send boys out into the world that can feed themselves and their families better food than cold cereal and burned toast.
Wednesdays are going to be our day to get out and explore the great outdoors. We’ve been stuck at home far too much for the past few months, and now that the weather is consistently warm, we’re going to take advantage of it! Planning an outing mid-week seemed like a good way to break things up. Plus, we often go out on Saturdays as a family, so this gives us a few days between adventures.
We’re lucky to live in Utah where there are tons of family-friendly hikes within an hour of our house. Local friends, Utah’s Adventure Family has so many great recommendations! If you live elsewhere, check out All Trails or just do a quick search of “family friendly hikes near _________.”
“Wander Wednesday” activity ideas: hiking, bike ride, picnic, play a sport together, go on a scavenger hunt, fruit picking.
Thursdays are days to “think like a scientist”. My oldest son wants to be a paleontologist, and my 5-year-old wants to be a robot engineer, so they requested having a day dedicated to science exploration. No complaints from me! We’ll make time on Thursdays to ask questions, observe the world around us, experiment, and do STEM challenges.
Fun in the Sun Friday
Oh, Fridays. I’m done with being the creative, teacher-mom by the end of the week, so we’re just gonna play! On Fridays, we’ll pull out the hose, lay out the slip ‘n slide and just have fun.
Options for customizing your printable summer plan
If you’re like me, you may want to tweak this plan to fit your family’s needs. If so, I’ve included a version of the printable that just lists the days of the week, but no themes. That way, you can make up your own themes or rearrange the ones I created. Here are some ideas for other theme days:
- Monday: Make it, Move it, Movie
- Tuesday: Take a trip, Time to read, Try something new, Teach me
- Wednesday: Water, What’s cooking, Wet ‘n wild, Wild card
- Thursday: Be thoughtful, Think about _______, Thankful, Take a trip
- Friday: Friend, Fun, Family, Foodie
Are you ready to play along with us this summer?
What to do:
- Download & Print the “summer plan for fun” pages above.
- Laminate the “plan for fun” page or put it in a plastic sleeve so you can use a dry erase marker to write each week’s plan.
- Brainstorm. Sit down with your kids (we did it over lunch one day) and introduce them to the idea of the summer plan and daily themes. Use the extra space on the ideas page to add activities YOUR family would like to do this summer.
- Plan. At the beginning of each week, pick one activity for each day’s theme. Write those activities on your “plan for fun” page and post it somewhere everyone can see. That way the kids will know what is coming that week!
- Gather supplies. Take a few minutes when you’re making your plan to be sure you have everything you need to do the week’s activities. Make a list of anything you need to buy and have it all ready to go before the day you need it. I recommend choosing activities that you already have the supplies for whenever possible. Disappointed kids who were planning on an activity that you can’t actually do are no fun.
- Make memories! Remember to participate, and not just facilitate. I have a habit of getting so wrapped up in making activities fun for everyone else that sometimes I don’t actually take the time to enjoy them myself. By planning ahead in steps 4 and 5, you’ll set yourself up to be able to enjoy the activities along with your kids. Try to make it quality time that you all spend together. Then afterward you can send everyone off to quiet time or put on a show guilt-free, knowing you’ve had some good, quality time with your kids.
A word of caution:
Remember, some days won’t go according to plan. Some days you will realize you ran out of glue, or your kids won’t be in the mood for the activity you planned. Some days everyone will throw tantrums and you’ll throw the whole plan out the window. That’s okay.
On those days, feed them popsicles and read a story together…Some days are like that. Even in Australia. (name that book!)
Please don’t create unrealistic expectations for yourself about making the “perfect” summer for your family. Let this summer be about creating memories, but not about achieving some arbitrary level of “awesome mom”-ness. I’m mostly writing this as a reminder to myself (recovering perfectionist here), but I hope it will give others permission to keep things simple and do just as much as will bring your family a little more joy.
Happy summer, everyone!
UPDATE 6/1/2021: Our summer plan for fun was a huge success last year! The kids loved it, and for me it was the perfect balance of structure and free time. We’re planning to use it again this summer. We’ll be bringing back some favorite activities from last year and trying out some new ones, too!
Want more ideas for fun kids activities? Come check out my Kids Activities board on Pinterest!