For those that read my last post, you will know that I have been busy planning the summer holidays this week. I do not usually leave it this late, but for those of you that are yet to make any plans, there is still time to get things sorted. I thought that it would be good to share how I plan the holidays and give you some ideas to get you started.
The first thing that I do is my accounts. I look at what we will have coming in and all of our out-goings and then I decide how much I can afford to spend over the six weeks and then I divide it out into each week depending on payday and what have you. I then discuss it all with my partner to make sure that we are both on the same page and that I haven’t forgotten anything. Previous years I have saved some money prior to the holidays so that we had more money to play with, but this year I left it too late.
The next step is to start looking into the costs of activities that you would like to do. There are lot’s of free or low-cost activities out there if you know where to look and use your imagination. Check out your local libraries, museums, sports centres, farms, swimming pools and notice boards. Check your local cinema website as well as they often do special deals in the school holidays, for example, my local cinema does special screenings of slightly older films (films that may have been released 6 – 12 months earlier) for just £1 a person. Also, have a look at your school’s website as they often advertise events and activities that are taking place during the holidays. I also like to ask the children to tell me one place that they would like to go or something that they would really like to do but I make it clear the kind of budget I have so that they don’t ask for something that I can’t stretch to. This year my older two have asked for a family BBQ that they can invite three friends each to and then the friends get to sleep over after the BBQ and my little one has asked to go to the seaside.
Below is a picture of the start of my list, but please excuse my handwriting, spellings and photography!
Once I have a list of places to go and things to do out of the home, I then put my thinking cap on and devise a list of things that we can do at home. Some of the things I include are; arts and crafts projects, cooking, themed days, movies, make-over days and playing board and computer games. Once you have written down all the things you can think of which you know will go down well you can then do a few searches online to get some more ideas so that you have some new things to do that you’ve never done before to keep things interesting.
Here is my list.
The next step is to check your calendar to see how much time you have. I am a stay at home mum so I have a lot of time, but if you are working then you will be more limited. Even if you are like me and at home every day, you still need to check to see what commitments you have and you also need to leave some time to do your housework, food shopping etc. to keep the household running. Again, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your partner, if you have one, in case they have any plans that they’ve yet to tell you and also to see if they can help with anything during the holiday and if they are planning on taking any time off work etc.
Now it’s time for the fun part! For this, I get 6 A4 sheets of paper (one for each week) and I then draw on 8 boxes which I label with each day and date of the week for the summer holidays labelling the eighth box ‘notes’. I then start with week one and I fill in any obligations first, in the corresponding date box and I write how long the item will take ( this just needs to be a rough estimate to help you plan enough activities or stop you from planning too many!). I then look at the budget for the week and decide which activities or day trips I can afford that week. I then write them into the corresponding boxes with the estimated time and cost and any other important details that I need to remember. Then it is just a case of filling up the empty time slots with at home activities and allowing time for chores, meals and time for the children to play out with friends or occupy themselves as it’s also important for them to be able to do their own thing and not be overscheduled.
Below is one of my weeks that I have just finished planning.
Now you can either put up your list as it is, where it is visible for everyone or keep it some where safe that only you know so that you can surprise your children each day or you could make the list into little booklets for your children, which is something that I always like to do as it always goes down well with my kids and this year I was unsure as to if I should make booklets for my oldest as I thought that at aged 15 she may find it babyish but she actually asked me to make them for her as she loves them! I will do a post very soon with more information on my booklets for anyone that is interested.