Organizing Our Summer: Brainstorming Ideas {Free Printable}

It’s summer!  Time for a little slower schedules and making memories.

My kids are busy with summer jobs, volunteering, and activities with friends now, but when they were younger, I always loved asking them at the beginning of summer what they’d like to do over the next few months. I wanted to make sure we did all their favourites and didn’t default to too much screen time. They usually came up with a few ideas, but then they struggled to think of anything else, even though I was sure they had other ideas.

Brainstorming ideas

So I decided to give them a little help to get more ideas out of those pretty little heads.  I created a printable called “This Summer I’d Like To” and I gave them 6 categories to think about:  Go Here, Play This, Do This, Learn This, Make This, and See This.  

They really had fun with these sheets!  When my daughter was little she liked the pictures at the top and drew some pictures of her own.  

The results

I loved the ideas they came up with!  The first year, they both included playing with each other on their lists {doesn’t that just make a parent’s heart melt?!}.  In fact, my daughter made a point of mentioning my son in each category.

My kids read a summer magazine the night before they filled these lists out the first time and it mentioned watching the sun rise. They included it on their lists the first time and loved it so much that made both their lists for several years. {We usually waited until later in the summer so we didn’t have to get up quite so early!}.

And I love that they always included other outdoor activities like going to parks, splash pads, and the beach.  Oh and camping… one of MY favourite things about summer!

Places to go were fairly easy to think of usually – swimming at friends’ homes, VBS, a Toronto Blue Jays game, the Toronto Zoo, and the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). But sometimes there were some surprises – laser tag, the Ontario Science Centre, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Casa Loma.

Having the printable really helped!

Having the various categories helped them widen their thinking.  “Make this” led to ideas like baking, crafts, and science kits. I don’t think they would have mentioned those on their own, and if I’d suggested them at a time they wanted screen time, they wouldn’t have wanted to do them.  But now it’s on their lists so I can build it into our summer plans!

And when prompted, both had no trouble listing things they wanted to learn {again made my heart go pitter patter!}.  My son wanted to learn things like cursive writing and typing with all his fingers.  My daughter wanted to learn to tie her shoes one year.  And both wanted to read and write through the summer and keep their math facts up {the fact that those things were always drilled in on the last day of school probably helped!}.

They loved the process of listing things they want to do this summer.  I made no promises that we would do everything they listed.  But, having all these ideas helped us fill our time without resorting to screens {although playing video games was also on my son’s list!}.

I often took the kids out on the last day of school for ice cream or some other treat and that’s usually when they filled these sheets in. I wanted our brainstorming session to be at a time they would be in a good mood and had few distractions, so they’d really put some effort into it. All the promise of summer holidays was ahead of them so it was a fun way to celebrate the end of school and kick off summer. {Look at the concentration!}

Your turn

Would you like a simple way to generate ideas your kids would like to do this summer?  Then here’s a copy of the printable for you!

Click here to download a copy of this Summer Brainstorming Ideas Printable

If your summer’s going along just fine or you’ve already planned lots of activities, you can save this for next year or share it with a friend.

How do you come up with summer ideas for your kids?  How much screen time do you allow your kids in the summer?  Do you have a summer routine?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Happy organizing!