School’s Out… Now What? Simple Summer Activities


As I head to pick up my son from school I find myself singing Alice Cooper School’s Out and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince Summer Time and feeling giddy excitement. It’s the last day of school! No more waking up and nagging my kid to get ready! No more packed lunches! No more school germs! Yay! I bet you want to sing along, don’t you?

But, after handing over teacher gifts and wishing everyone a happy summer, we’re walking back to the car and I realize, “It’s summer. No school. What in this ever-loving world are we going to do?” Gone are the schedules that had us moving in the mornings. Gone are the tasks that I needed to complete before picking him up. It’s free time, free play, and good gosh, what am I going to do to keep this child from becoming a couch potato?

Reine Jalloul. Dupe.

I immediately start planning simple summer activities to keep this family from getting too wild over summer break.

You see, this is my first summer with a full-fledged, energetic, growing, and learning toddler. I’m not what you would call a “creative mom”. Fun and educational activities don’t pop into your mind at a moment’s notice. Aside from swimming and splash pads, we won’t be outside for any length of time. Living in Houston Texas in the summer is much like hanging out on the sun’s surface, if the sun was also prone to 130% humidity.

I am not about to be caught with my pants down, so to speak. I need some simple summer activities ASAP.

I really rely on the school year schedule because it structures my whole day. In the summer, breakfast, lunch, and dinner feel like the only schedule guidance I get. And I am in charge of all of them! I feel like there will be NO structure to our day. Oh, sure, I know that having no plans can be freeing or relaxing or whatever, to calm the chaos in my mind, I need to do certain things on certain days to stay on track and not get too bored (fingers crossed), too waterlogged, or too sick of each other (yeah right.)

Here’s the short list of simple summer activities I’ve come up with:

  1. Swim lessons
  2. Beach
  3. Aquarium Day

Cool! I’ve got items on the calendar! You can take notes if you need to.

But they all occur in the first 2 weeks of June. What?! That’s it?! I want to enjoy summer and make my kid’s days fun but I don’t want to tear my hair out while planning out the fun. Also, I don’t want him living in front of the TV all summer either.  

Y’all, I don’t know what our parents did without the help of the internet or Pinterest! I know we all got shoved outside and told not to come home until the street lights came on, but this world today is a whole different ball game (Woohoo! We can go to a baseball game). And I wasn’t 2 ½ years old when my mom was shooing me out of the house.

I’ve got some simple summer activities planned too and they’re relatively cheap and easy!

  1. Place canvas on the ground (outside) and let them loose with paints
  2. Making several of the crafts posted on Vermont Moms
  3. Doing activities from Busy Toddler

There is so much out there I have found to do with my son that now I can plan some activities and not feel like we (I) wasted the whole summer thinking, “Now what” or memorizing lines from all the Disney Jr and Nick Jr cartoons. No doubt, most days will just happen or be lazy TV days but it makes this momma feel better that there is stuff out there for us to do that is also easy and free or inexpensive. There will be days he won’t get bored and drive me crazy(-er) because there’s nothing for him to do.

What simple summer activities have you planned to get through the dog days? Or, are you like me and searching for inspiration?

Check out more summer fun ideas from our team!

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School's Out… Now What? Simple Summer Activities

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Guest Writer: Erin Barnes

Erin Barnes lives in Houston, Texas. She is a 40-year-old mom of an almost two-year-old boy, Noah. She is married to a lovely, kind, and funny mister. She enjoys reading, working out, and playing with her son. She loves to spend time with her family and friends and is a huge fan of traveling. Before she became a stay-at-home mom, she worked in the oil industry at a machine shop. She enjoyed her job and is looking forward to going back to work in a few years. 


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