9 Hacks to Make the Most out of Summer Vacation with Kids

Which Kind of Summer Vacation Mom are You?

There are two kinds of stay-at-home parents:

YAY! Summer Vacation Mom

You welcome summer vacation and are completely stress free as you and your kids just wing it every day, stumbling upon adventures and just brushing off the daily squabbles between siblings.

“Oh no!” Summer Vacation Mom

You dread summer vacation. Endless days of kids crying that they’re bored, endless hours of sibling fights, endless minutes of chaos and disorder.

This post is for us “oh no!” parents.

We all desperately wish we were always like the Yay! parents. But we are not.

We crave order and quiet. We crave time to clean the house or work at our work-from-home jobs.

If you’re wondering how to enjoy the season most of us Michiganders live for, the three short months of summer and lake fun, I’ve got ideas to help make that happen.

Fast Lane

With Fast Lane, avoid the crowded aisles, skip the checkout lines – and save time and energy for everything else.

9 Hacks for Crushing Summer Break With Kids

Enjoying Summer Break Takes Planning

There may be other ways to enjoy summer break with kids, but the only way I know is to plan, plan and plan some more. You can still be “spur of the moment” mom – as long as you plan it out! 

Check out these ideas for Summer Schedule/managing kids over summer break.

1 – Create a Monthly Calendar for Your Summer Schedule

Put it on the fridge or somewhere visible, listing all the activities scheduled for each month. Kids can see what is coming up and feel a sense of order.

2 – Use a Daily Schedule Over Summer Break

Thinking I’m off my rocker yet? Kids crave parameters. And the great thing about summer break is that nothing terrible will happen if you go off schedule.

In fact, it’s probably fun to point out to kids, “Well, we were going to clean our rooms today, but let’s to go the beach instead!” (Which you had secretly planned, but now they think you’re an amazing spontaneous mom and won’t even wonder how you suddenly have a cooler packed with a beach lunch).

Don’t feel like a beach day? This schedule is here for you.

Summer Daily Schedule for kids

3 – Have Daily Chores for Kids

This can be part of their morning routine. Everyone likes feeling useful.

Create tasks that are age appropriate and explain to kids that they earn their screen time (or ice cream that afternoon or whatever) by completing chores accurately, and without complaint.

4 – Give Each Day of the Week a Theme

This year I want to check out a new trail every week. So Tuesdays will be Trails Day.

Since I’m a homebody, every afternoon’s fun time won’t be to go somewhere. And if the weather is better on Wednesday than Tuesday to go hiking, we’ll move things around.

But this helps me remember to do these fun things, and helps the kids have something to look forward to.

Other special days might be theme days, like Movie Monday, where we watch a movie and have popcorn, or Wacky Wednesday, where we dress in silly outfits and eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.

Make it fun and make it your own!

5 – Enroll Kids in Summer Camps When Possible

This is a great way to keep kids busy and to shake up the long weeks of summer.

There are tons of Grand Rapids Summer Camps. Find the one(s) that are the best fit for your kids and your schedule.

john ball zoo summer camp campers
John Ball Zoo Summer Camp

6 – Go Outside and Play

Take advantage of the warmth and sun and make sure to get outside every day, rain or shine. Take a walk, run through the sprinkler (or splash pad!), hit up an outdoor activity center or try a new playground.

If it’s raining, run through the rain or have a puddle jumping contest – who can make the biggest splash?

Soaking up that vitamin D (it’s SO good for you!) and having outdoor activity time is so important for ALL of our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Millennium Park Splash Pad

7 – Manage Screen Zombies with Screen Slips

It’s easy for kids to waste away summer looking at screens. Screens are addicting! And kids can’t self-monitor their screen use.

Screen slips can help motivate kids to accomplish meaningful tasks each day before they log in to their iPads or video games.

(Wondering how much is too much? UofM Health-West has some great tips for handling screen time in kids.)

Boy using screen time to do school work.

8 – Keep a Summer Adventure Bag in the Car

Pack a bag with the stuff you’ll need for impromptu adventures – sunscreen, towels, water, bandaids, bug spray, sun hats, extra clothes, etc.

That way you’re not scrambling to prep things for every outing. And if you’re out and about and decide to change plans, chances are you’ll have the gear to accommodate that.

9 – Avoid Taking Kids in the Grocery Store with Grocery Pickup Service

Grocery shopping with little kids is dizzying.

Ordering groceries online from Family Fare Fast Lane is a huge time saver. You can choose curbside pickup, or in some neighborhoods, they will deliver to you!

There’s nothing like coming home from a day away and having a tasty, easy meal ready to make without having to haul your tired self into the grocery store.

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