First things first. I have to assume that most of my kids friends are going away for the summer. And potential baby-sitting friends too.
Whether it be abroad, all over Europe or Finland, to cottages or grandparents homes - I need to assume this. I don't typically have play dates set up every weekend like some families do but with summer and no day camps here for kids under five - I'm looking at filling the WHOLE day with as much fun and learning as possible. And without exhausting myself or a budget!
Next, I have to hope for an awesome summer - weather wise. Last summer I think was one of the best ones out of the nearly six years of living here. It was sunny and warm for about 95% of the summer and we made use of it everyday with trips to the playground and swimming in a lake in the evenings.
However that can get boring - constantly going the same places and I also have to remember that I now have 3 mobile children!
I need to also remember that the kids vary in age and that each child needs something different!
1. V-Man is five and needs schedules, routines of some kind, sensory stimulation and can easily get frustrated with us. He's also going to a new school in the fall, so the more fun and practice in social skills he has, the better overall and hopefully will ease him into a better transition for the new school.
2. A-Man is three and is fairly flexible. However he still needs that 2 hours nap during the day and refuses to nap at home. His tantrums from being the slightest bit tired are extreme and exhausting for us. So timing will be crucial and coming up with creative ideas too so he doesn't get bored.
3. M-Girl is one and this will be her first big summer that she gets to really explore and see what's around her. She's also a napper still and she's the most flexible out of the three for adapting to changes in plans and can nap while being carried or pushed in a pram.
I've found a lot of indoor ideas on Pinterest for rainy or stormy days and they are mostly sensory play or quiet play.
I love arts and crafts with the kids and some ideas I found were:
- Reading and regular trips to the library
- Hama bead crafts
- Painting with different tools or types of paint (ie Apple or potato stamping, whipped cream painting, using bubble wrap, egg cartons etc.)
- Threading pipe cleaners into a sieve
- Beads and string
- Threading large holed buttons
- Threading shoe laces into boards
- Cooking and baking
- Colour book made out of paint chip samples from the hardware store
- Busy boxes with certain activities for each day for quiet time.
- Making a sensory cloth book out of scraps of fabric (I assure you it won't be fancy coming from me!) to take with us anywhere.
- Creating a Postcrossing account for the three of them together and starting their own collection of postcards. Who doesn't love getting real mail?
- Sensory bottles - filling bottles with glitter glue and water and adding little objects inside for them to find.
- Potty training 2 kids. This I need to really push and try hard to get them both at least using the potty half the time (ideal) successfully.
For outdoor play or adventures:
- Go to the large garden shop and take a look at all the plants. I'm not a big green thumber myself but I think it could be fun.
- Have the kids start their own little plant buddy that they can water and watch it grow.
- The lake is nearby - so swimming is a definite choice to cool off in the evenings and get them to use up that last bit of energy they always seem to have in the evenings! (Case in point it's 8 pm and 2/3 are still bouncing about in a dark room, as I type this on my phone.)
- The woods are also nearby and we will also hopefully be able to pick berries! Last summer was crummy for berry season as it was so sunny and not as wet.
- We also enjoy hiking a lot!
- Bubbles and bubble snake makers, big bubbles...
- Chalk drawing
- Picnics! I recently got a stack-able stainless steel lunch container for all of our snacks!
- Museums on Fridays - it's free and if the exhibitions would interest younger children - then it could be fun.
- Grocery shopping at the local farmers market square, which is only available in the summer months. This is something I keep saying I'll do and this year I really want to push for it and support local. Even if it's a super far walk away...
- And because you pay cash at these outdoor markets, I'd be more likely to be careful how much I spend and less food would go to waste!
- Play dates of course when they're available.
- Camping - this is something that I think only SH would do with one child at a time or we could do together while V-Man is at overnight care. Mostly because if V-Man can open a zipper, there's a strong possibility of him trying to escape the tent.
- Train trip to Helsinki for a day and possibly Estonia by boat. This would have to be also when V-Man is away simply because he doesn't always do well with traveling and losing him in a big and unfamiliar place for us is nerve wrecking.
I'm not saying my kids will go a whole summer without a movie at home but I certainly want to decrease the oppourtunity and take advantage of not having to study myself as well.
So here's to a busy and budget friendly summer! (If the weather ever co-operates! Still getting some flurries occasionally and it's nearly May!