Summer is almost here. Long days, warm nights, lots of time on your hands. Kids get restless and moms get desperate. This year, I am hoping to get a jump on things before they get too far out of hand. As much as I love the occupying power of video games and other screen time- it can quickly devolve into arguing and headaches, plus, I have decided (and I'm sure the experts agree) that it's simply not the best idea to allow the kids unlimited access to the video games. But I am also certain that said experts would agree that the constant begging and harassment that two young video game addicts bent on gaining access to the magic box generate is harmful to everyone's health. :)
My solution is this: Summer Bingo. Each time the kids want to earn screen time, they have to first complete a bingo on the board. Things like: read 20 minutes, extra chores and math or handwriting practice are all part of what they have to do in order to gain access to their hearts' desire. I tried to make them things that the kids can do mostly independently so that it's not an even larger drain on my limited sanity. I am working on gathering supplies for the "art activity" options, some of what I have so far:
Small coloring pages that will allow my 5 year old to get a picture colored in a limited amount of time. Drawing pads that will help the older two get inspired to create something using their *gasp* imagination. I am hoping to add fabric, glue, markers, scissors, etc. to the pile. Art time will also include play dough, water colors, and sidewalk chalk.
Other options on the bingo include playing outside for 20 minutes or writing a letter. I plan on using the computer to help generate math worksheets and handwriting practice, as well as using flashcards and some math tools I have collected to occupy this part of the bingo. (If you're wondering how I filled the board, I made sure that Read 20 minutes and Play outside 20 minutes were part of every bingo, the other options were used more than once in the bingo as well)
On the other side of the card (which I laminated by the way- using Scots self laminating pouches) I added some scrapbook paper to frame out the chore charts that I'll be using to keep the kids on track with helping around the house. They will have to complete the chores before they can start on a bingo. I didn't put the chore charts in the lamination because even though dry erase markers work well enough to keep track of the bingo- I don't have good enough markers to write down the chores in a way the kids can read. So I'll attach the chore charts each week with a piece of tape and replace them every Sunday. This will let me rotate jobs and adjust things as needed during the summer.
Another clipboard. So cute, right? If you're interested in how I make the clipboards, you can go to my tutorial here. And feel free to ask me if you have any questions.
So that's my grand plan for surviving the summer. I also have some goodies lined up to give the kids next week on their last day of school, that I hope will help keep them busy and happy so we can all get through the first part of the summer. And I'm being realistic in my expectations for the last part of the summer (after baby gets here) which will consist of pure survival.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!