We've already been out of school for two weeks, but the first week I had the girls in a Girl Scout camp, and last week we were off on a fabulous family reunion vacation (which I will probably not blog about, but you can catch all the fun on Instagram @disco_mom.)
So today was really our first official day of summer break as far as I'm concerned. Meaning, the first day I had to take charge. Last year, we had Summer Fun Club. It worked so well, we are pretty much doing the same this year.
It is even less of a big deal than it sounds. We stay busy in the morning - errands, swim lessons, playdates, etc. Then we have lunch, and Poppy goes down for a nap. We all have quiet time for 1-2 hours - I go in my room and close the door (today I read until I fell asleep for a quick nap), Hazel and Ginger are free to play quietly, read, do art, etc. - anything but TV. Then I emerge, supposedly refreshed, and we do an activity together. I keep a notebook with activity ideas, and plan them a week at a time to make sure I have the things we need. These are very simple. They mostly require little to no prep work and little to no cost. Just something for us to do together for a bit of fun to pass the afternoon and not turn our tempers sour or our brains to mush.
The most important thing about Summer Fun Club is presentation. We have our badges that we made last year; we make putting them on a bit ceremonious, to mark the start of our FUN. If someone gets upset or ceases to have fun, I will commence in tickling or other silliness until fun is restored. This is not my general parenting personality, so it's a treat for them to have me act this way. And finally, it's always a surprise, what we're doing. I never tell them ahead of time - that would give them time for the novelty to wear off, or for them to consider it might not be that fun. It's not the activities that make SFC a success; it's presentation and the element of surprise.
Most of what I have planned for the first few weeks are things I've been accumulating in the storage closet. Birthday gifts the girls received and haven't used yet (we get so many craft kits.) Games or activities I got for this or that occasion and we never used, or only used once. And then there are some favorites from last year they've requested. I will hardly have to come up with any new ideas for SFC 2013. But I will. One or two, at least.
So today, to start off our SFC season, we gathered at 3:30 (I'd fallen asleep so we didn't really get going until Poppy and I were both up), donned our badges, and headed out to the deck to do Moon Sand.
Moon Sand is like a hybrid of sand and play-doh. It's crumbly, but moldable. Reminded me of an eggless cookie dough - you can press it together, but it also crumbles apart. At first, the girls weren't sure what to make of it; neither was I. We made a lot of mountains.
Poppy got bored smashing it.
Then we started coming up with challenges, and made some fun stuff.
Poppy started treating the big tub of it like a garden, pretending to plant seeds, pat it down, and water it.
It gave us a good 1.5 hours of fun. And it did make a big mess, so clean-up followed.