An Update on the Let’s Do This This Summer List

Our family is making progress on our “Let’s Do This This Summer” activities with kids list. Here’s what’s going well and what’s not.

My kids start back to school exactly 6 weeks from today.

Let that sink for a minute.

It’s June, guys. Some of you have barely unpacked the backpacks and I’m already thinking about the end of summer. I seriously don’t get why our summer calendar down here (I say down here because I think this is a problem throughout the southeast) is so short. It stinks.

But it definitely imparts a sense of urgency to keep pressing on and making our way through our “Let’s Do This, This Summer” list. Here’s a recap of the progress we’ve made and a few things that popped up along the way.

First, let’s start with what we’ve done that we didn’t plan for: 

A broken finger. Yep. Summer activities aren’t always risk-free when you’re an active 11-year old. In previous summers, we’ve had a chipped tooth and a broken arm. So I guess a broken pinky finger isn’t as bad as it could be. It does put a wrinkle in things like golf and neighborhood basketball, but with any luck (based on what the doctor told us yesterday) by the time we do our “Lake Trip” in a few weeks, we may even be un-splinted.

Now, an update on our overall summer “rules.” 

You may recall that I said in my “Let’s Do This, This Summer” activities with kids post a few weeks back that we’d be establishing a 2-hour screen time limit each day. We’ve been able to stick that, for the most part. Occasionally if I’m wrapped up taping a new episode for Season 2, a little extra time will creep in. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also doing the best I can this summer to balance working a little with parenting a lot. I can absolutely tell a behavior and attitude difference, especially in my older son, the more time my kids spend on iPads or iPods. Two hours may seem like a lot to those of you who have kids earning their time in 10-minute increments, but it’s a seismic shift from where we were before… so I’m considering that a win.

I also consider our shift toward daily chores a win. I’m almost ashamed to admit how little I’ve required of my boys over the years. I realized this year — when faced with the realization that at 11 and 8 my boys can’t do half of what I could do at their age — that I simply do TOO MUCH for them. Not only does that leave me overworked and stressed out, it robs them of the chance to learn. I discussed this in great detail yesterday with Becky Mansfield of Your Modern Family as we taped a show on Kids’ Chores for Season 2. Stay tuned for more on that.

Last, the progress we’ve made on “the list.”

The “Let’s Do This This Summer List”

-Youngest son teaches mom to play chess – DONE! Although I’m really not good at it. But at least now I know.

-Watch The Brady Bunch on Hulu – Doing this periodically, but my oldest son thinks it’s fairly lame. Instead, we’ve picked out some additional “old” shows to watch, mostly from two stations I discovered that play shows from my childhood. I shared all about this in the Facebook group. You can request to join and get in on the conversation here

-Watch at least one of the Star Wars movies (I referenced the listening order in The Lululemon Episode) – We’ve watched Episode 4 and 5 and my youngest son and I love it! The oldest boy says he’s not interested, but then I’ll find him glued to the screen… sigh… adolescents are a tough crowd.

-Watch The Greatest Showman – DONE and loved it!

-Practice golf – Getting this in little by little with my oldest; the broken finger situation has put a momentary hard stop to it, though.

-Do a 5K walk at the Savannah Rapids

-Visit Harry Potter Wizarding World while in Orlando – Everybody loved this!

summer activities with kids - harry potter wizarding world

-Do a weekly baking activity – My oldest has not only managed to make – from scratch – a Chocolate Fudge Cake, but he’s also learned to scramble eggs and has made breakfast (under my supervision) for the family twice. This is a HUGE win in my book.

summer activities with kids - baking cake

-Take the Authentic Happiness quiz Nadine Briggs mentioned in The Social Skills Episode

-Have kids shampoo/vacuum mom’s car (This is clearly not for fun, but I’m committed to getting back some sort of decency where these kids have wrecked my backseat.)

-Go to the pool. A lot. – Yep. It’s happening.

Master shoe tying – Master may have been a bold word. Progress here is slow. 

-Ride bikes – A little here and there; it’s just so darn hot!

-Read EVERY day – We’ve got some serious work to do here.

-Weekly board game – Um, yeah… hasn’t happened. Although, we are tackling a big puzzle and my plan is for board games on our lake trip.

-Thrift Store shopping spree – Both boys thought this stunk. And I found myself thinking “Where did this idea come from?”

-Make food pantry donations – We’ve gathered our donation, but more importantly, our church is hosting a meal assembly opportunity during the 9:30 am service this weekend. So we’re volunteering for that… something my boys have never done.

-Learn to unload/load dishwasher – They are almost pros at this by now.

-Learn podcast/video editing basics (This is my oldest son’s request) – Yikes. I totally forgot this was on the list.

-Make homemade ice cream – Done! And honestly, I think my husband is the one who liked it the most.

-Shell peas (because by golly if I had to do it every summer of my childhood, I want my kids to do it at least once) – Sigh. I can’t even FIND peas in the shell. The farmers market only offers shelled peas. Good grief we have too many conveniences in this world.

-Make a homemade peach cobbler (I feel like as Georgia residents this should be a summer rite of passage)

-Keep a plant alive all summer – Working on this

-Create a map pinboard of all the places we’ve been together

-Put together a puzzle – We *may* have outkicked our coverage on this one. It’s a 1000 piece Yoda puzzle and it’s tough.

summer activities with kids - puzzles

-DAILY CHORES (I’m pulling from ideas I read about on Your Modern Family.) – This is my favorite summer idea so far, for obvious reasons.

summer activities with kids doing chores

So there you have it. Six weeks to go on these summer activities with kids and I’m feeling pretty good about our progress. We still have our trip to Alaska and *maybe* a quick trip to Andersonville, GA to see the Civil War National Historic Site. Writing out this list was definitely the best way to actually DO the things we say each summer we’re gonna do. The boys look at the list occasionally and remind me — Hey mom… We need to work on the puzzle. Otherwise, I think we very likely would find ourselves hanging around the house each day, watching TV and playing Minecraft. There’s certainly something to be said for boredom. My boys probably need MORE of that, too. But the memories we’ve made this summer feel different — at least to me — and that’s what I was aiming for.

If you have a summer activities with kids list, let me know how it’s going. Comment below or send me an email: regan (at) thisunmillenniallife (dot) com. I’d love to hear from you!

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