You’ll Love How This Mom Keeps Her Kids Engaged Over Summer Break

[pullquote_left]by Stephanie Pearson[/pullquote_left]

Fending Off Summer Brain Drain

Summer is here…and I am so excited! Having three active kids, I long for days of relaxation, less running around, and lots of fun!

I still go a little crazy scheduling activities and even have a Summer Bucket List Jar, inspired by this post, but for the most part we don’t HAVE to do anything.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that as my kids age, along with all the fun comes a bit of brain drain and laziness.Β After a day of fun, the kids were too tired to read at night, too busy to do chores and too distracted or “hot” to practice anything.


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Camp Mom: Keeping Minds and Bodies Active, All Summer Long!

So last summer we kicked off “Camp Mom,” with the intention of keeping their little minds and bodies in action all summer long. Each week my kids (ages 9, 7 and 5) had the ability to earn up to $7.50 (or about $60 for the entire summer) by doing two hours of ‘work’ each day. The ‘jobs’ were split between 6 categories, reading, writing, math, cleaning, physical activity and practice.


Camp Mom Activity Options

  • Reading (20 minutes) – Also counted toward the numerous summer reading programs they were participating in. (Aka more incentive!)
  • Writing (15 minutes) – We picked out dollar store journals at the kick-off and each child received points for writing about their day (or the previous day, if they wanted to journal in the morning). My then 4-year-old even participated! She would tell me what to write for her day, and then would draw a picture to go along with it.
  • Math (20 minutes) – Workbooks, flashcards, card and dice games, and computer games such as XtraMath and IXL were all options.
  • Cleaning (15 minutes) – The kids picked a job from our cleaning schedule. Some popular choices were emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the toilets (yes, really…my son loves this task), vacuuming the stairs, cleaning sinks, dusting and washing base boards.
  • Physical Activity (20 minutes) – Camps and sporting events counted, as well as just playing outside. On rainy days the Wii was even implemented for games such as Just Dance and Wii Sports. I figure anything that keeps them moving is worth a quarter!
  • Practice (30 minutes) – The kids could work on anything they wanted to improve upon. They practiced piano, sports, knitting, typing, handwriting, archery and more!cleaning2

I put together a timesheet that included a spot for each child to easily check off their completed tasks each day, making it easy to know what they earned on pay day.

My kids were surprisingly (extremely) motivated by this and are already talking about kicking off again this year! They would literally wake up and knock out all off the categories instead of watching TV, leaving the rest of our day for summer fun!


The best part for me was that I wasn’t forcing them to do these things. The option was simply there. If they chose to participate, they raked in the dough. If they didn’t, they lost out…but it was their choice.

How do you keep your kids motivated to move and grow during the summer months?

17 thoughts on “You’ll Love How This Mom Keeps Her Kids Engaged Over Summer Break”

  1. I really don’t agree with this. Kids should do these things as part of everyday living. When I was a kid, I asked for an allowance. I was was then given a budget lesson on how much music lessons cost, gas to get to the lessons, how much the instruments cost, how much food, clothing, books, etc cost. I never asked again. I personally have never paid my child to do these things. It is expected. Are kids that get paid to do simple things going to expect more β€œpay” in the future for doing what is expected?

  2. I love reading your stuff! You make me laugh & hate myself at the same time πŸ˜€ Since my kids tend to fall into a summer vacation coma, this looks like what my babysitter & I need to keep them sharp over these brain-dead months. Not only does it give them incentive, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment, it also gives them expectations like they have during school, somewhat like a schedule…my kids need a schedule! Thanks for your sharing your ideas with all of us!!!!

  3. Love this idea Stephanie!! My daughter just asked me yesterday how kids can earn money. Presented this idea to my kids this morning and they loved it, we are starting Monday πŸ™‚

  4. Such an amazing idea! What a great way to motivate the kids and allow them an opportunity to learn responsibility and good choices! Can’t wait to use this this summer to keep my kiddos from being lazy!

  5. I LOVE that the “jobs” aren’t all chores! ‘Seems like it would help keep “drudgery” out of the ones that ARE chores! and the choice idea is perfect! I’m going to get right on it with my sons!! thanks!!!

  6. Great ideas! I do a similar thing between Thanksgiving and Christmas for Christmas money. Awesome idea for summer vacation as well!!

  7. Brooke Monsewicz

    Having once witnessed a teenager literally never come downstairs for an entire summer, I think your plan is amazing. It teaches responsibility and accountability. It also helps prepare them for the real world, where we don’t get summers off. Too many kids have things simply handed to them, and can be so ungreatful. Another great idea Stephanie! Keep it up.

  8. Love this idea!! A fun way for kiddos to learn responsibility, making money and keeping those little minds active. Printing out my chart today!!!

  9. Just spoke to my kids about this and they are super excited!! Its so hard at age 5 and 7 to know how to earn money toward things they are saving for and I being a responsible parent don’t just want to hand them money for nothing. That practice will teach them nothing in life about financial responsibility. It’s a win win situation. My kids will be busy keeping their brains and body fresh and active over the summer and they will be earning their spending money. Plus teaching them that parents aren’t the only ones responsible for keeping up a house that we all live in is a great life learned lesson. Thanks Stephanie for your genius idea!!!

  10. Steve and Mary

    Great way to teach time management and entrepreneurship. Most importantly, it appears to work and the kids are having fun and being productive.

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