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 grkids.com 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. 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.
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!
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?