Camp Jar

I am completely drooling over the Family Summer Center featured on Craft. The basic idea is to have a family camp of sorts, and to plan out your summer activities. I love the organization and the planning, plus the beautiful crafty calendar center. The thing is, though, I totally don’t have time to put something like this together. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized we don’t really need anything this involved.

I use Goodreads to keep track of my books (the Craft thing has a section for books you plan on reading over the summer), and while I love the thought of a three-month calendar where you can see everything that’s scheduled, we have all kinds of calendars (including a good one-month one that lives on the fridge and gets updated frequently). I think the most important part of this, to me, is the pile of planned goals and activities.

Since we have somewhere around a million jars, I got a jar and a cardboard envelope from the recycling, and wrote a whole bunch of potential activities onto cardboard strips. Here’s what I came up with, in about ten minutes:

I started to realize that pretty much everything I was listing was a very mom-centric activity, and while I do of course want to spend time with my children, I want them to do plenty of independent time too. So I think the plan will be this: every morning we’ll pull one thing out of the jar, and that will be our morning activity. The afternoon will be for free play. That way we’ll all get moving, and it will give the day some structure, so we don’t suddenly realize that it’s 2:00 and everyone is still in pajamas (not that there’s anything wrong with that, really, but it’s nice to know you did something at some point during the day). Plus I’m hoping that the morning activity will inspire the independent play for the afternoon, like if we go for a walk in the woods in the morning, they can gather sticks for a craft or pretend to be birds or something.

My other major thought here is that if we pick out, say, cookie baking, that we’ll pick a new cookie recipe and learn a bit about where it comes from, and also continue our food chemistry lessons. Or if we go for a walk in the woods we’ll identify some trees and birds.

From now until school ends, I’m going to add items as actively as I can, and hope to get 60 or so by the beginning of summer. Any ideas?

My other task will be to make up a big list of home improvement goals for the next few months, both so Dave and I can have a tangible list hanging in the kitchen to look at, but also so the kids (even though they can’t read), will have a notion of what it is we’re doing what with the table saws and pneumatic nailers and all.

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