Plan Your Summer Countdown Calendar Today

by Sami

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Does the thought of planning your family’s summer countdown calendar have your stomach in knots? Have no fear. I’m taking a systematic approach to help your family have the best summer ever without blowing your budget.

How to plan your family's summer countdown calendar

Planning Your Family’s Summer Countdown Calendar Systematically

You know the scene: the kids are counting down the days until school ends and summer begins. But you’re nervous about the lack of schedule and amount of money all those summer activities cost.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

As a working mom, this concern is all too real. That being said, with a little planning and saving, this can be your family’s best summer ever! Allow me to give you a glimpse into the steps our family takes in the spring to ensure we have an intentional summer.

Schedule a family summer planning session

  • Plan a picnic on the weekend or even a finger-food carpet picnic at home and get everyone involved in planning your family’s summer.
  • There are many ways you can do this, but at a minimum, have each family member contribute one thing they consider a “must-do” this summer and one “dream” for this summer.
  • Download and fill out your free Summer planner from Cozi

Fill in all your commitments, both as individuals and as a family.

  • Tally how many total weeks of summer vacation you have
  • Tally how many weeks are left until summer vacation starts
opryland-summerfest-cone-family-pool

Plan one big WOW moment

  • After talking as a family and looking at openings in your calendar, plan one big summer event your entire family can participate in.
  • One idea is to take a road trip to a location just a few hours away, such as Dollywood, Atlanta or Chattanooga.
  • Or how about a staycation? You already know one of our favorites is Opryland’s SoundWaves, which opens their outdoor water attraction this summer and their annual SummerFest celebration takes place from May 24 through Sept. 2, 2019 and features The Smurfs this year! {BOOK YOUR OPRYLAND STAY HERE}
  • It can even be a day of being a tourist in our hometown of Nashville, visiting all the local landmarks and eating lots of yummy food. Whatever it is, just make sure everyone’s on board.
  • Put your WOW moment on the calendar and countdown how many days until you leave. This gives your family something to look forward to as kids push through the last hectic weeks of school, plus gives you time to save. That way when kids want to go out to eat or buy something on a whim, you can point them back to the bigger goal you’re all savings towards.
Dollywood-Splash-Country-rafts

Fill in your calendar with a combination of three categories

Think about breaking down your family’s summer activities into the following three categories:

1. New things to learn/do.

New things could be a week-long camp learning to code or cook, or perhaps visiting somewhere new together. This could look like:

  • Learn to Cook (look for classes at Sur La Table, Whole Foods or Williams Sonoma)
  • Learn to Code or Animate at the free Apple Summer Camp
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Check out your county’s day camps (affordable rates for residents)
  • Visit Nashville favorites like Cheekwood, the Frist or CMHOF for their kids’ summer activities.
apple camp

2. Summer Favorites

Summer favorites might be visiting a neighborhood pool or your church’s VBS. These are some of our favorites, but let this just be a short list to trigger your own favorite summer memories:

  • Swim team/swimming at a neighborhood pool or YMCA.
  • Downtown fountains at Shelby or Bicentennial Park
  • Visit the Famer’s Market
  • Take a popsicle tour of Nashville (we love Las Paletas in 12 South)
  • Catch a free outdoor concert (I’ve found great deals at Ascend Amphitheater on Groupon)
  • Camping (try a new TN park – check out the National Park get in free days)
  • Go berry picking
  • Visit a fire station
  • Catch fireflies

3. Down time (yes, this means no screen!)

Downtime should be fueled by books, art supplies, and bikes. Try this list for inspiration:

  • Gather your recycling bucket and turn it out on the deck or driveway along with markers and tape and let kids create.
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Create a photo journal of their summer adventures (we love using Shutterfly free photo books to preserve our summer memories)
  • Make homemade ice cream or pizza and eat dessert first for dinner!
  • Sign up for the library’s summer reading program (& earn great prizes in the process too)

If the thought of summer is more stressful than sublime, these lists should help get you started planning your summer countdown calendar. Remember, the goal isn’t to make everyone happy all of the time, but to make each person in your family feel heard, included and challenged to make this summer unique.

You may also want to check out my post on free summer fun in and around Nashville.

Watch my video from Talk of the Town on the same topic!

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