Keeping the Balance!
Here's a sample of what I mean:
AM outdoor play in the yard: swings, sandbox, tubs of water, mini-soccer game, tag, obstacle course, etc.
Provide plenty of opportunities for fluids, rest and shade during outdoor play
Lunch - picnic on the deck under the umbrella
Rest time - naps for those that nap and quiet activities for others, our rest times started with reading books
Afternoon snack followed by a summer craft or art time.
Morning playdate with school friends - I liked to host playdates and provide some structured activities for the children that needed it or general parameters for those that didn't, but we always tried to include outdoor time.
Lunch with friends before they head home
Rest routine as above - often after playdates I found those that usually don't nap fell asleep for a short time
Water play / Sidewalk chalk / Walk around the neighborhood
Pack lunch and head out to local park, zoo or museum.
Home as close to regular rest time as possible
Activity to follow up on our morning outing - if we went to the zoo we might continue to enjoy animal fun with books, magazines, painting, drawing, dough sculptures, etc.
Outdoor play in the morning
Lunch out - this was a day for enjoying either another fun picnic lunch or lunch out at one of our favorite spots. We didn't go to the same place too often so going out to eat was a treat not an expectation. They were often excited about another picnic day.
Home for rest and book time
Bug Hunt - fun activity around the yard or neighborhood; we'd observe, record and draw the bugs we met along the way. Equipped with hats, sunscreen and plenty of water we had many fun afternoons hunting.
Beach Day - after breakfast we'd pack our things for a day at the beach. This often included our rest time. We'd have blankets/towels, umbrella for shade, plenty of sunscreen, all the fun equipment for water/sand play, snacks / lunch, etc. Sometimes we'd head to the beach through lunch and then home for rest time.
Basically the week would include: one day with a playdate, one day with a special outing, a beach or water day, two or three days with a special activity such as art, craft, science, cooking, etc. Each day we'd try to maintain the routine of meals, rest time and snack time - even if we were out of the house. Freeplay, reading, games, music, drama, conversation and imagination are part of each day. Younger children may need more planned structure in their day while older children need guidance and opportunities to make choices. As the children were older school agers there would be camps and classes included in the mix. Providing enough downtime for each child is important to enjoying a fun and balanced summer!
Need some tips about where to go and what to do? The links below will bring you to websites that have lists plus links to more information on family and child friendly activities or events.