Summer Activity Jars

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Use these Summer Activity Jars to keep the kids happy and engaged with fun activities, chores and exercise with less whining!  (hopefully, lol)

Summer Activity Jars- Keep kids happy and engaged with fun activities, chores and exercise with less whining!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of school!!!  Whoo hoo,  I am so happy, no more 6 am wake ups!  With summer vacation starting next week, I’ve been thinking a bit about how I ‘m going to handle our chores, reading and other fun activities this summer.  I want to keep them my guys on a schedule and make sure things get done, but I want it to be fun.  (As fun as a chore can be, anyway…)

The kids do have certain chores that I want done almost every day.  The chores are currently getting done, but not without a lot of crying, complaining and whining.  I get it, I don’t like doing chores either, but everyone still has to pitch in.  I’ve decided to try a new system this summer: Activity “jars.”  I made one for chores, one for special activities and one for exercise.   (Ha ha, the exercise one is more for me, but how “fun” will it be if we all do them together…)  You really can use them with any theme or activity.


The plan is:  every day, at chore time, each child will pull a stick from the chore jar and we will all do a chore together.  (If a certain chore doesn’t need to be done, I’ll be sure to remove the stick.)  We will also pull one exercise stick and do whatever it specifies and on Tuesdays and Thursdays (or any other day we need it.) And on days we need to have a little extra fun, we’ll pull a fun stick.

The best part is that these activity jars were very easy to make.  I used mason jars, and gave them a couple of coats of paint and added labels using chalk cloth I already had.  (Have you ever seen chalk cloth?  It is a thick fabric that has vinyl like material on one side that you can write on just like a chalk board.  If you can’t get your hands on chalk cloth, you can always use chalk stickers or chalkboard paint.)

Supply list:

I used a template to cut the ovals.  (Have you ever tried to freehand a perfect oval?  Good luck on that!)

And then ran the chalk cloth ovals through my little sticker machine.

I love this machine, it makes a sticker out of anything…  You just rub, peel and voila, you have a sticker!


For the sticks, I used popsicle sticks and covered one side with washi tape.  Easy Peasy!  On the backs, I wrote out the chores and activities.


Exercise:  (I need to come up with a few more exercises, what do you suggest?)


I’m contemplating paying them money if they successfully complete their chores and exercises with NO whining.  My plan is to get a stack of dollar bills from the bank, put the bills in one big jar and pay them only if they don’t whine.  (I want to help them earn some money to spend on our vacation this summer.)  I thought the visual reminder of the cash would help.  I also told them they would get one warning for the first week and after that, no warning.  Is this bad parenting?  I just don’t know… What are your thoughts on this?  Any suggestions?  I’m all ears.

Summer Activity jars

(ugh- my hand writing is atrocious!) *update:  It’s amazing how much easier it is to use these chalk markers!


For all our other activities, we will be following the same schedule we’ve used the last couple of years.  (You know the old saying, If it ain’t broke…)

image source:  Somewhat Simple

Monday will be for our craft projects.
Tuesday a trip to the library.
Wednesday, baking something child appropriate like cookies, pizzas, ice cream…
Thursday, math and handwriting lessons, special outings.
Friday is playdate and pool day.

I also bought them some workbooks to do over the summer.  I have found the best time to do these and have our reading time is right after breakfast.

We have done some great craft projects over the last couple of years, if you need some inspiration, you can click here to see everything labeled kids crafts.  Or here for a few kids cooking activities.

Have a very fun summer!
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  1. cestlavie22 says:

    This is a great idea! I think it will make everything a bit more fun and less routine which kids need!

  2. Laura Silva says:

    Thank you for linking up to The Creative Exchange. I am featuring your project this week. Hope you have a wonderful week! xo, Laura

  3. Kimberly Lewis says:

    Great idea! Pinned. Lou Lou Girls

  4. Tori Grant says:

    Your jars turned out too cute! I love the idea behind them and I think I just might use your weekday schedule! That is genius! Thanks for linking to Do Tell Tuesday. I am featuring you this week 🙂

  5. I don't think it's bad parenting at all to motivate your kids with cash. Some people say it teaches kids to be motivated for the wrong reasons, but I disagree. I feel that it teaches them that if they do a good job they will be rewarded. And isn't that how the world works when we're adults anyway? If we do a good job at work, we are rewarded with a paycheck and (hopefully) a raise / promotion / whatever.

    My daughter has always worked best with a reward system. When she was little, if she did her chores or something else that was asked of her, she would get to pick out a new toy the next time we went to the store. She had quite the collection of My Little Ponies, let me tell you! Now that she's a teenager, I pay her for good grades. The money is deposited in her bank account, which she manages and keeps track of herself. It's been a VERY good learning tool for how "the real world" works and she loves having the ability to buy stuff for herself whenever she wants / needs something.