11 Tips to Help You Prepare for Summer Vacation

Ville.fi, Flickr

In many parts of the country, the end of the school year is rapidly approaching. Some students will get out as early as mid-May, while others get out in June. What does this mean? This means parents will be scrambling for ideas to keep their kids busy in order to avoid the “I’m bored,” chorus – whilst maintaining their sanity during the long summer school hiatus. The following tips are designed to help!

soccer team
Pedrito Guzman, Flickr

1. Schedule Camps and Activities

Many parents feel like they cannot afford pricey summer camps. The truth is that if you check with your local recreation department, school system, and the library – you can find very reasonably priced half-day camps that can introduce your children to new people and activities that vary from venues from sports to art. Often, many high school athletic programs offer sports camps, and if you live near a local college, you can also find that they offer many cheap or even free camps during the summer for educational enrichment geared to your child’s age group, designed to help season ‘teachers in training.’ Who knows – the next flute player or artist could emerge from one of these summer camps. (Plus, they give you an hour or two each day to get errands done in peace).

intex pool
Image via Amazon

2. Get a Backyard Pool

My kids love to swim, and we don’t have a local swimming pool since we don’t live in a community. Each year we have set up one of those Intex pools in the yard, and have been extremely pleased with the way they hold up, and how affordable they are. It has been a God-sent in keeping the kids busy.


tanakawho, Flickr

3. Stay on a Schedule

Sure, the kids and you want to sleep in and be lazy. Summer should be much more spontaneous than the school year. However, try to stay somewhat on a schedule to ensure your kids are getting enough rest. The easiest way to turn your household into a chaotic mess is to have exhausted kids.

Image via Singing Through the Rain

4. Meal Plan

When the kids are home all day, they will eat you out of house and home. In the summer, I find that it is especially important to meal plan, and do my best to keep healthy snacks on hand. Additionally, I save money by staying away from pre-packaged school lunch type foods, and tend to cook in bulk on Sundays so that my fridge is full of easy to heat, ready meals.

outing jar
Image via Blue Skies Ahead

5. Hold an Outing Lottery

We use a mason jar, where each of my kids writes down their ideas for a daily outing. Then one day each week, we choose form the jar and take a road trip. Look up your state park directory and you might be very surprised at how many amazing landmarks there are right in your backyard. I try to keep the drive time under 2 hours, and look for places that aren’t touristy in order to save money.

water park
lostinmiami, Flickr

6. Buy Season Tickets

If you are lucky enough to live near a water park, or amusement park – you will be surprised how cheap season tickets are for an entire family. For the five of us, we can purchase season tickets to Six Flags, which allow us entry for the entire summer for the same cost as one visit. This can break the monotony of the summer and gives the kids something to look forward to.


group of happy kids
Image via iStock

7. Team Up With Other Moms

Schedule play dates, and team up with other parents to schedule outings at local parks, or at one another’s homes. Not only is this good for YOU to socialize, but it is also good for you. Plus, it’s an inexpensive way to spend a day.

In case any problems arise, find out how to Solve Playdate Battles here!

red box
Valerie Everett, Flickr

8. Redbox

On rainy days, there is nothing more satisfying than a RedBox rental and some homemade popcorn and Sno-Caps. Definitely less expensive than going to a movie at the theater!

check list
Image via iStock

9. Have a To-Do List

Does the fence need painting? What about the living room? Are the closets a mess, or do you need to do yard work? Ever since my kids were little, I have used the summer time to tend to home improvement projects that seem too looming during the hustle and bustle of the school year. And I have empowered the kiddos to help. You might be surprised how well much help they can actually be.

Image via Natalie Hoage for EverydayFamily

10. Plant a Garden

A garden is a gift that’s keeps on giving all summer long. Plus, the time needed to make sure that everything grows, stays watered and weeded – is a wonderful family project. Plus, the kids learn a valuable lesson by watching their hard work come to a literally fruitful end.


visit-with-family-summer (1)
Image via iStock

11. Visit Family

Personally, we aren’t a Disney World family. We use the summer time to visit family members out of town, and plan vacations to their homes rather than to ritzy destinations. Luckily, my parents live in Florida – so we can get a beach vacation without staying in a pricy hotel.

{Related: 7 Road Trip Essentials When Traveling with Kids}


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11 Tips to Help You Prepare for Summer Vacation

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. I used to like this site, but then you said to go to RED BOX! haha!! Just kidding! But Family Video is a much better choice!! I promise!! 😉 Kids have free movies, you can get older movies for a dollar for 5 nights, and you can get new releases the day they are available!! With Red Box you have to wait 30 days!! Just saying!!

  2. KaelinRae says:

    There are a lot of good ideas here. Right now I don’t have the space in the back yard for a pool. But my sister is thinking about getting one and she only lives a couple miles away. It would be a great chance for the family to get together. We also like to do cook outs.


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