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Summer savers -  Tips for busy kids from a tired mama

Summer savers - Tips for busy kids from a tired mama

Erin Ruta
4 minute read

Summer with 4 kids under 8 has been a busy time in our house!  Camping, bike riding, painting, running – all the things!  With such an age range it has been new territory for me to navigate how to keep everyone engaged and having fun, without fussing or turning on each other!  Working with Avery’s needs and the girls needs has been new learning for me as well.  I’ve tried to make it fun for everyone. Here are my tips and tricks that have kept us on track this summer.

Group Planning

Lots of kiddos have a need for consistency, not just ones on the spectrum.  Our littles enjoy helping figure out our group plan for the day.  This helps them understand the scope of the day, what we will be engaged in and also we make sure to include chill time – which is important for mom too!  Each morning we gather round the group plan board and write out the days adventure.  Having an idea of what is going to happen has helped a lot to ease Avery’s anxiety about the routine being different then school, and he loves telling me what to put on the board, and contribute his 2 cents!

Home-made Play dough
I searched for a playdoh recipe that I liked – I’ve made a few and had to alter them every time so I played around with it and came up with the best one yet I think!  This dough lasts FOREVER!  The kids have played with the same doh now for 3 weeks – since we came back from camping, and its still soft and stretchy.  Is it just me or do you go nuts when they mix the colours…. I try not to look!
My Home-Made Recipe (usually makes enough for 2 or 3 colours)
2.5 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 teaspons cream of tartar
Food colouring (if you want 2 colours wait until after to add it in)

Mix all the dry ingredients, then heat the water and oil to a boil, pour over dry ingredients and mix until everything had mixed together.  Put in the fridge for 20 minutes of so to cool down, then throw some flour on your counter, knead the playdough until it is the consistency you like - I do not like it being too sticky so I usually add more flour at this point until its tacky but not sticky.  Then you are good to go!



Ok so this one isn’t for everyone – but for us it has been helpful to regulate the kids when they are needing some down time and a chance to keep using their skills from school, and to learn new things.  I picked up about 10 books on amazon and Chapters/Indigo (they are still on sale BTW - Search here)! and they head into our hall closet and pick the ones they want to work on.  We also head into town twice a week and go to our local Kumon centre for focused practice on reading and math.  They really enjoy the outing, since we live in the country, and for Ave’s it’s a chance to keep his math skills moving and he loves it!



Chores (my fave!)

So chores don’t have to be chores – haha!  We make them fun and interactive and it engages them with their toddler need to help with everything.  YES you have to let go of the clothes being in the right draws, YES you have to realize that you will probably have to pick up all the towels they take into the bathroom, BUT they love it when I ask them to help, it makes them feel like they’re contributing and are big helpers – and I hope that it makes them realize how much work it is to run the house!  That last one is just for me, hehe.

So there are my tips – sprinkled in there is Netflix, bike riding, walks, backyard shenanigans with the sprinkler and of course lots of cookie eating – but I figure everything in moderation right!?! 

Hope you are all surviving and thriving this summer, have a sangria on the patio for me!




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