Get ready to have some fun over the next ten weeks!  Each week, there will be five activities, one per weekday, that you can do at home with your kids.  Adapt them to their age and ability levels, and do not feel like Monday’s activity has to be done on Monday…make it work for your schedule!

Ready?  Here we go!

MONDAY:  Its a Kickoff the Summer Party Day!  Our summer schedules haven’t gotten quite as busy as they will yet, so we’re taking today to celebrate summer.  Each summer, I have my kids decorate a t-shirt on this day.  You can go all-out and tie dye or simply throw out the markers and let your kids go nuts.  Either way, we use a cheap undershirt, and this shirt becomes our “theme shirt” for the summer.  We may use it for craft projects that might get a tad too icky or as a cover-up after swimming.  The sky is the limit with this one!  In addition to the t-shirt decorating, we bring out the bowls, spoons and a bit of ice cream for a celebratory toast to the beginning of summer.  One year, we made root beer floats, and if you don’t want to use soda, try vanilla ice cream and grape kool-aid…it is AWESOME together!

TUESDAY: I try to incorporate at least one kitchen activity into each week.  Not only do I think kids should be in the kitchen early to learn to cook, but there are so many other lessons that stem from cooking – measuring and following directions to name a couple.  Today, we’re boiling spaghetti, ziti and elbow macaroni.  We are actually having spaghetti tonight for dinner; the ziti and elbow macaroni are simply left over from other meals, and so we’re cooking them up as well.  Once the noodles are done, we’re going to COLOR them (not the spaghetti we’re going to eat, although that would be fun – weird, but fun – too).  Place some cooked pasta in a ziplock bag and add a few drops of food coloring and a bit of vinegar.  Squish the pasta until the desired richness of the color is achieved.  Want green?  Mix blue and yellow.  Need some purple?  Try red and blue food coloring.  What a great way to work on primary and secondary colors!  Once the pasta is all dyed, use it to create an amazing art piece.  Glue the pasta down on construction paper or cardboard.  Let it set overnight to dry, and you have a unique masterpiece sure to leave your tummy rumbling!

WEDNESDAY:  Ta da!  Every Wednesday at our house is library day, and the first one is a biggie.  Today is the day we sign up for the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  We participate every year, so it is a BIG EVENT for us to go over there each summer.  I let the kids check out their own books with their own cards, and we begin our summer reading together.  Another alternative would be to start a book swap with friends.  Trade books with friends for the week, which is essentially like going to the library but could be with the dude next door.  Regardless of how you decide to approach this, make one day a week a dedicated “book day”.  We’ll do activities all summer that involve this day.

THURSDAY:  It is hot here, so we’re making Thursdays our water play days!  Granted, if it is raining on Thursday (which would be monumental, since my home is in a drought area), we’ll move this activity to another day, but for the sake of the schedule, I’m putting it here.  Today, we’re painting fences.  Give kids a huge bucket of water and a large paintbrush or roller.  Then, let them have at it on the fence, the sidewalk, the side of the garage – wherever your child wants to paint!  Since it is only water, it will not harm anything, and kids love to see how much area they can cover before it all evaporates!  Are the kids getting hot?  Let them paint each other!  Why not?

FRIDAY:  Today we’re having GAME DAY.  And, I’m letting them choose.  There is a rule, though, that must be followed; they have to choose a game they have either never played or haven’t played in the past 4 – 6 months.  While my kids love games, they love the same games over and over and over.  And, quite frankly, there’s only so much “Star Wars Monopoly” and “Uno” a mom should be made to play in a year.  So, we’re dusting off the boxes and finding one we haven’t seen in a while.  Video games and “solo games” are not allowed…it is a group activity.  Games are a great way to bond with your child and spend quality time with him or her.  Lacking in the game area?  Make one of your own, from a simple handmade board game to a matching game with a preschooler!

That’s it for this week!  Check back next Monday for Week 2!