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Plan Now for Summer Fun

by Deb McLeod

Warning, danger. Summer break is right around the corner.

Ok, it's not riiiight around the corner, but it will sneak up and be here before you know it. Are you ready for your kids' summer break? Are you prepared to give them a great break?

Summer break is a special time for kids, and you can do much to ensure that they remember their summer breaks with fondness and laughter.

Summer box

It all starts with the development of a summer box. But warning - after you begin this tradition, your children will look for their box every year.

A summer box is nothing more than a box that you fill with goodies for summer. It might include a calendar of events, treats, outdoor fun toys, new video games or movies and new books. It could include games or toys or anything that your children enjoy doing.

How to build the box

First, find a box you want to use as the summer box. You can re-purpose a box you already have (say, box from a recent purchase like a computer printer), or you can purchase one for this purpose. Think about something sturdy that can be used for as long as summer break lasts. Your children will be in and out of the box often.

If you have more than one child, you can make boxes for each child, or you can provide one box for all the children, with some items that are for specific children.

If you decide to re-purpose a box, have some fun with it. Buy a can of chalkboard paint and paint the entire box with the chalkboard paint and then use sidewalk chalk to decorate it with pictures you draw and perhaps your children's names. You might even hint as to the contents of the box.

What to put in the box?

The best thing about planning the summer box is that it forces you to think about summer. If you want to register your child in that art day camp that always fills up, planning and orchestrating a summer box now helps remind you that now is also the time to sign up for the camp.

As you go about signing your children up for things and booking summer travel, start a summer calendar for each child. Add dates and activities as you plan things, and keep adding to the calendar until the last day of school.

Go shopping.
Now is the time to get the best summer goodies before they are gone. Children of all ages enjoy these kinds of summer toys:

♣ Water balloons
♣ Beach balls
♣ Sidewalk chalk
♣ Flashlights (for those all-important late-night flashlight tag games)
♣ Art supplies
♣ Sand toys

Then, think about the specific interests of your children.

If you have one child that's a video game fanatic, you might include a new video game. Of course, you can still remind that child there will be limitations on playtime, but adding a game to the box is also a subtle way of letting your child know you are interested in their interests.

Have a child that would spend every waking summer moment on his or her bike if possible? How about a new bike horn or helmet?

If your kids love going to the movies in the summer, you can add some movie candy to the box, or even some inexpensive DVDs for those days when it's just too hot (or stormy) to be outside much.

To balance the box, make sure you cover all the bases:

♣ A calendar (so your child can know what's on the agenda as far as vacations, day camps, swimming lessons and parties go)

♣ Some fun and silly toys like the water balloons and beach balls

♣ Something to read (new books or magazines)

♣ Special items your kids might need for camp or vacation

♣ A photo album or special box for your child to save summer keepsakes

♣ Special items that are specific to your child's interests and hobbies

Finally, one great advantage of planning the summer box now is that you can take advantage of coupons and sales to get good deals on all of your summer box items.

Have your box ready by the last day of school and include a special treat for that day's afterschool snack. Your kids will need their nourishment before they head outside to play with all their fun summer box goodies.

Editor's note: how do you plan ahead for summer? Use the comment area below to share your ideas.

Categories: Activities, Family, MomShare,

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