The Secret to a More Relaxing Summer

I've got a secret to share with you today!

I'm not really that organized during the summer :)

Ok, that's not really it -- the secret is in how I APPEAR to be organized on those crazy summer days. 

If you've been following The $0 Summer: 105 Ways to Make Memories with the Kids series, you know our goal is to help you focus on more fun and less chaos.  (If you haven't been following along, we'd love for you to join us!)

We had one of THOSE summers a while back -- you know the ones -- every time we would head to the park or the pool or out to an event, something would get left behind.

Like the water bottles or the kids' socks (which you ALWAYS need at play places) or the towel so my kids wouldn't shiver when they got out of the pool. 

Or worse yet, I would forget the snacks!

Ugh!

So I got myself together and put a little system into place -- a very easy system that made my family very happy because we always had what we needed when we needed it (yea!)

Want to know my secret?  And bonus:  it comes with a FREE printable to make your summer less chaotic too :)

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10 Best Outdoor Science Tools for Kids

10 Best Outdoor Science Tools for Kids

We love outdoor science activities & experiments

Getting to know nature and being a backyard detective are activities my kids have enjoyed for years. 

And having great science tools takes outdoor exploration to a whole new level!

It's amazing to see the wonder and hear the questions when kids can get up close with bugs, plants, trees and even wildlife. 

So I love to have kid-sized science tools for them to use -- ones that are sturdy and don't need much supervision so kids can go off and explore on their own.

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20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

One of our favorite parts of summertime is the not-so-strict-bedtime schedule so we love to find some fun things to do on a Summer night!

We head out after dinner for a walk to the park or spend a night doing something special. 

With the longer days and cooler evenings, summer is the perfect time to find some family events or activities that you can enjoy together after dark.

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20 Books about Cultures & Countries Around the World

20 Books about Cultures & Countries Around the World

Inspire your kids to learn about geography & cultures from around the world with these awesome books and mapping activities they'll love!

I so enjoy teaching my kids about places around the world -- the people, landmarks and traditions.  It's important that they increase their global awareness and become 'world-literate' as they grow.

One of our most read book lists is 30 Pictures Books about Countries Around the World (honestly, it was one of the ones we loved putting together too ;) and I received a number of requests for chapter books that focus on maps and world cultures so we went on the hunt for some AMAZING book series that are perfect to use as read alouds or for older kids & teens to read on their own!

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How to Create Memories with Your Kids

How to Create Memories with Your Kids

Ideas for how to create memories with your kids this summer!

Many of us are now ‘officially’ on summer break.

For kids, it’s a time for popsicles, pool visits and unscheduled adventures!

For parents, it’s a time to reconnect with our kids who have been trapped in a school building for the better part of the year.  

It’s also a time to think about what we might do together this summer.

Now I’ll bet you’re thinking this is going to be one of those ‘list’ posts – as in, make a summer bucket list or a what we’ll do this summer list.

But it’s not.

Even though that’s a great thing to do – it’s not the ONE thing I want you to do –

Scratch that

It’s the one thing YOUR kids really need you to do this summer.

 

The item I’m talking about only requires a pen, a sticky note and 3 minutes of uninterrupted time ….

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20 Printable Summer Scavenger Hunts

20 Printable Summer Scavenger Hunts

Enjoy these Summer Scavenger Hunt Ideas while you're on vacation, exploring places around town or just relaxing in the backyard!

If there's one thing we love, it's a good scavenger hunt

In fact, we've been known to 'divide and conquer' in a friendly family competition on more than one occasion.

In addition to just being fun, scavenger hunts are also great ways for kids to learn -- your kids will hone their observation skills, practice new words, explore new places and many hunts also intregrate a little science and math too.

Our goal -- one scavenger hunt each week for the whole summer!

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Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Get the car & family ready with this free printable road trip checklist and tips for how to prep for a long car trip! 

This week's one of those quiet times -- not too much on the calendar.

But I know it won't last long --

We're waiting to hear about college acceptances, looking into a few new attractions and counting the days until Spring Break (less than a month away for us!)

And I can smell an AWESOME family road trip somewhere in the near future.

Ahh ... I love the thought of exploring someplace new with our kids!

When it comes to taking a car trip,  I'm one of those "need to plan ahead" type of people.  I don't like to get on the road and worry about whether we might have any car problems or worse, run out of snacks before we reach our destination (heavens no!! the kids might not last until the next stop ;)

So today I'm sharing the checklist we use before heading out on our trips -- whether it's a day trip or cross-country vacation -- PLUS affiliate links to some of our favorite items & a FREE printable road trip planner to help you prepare for your next family car trip!

