Over the years, I’ve made all kinds of things to keep the kids and I occupied over the summer.
But the one thing that my kids ask me to do every year is this:
The Stay Smart Summer Chart
Every summer, I purchase each of the kids a workbook that is age and grade-level appropriate like these:
I found these for my Middle Miss and Little Man at Costco this year, and I’m super impressed with them. They cover a broad range of subjects to keep their minds engaged without making them feel like they are being drilled by a bunch of boring worksheets.
They didn’t have one for my oldest, so I ended up finding her book at Mardel, which is also a great place for resources like these.
After I find the right workbooks, I make the charts. They are definitely not Pinterest perfect, but they serve our purpose well.
You can make the grid for your chart as big as you’d like. I didn’t have a rhyme or reason for making mine, except that I wanted to divide the half sheet of poster board up evenly.
In each of the squares of the grid, I wrote a subject that corresponds to the sections in their workbook.
Haley’s chart (age 11) includes reading (read a book or the reading section of her workbook), L.A. for Language Arts (which covers grammar, writing, spelling and vocab. in the workbook), math (in the workbook), social studies (in the workbook), science (in the workbook) and computer (educational games that they used at school).
Rylie’s chart (age 9) includes Reading and Writing, Language arts (which covers grammar, spelling, vocab.), Math (6 different sections), Science, Social Studies (all the her workbook), plus computer.
Coleman’s chart (age 5) includes ABCs (which includes letters, phonics, spelling and vocab.), 123s (all math), read (for read a book), W.B. for workbook (includes shapers, colors, patters, sorting, matching, time, money, community, science, games) and cards (playing card games is good for number recognition and simple math).
Each square on the grid represents 20 minutes of work. When the kids complete 20 minutes, they can either put a sticker on or cross out the square that they completed.
You can work through the chart in several different ways.
1. Go in the order they are written. They kids can systematically work through the chart, completing one square after another. (This is how we’re doing it this year. )
2. Let them choose. Sure. Your child may pick computer the first 4 times. But once all of computer squares are gone, they will have to choose something else. (This is how we’ve done it in the past.)
3. Pick blindly. If you’re having to fight to get your kids to do a particular subject, you can cover each square with a sticky note. Then when they pull the note off the grid, they have to complete 20 minutes of whatever is under the note. (Now you’re not the bad guy when they have to do math.)
Depending on how structured you want to be, you can work the chart as much as you want. A few summers ago, we used it as an “I’m Bored” activity. When the kids couldn’t find something to do, I’d say “Give me 20”, and they’d hit their workbooks.
Last summer, my girls loved playing school so much that they worked on their chart way more than I asked them to. They would say, “Can we do 20 more minutes?” Why Yes! You can.
This summer, we’ll probably do it 3-4 times a week so that they can complete it by the end of the summer.
And yes! There’s a reward.
If my kids complete their charts by the end of the summer, we reward them. The reward can be something they want (a toy), something that you can do as a family that you wouldn’t normally do, or money. I think we gave our kids $10 last year.
When I started this, Cole was just 3, but I made him a chart too so that he could do what his big sisters were doing. His squares back then were things like blocks, puzzles, letters, colors, numbers, coloring, etc. You really can adapt this for any aged kiddo.
So, that’s it. Pretty easy, right?!?