Use these Summer Activity Jars to keep the kids happy and engaged with fun activities, chores and exercise with less whining! (hopefully, lol)
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.)
- Mason Jars
- Chalkboard fabric/xyron or chalk stickers /chalkboard paint
- washi tape
- popsicle sticks
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.
(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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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.