Schools out for summer!
So, the kids are out of school for the summer and you are scrambling to find activities to keep them busy and having fun. However, you find yourself
- constantly stressed and under pressure coming up with budget-friendly ideas
- you hate the idea of the kids sitting in front of the television – but you need a break
- you feel guilty your not the perfect parent, providing the kids with the best summer.
As you’re putting all of this pressure on yourself, have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, you don’t have to go through all of this alone?
Have you ever heard the saying,
“It takes a Village”
This sentiment will always ring true. These days, it can feel like we are all alone in this parenthood journey. We can find ourselves wanting to do it all; from working to keeping a clean house, to providing our children with healthy meals, to being a fun and present parent. The thing is, though, when we try to do it all, we end up not doing any of it well. Building a parenting village can be so beneficial for you and your family.
As a child, I remember my mother doing a summer fun exchange program with some other mothers in the neighborhood. I have fond memories of learning new talents and getting to know my neighbors better. So naturally the summer I couldn’t afford any lessons or camps I decided to call on my village and do the same.
What better way to build your parenting tribe than through a summer camp exchange program?
What is a Summer Camp Exchange Program?
A summer exchange program is a program you can form within your own neighborhood where parents sign up to take turns teaching everybody’s kids something new. One parent may teach the kids bread-making. Another may teach them all about playing the ukulele. And another may teach the kids how to make science experiments from things in their kitchen. The possibilities are truly endless and this program is the perfect opportunity to present parents with a much-needed break to squeeze in all of the work they’ve been pushing off while making sure the kids are still having a great time.
I saw it as having at least a few benefits
- Gives parents a much-needed break- When it is not your turn to host you can get caught up on what you need to.
- Teaches the kids new skills
- Gives the kiddos something to do besides watching tv
- It shouldn’t cost you
- And more…
How to Put Your Summer Exchange Program Together
Begin by reaching out to the parents in your neighborhood, whether it be through the group chat, Facebook page, or however you tend to communicate with each other. I will provide an example below of the note I sent out to the parents of my neighborhood in order to help you get an idea of what to send.
If the parents are interested they pick a day that works best with their schedule to have the kids over at their place. Then ask the parents to choose an activity they would like to teach the children. This activity shouldn’t be stressful for the parents. They can teach a talent they have or teach a skill. Just have fun.
Once all of the dates and activities are picked, send out a calendar with the rotation so everybody is aware of the days they will have the kids. Under each parent’s name, write what they will be teaching so the kids can have an idea of what to expect to do that day.
As the rotation goes, the kids can choose whether or not to attend the activity at the parent’s house to learn something new, giving them an opportunity to get off the couch and socialize with the kids from the neighborhood.
I had kids in different age groups so we made three groups and scheduled all the age groups at the same time assuring each mother a higher chance of “break/catch up time”
When your day comes around
Gather all of your supplies together and try to set up a schedule so you are not scrambling to figure out what to do next. If necessary, text the other parents what to send their children over with whatever they may need for the activity. For example, if the kids are going to be playing on a slip and slide, make sure the parents know to send them in their swimsuits. When the kids are over, embrace the time you are spending with them and have fun with it! You are building memories that will last you a lifetime.
This summer exchange program may be just what you need to relieve some pressure and get the tasks done that have been stressing you out. You don’t have to be the parent that does it all. Parenting takes a village. This summer exchange program is the perfect way to build that village.
The exact message I sent out
Summer Exchange Program Message Example
SUMMER HANG OUT EXCHANGE
Objective: Have a planned place/ activity to meet and hang out for a few hours a week (ages ___).
Action: Parents/ kids take turns hosting an event of their choosing at their house during the summer (this can be as easy or complex as you want).
Kids rotate to the scheduled houses to hang out, learn something and have fun (not TV or video games. Only old-fashioned fun).
- Learn swim strokes
- Water games
- Murder mystery meals
- Scavenger hunts
- Music and games
- Mad scientist experiments
- Math/ science Olympics
- Jewelry making
- Cupcake decorating
- Photography fun
- Music jam
- Talent show
- Board games
- Learn ukulele or guitar
- Service project
- Build a cardboard derby car for future race
- Build marshmallow shooters and have a war
Be creative and let the kids come up with something fun
If your child would like to participate, please pick a day that you could host at your house and if you have a general idea of what kind of activity you may do. Then, the kids can come and go as they are in town and want something to do. This is not intended to be stressful, just fun, but something more than hang out and watch tv. Share your talents.
(List of dates and age groups)
Age Group 5-8
Age Group: 9-12
Age Group: 13-15
Have an amazing summer and enjoy those kiddos they grow up fast!
What things do you do to pass the summer?
See our Pinterest for more summer fun ideas