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Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Check out these FREE kids' programs, workshops & clinics this summer where your kids can explore hands-on activities, master a skill or create something beautiful!

Summer is coming and kids are looking for fun things to do -- and us parents are hoping that it's not all tech time ;)

There are a number of free programs & workshops your kids can try this summer -- my favorite part about these are that they are only a few hours and give kids a way to try something new without investing a ton of time (or money).

Summer is the perfect time to try out something new -- you never know what your kids will gravitate to unless you introduce them to new things!

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Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

May is Water Safety Month and the perfect time to talk to your kids before gearing up to visit the pool or beach this summer!

My husband & I disagree about a lot of things -- like who's the best canoe paddler (it's me ;) and whether pasta or burgers are a better summer dinner.

But the one thing you'll find us both in agreement on -- teaching kids to swim and understanding safety near the water.

Be sure to take some time this summer to talk to your kids about the ABCD's of water safety with these easy tips!

 
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17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

Inspiration for Summer reading with fun reading logs & rewards for kids!

As parents, we know that connecting the kids with books throughout the summer months is SUCH a good thing. 

Summer reading helps them to keep their vocab and comprehension skills strong so those first weeks back to school are much easier!

But honestly, keeping them reading can be a challenge with all the other fun activities they have going on -- like the pool and friends and s'mores by the fire ... not to mention the availability of technology and the desire to get sticky, dirty and wet any chance they get ;)

Which is why this first post in our 105 Days of Free Summer Fun includes awesome ideas & freebies that will not only inspire your kids to read but also allow us to retain our 'cool Mom/Dad' status without constantly bugging them to pick up a book!

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30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

This rock painting idea + fun things to do outside will inspire more creative play for your kids without having to hear "there's nothing to do" this summer!

I'm a toss-the-kids-out-the-door kind of parent. 

Children (along with teens and adults for that matter) just don't get enough time outside. I can recall enjoying some wonderfully long days climbing trees, skating, creating, digging & exploring as a child.

But I grew up with siblings and neighbors that were all close in age so there was always someone who wanted to "go out & play". 

My daughter doesn't have the luxury of playmates knocking at her door so lately I've been looking for ways to entice her to spend more time outside. 

Since she really enjoys crafts and also likes to be surprised, we decided to create an Outdoor Activity Jar together to inspire more exploration & outdoor play this year.

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Nature Scavenger Hunt {free printable list!}

Nature Scavenger Hunt {free printable list!}

Get out to explore with this FREE printable Nature Scavenger Hunt list!

We love to get out and explore new places as a family -- whether it's hiking a new trail, going on a scavenger or finding a new playground!

So this year we are once again partnering with The National Park Trust to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20th.

Print off your free scavenger hunt, learn about some awesome park activities near you & enter the giveaway too!

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How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

A few months ago, I shared my secret to the Best Place to Begin Organizing Your Entire Home.

I wrote the post because I wanted to inspire other busy moms like me to find their starting point when it comes to putting some organzational systems in place.

Amazingly, it's been one of our most read posts this year!

Obviously it's not just me who is working toward a more organized home ;)

So with Mother's Day coming, I thought I would share another post that's "just for Mom" -- even though we all know that anything that's done for Mom actually benefits the whole family ;)

Today, we'll look at some AMAZING books that can help us to get control of clutter, make meal planning simplier, inspire us to take time for ourselves and give us more time with our families!

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50+ ABC Games & Number Activities for Curious Kids

Fun ABC games and number activities for preschool & kindergarten learners!

When my kids were younger, I worried about them learning their alphabet and numbers.  So naturally, I asked their preschool teachers what we could do at home.

The response?

Don't go overboard!

Don't have them write letters or numbers over and over or push learning.

And don't worry if they confuse 'b' & 'd' or write their 's' backwards when printing their last name :)

What did they recommend doing instead?

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Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Activiites & books about that teach our children about water conservation and the water cycle!

March 22nd is World Water Day.

It's a day for all of us to remember that water is an important resource in our life and clean water is a limited resource for many around the world. 

Everyone can make a difference in preserving this natural resource, even the youngest among us! 

In fact, our kids might even teach us adults a thing or two.

Join us as we explore some great books, learn about the water cycle and share tips for easy ways to conserve water.

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