Crystal I LOVE, love, love your idea! So of course we had to implement it here in our home as well.
This approach to summer fun works really well for us. I often get super busy with work while it seems like our friends are gallivanting off to swim parks, camping trips and more. I've been feeling really bad for my little guys and have worried that their summer just isn't turning out as fun and exploratory as I'd hoped it would be. So when Crystal mentioned this idea, I thought, "Hey! I can do that!" This simple approach satisfies my little ones need for structure and planned events (especially my oldest who has been ansty non-stop ever since school let out) and also allows me the freedom to chose when the events/projects work best in my schedule. I don't have as much pressure to do something extravagant every day and the littles love looking at our calendar, looking forward to what is coming up next!
To make our summer fun jars we used old pickle jars (we are pickle fanatics here), covered the lids with decorative paper and affixed a label for each summer fun item, reading "LET'S GO, LET'S MAKE, and LET'S EAT."
If you'd like to do the same, I've made some jar labels for you to download here.
Each Monday evening, during family night, we have our kids draw out one slip of paper from each jar. The kids then love looking at and discussing what types of things we have in store for us that week. In our "LET'S GO" jar I've put in outings to local hot spots as well as things we can do closer to home such as "have a BBQ with friends." In our "LET'S MAKE" (which could also be called "LET'S DO") I've placed a number of prompts for us to get creative such as "make a summer scrapbook" or "learn a new skill".Our "LET'S EAT" jar has been a huge hit (notice the explosive amount of papers in the jar). I decided that I'd finally do something with all the delicious food pins I've been collecting on Pinterest. So I printed out several pages of pins, cut them up and then placed them in our "LET'S EAT" jar. This is so popular we actually ended up pulling out two food items, one sweet and one savory each week (I ended up making another savory jar, not shown here).
*(You could also use this Pinterest approach for your "LET'S MAKE" jar. Just print out all the DIY's you've been saving up and start doing them! If you need motivation to get started, take a look at a few of the pins from Mer Mag).
The kids love looking at what we have in store to make and eat. Somehow it's so much more exciting than just reading it. For example, take these delicious Mint Brownies from Brooke of Inchmark. I've been dying to make these ever since she posted about them! And now they have been drawn and placed on the calendar. We will be making them today!
So when we draw a food item from the jar, we then go to back to Pinterest to get the recipe. All the ingredients to make that item then goes on our shopping list for that week. The kids loving doing this and I love that they are learning a bit about shopping and cooking (and if I'm really ambitious I can give a little lesson about money on our shopping trip).
And it may be a bit late in the season (unless you are in Cali where school just let out for the summer) but we finally made our summer calendar. My mother would do this for us each summer and we loved visually looking forward to trips, events and fun summer activities. It really made summer SO much fun. To make ours I simply took a piece of black poster board and divided up the space into squares with decorative washi tape. I then used white oil pastel to write in all the dates and days of the week. From there we simply taped it to the wall with more washi tape.
And when the boys draw something out of our summer fun jars, we choose a day of the week and then have them tape up the paper right to the calendar. They love it!
And now we need to prepare for our big summer fun activity... our annual trip to Colorado for the 4th of July! We are so excited! To see some of the great summer reunion fun we've had in the past, take a lookly lou here, here, here and here. This summer we are going with a traditional 1776 white wig, Betsy Ross type of gala. No fireworks though, due to all the fires in Colorado :( but I know we'll come up with something just as fun. Apparently my mother is making little white wigs for all the kiddos and I just can't wait!