No more summer mush mind!

posted on April 29, 2012 by  |  posted under Boys, Family Time, Fun With Kids, Girls, Parenting, Summer  |  25 Comments

No More Summer Mush Mind

Do you hate that your kids’ minds seem to go to mush over the summer?

Here is a FANTASTIC (oldie but goodie) IDEA to the rescue! With more ideas at the bottom!….

I thought my friend Julie was a little crazy when she first told me about an idea she got from her sister-in-law to have a little summer school with her kids.  It is supposed to be our time off right?  Then I realized time off just means cRaZiNeSs!  Julie has implemented this idea and is loving the outcome!  She takes the morning to spend with her kids learning and then they play all afternoon.  Their minds don’t go to mush over the summer and they learn things they don’t learn in school.  My favorite part is they have quality time with MOM.  The idea seemed a bit overwhelming, but now that I’ve heard Julie’s plan, I am totally on board!  Lucky for us, she is going to share it with us (I just had to twist her arm a little:)  I am convinced that if I did this, my kids and I would have a sUmMeR to remember instead of just endure.

Summer Gameplan:

Taking care of ourselves

Julie breaks it down into 4 categories:

1. Taking care of our Spirits

This time for prayer, singing, meditation, reading scriptures, etc.

2. Taking Care of Our Bodies

No More Summer Mush Mind

Julie likes to get this in early while it it not too hot outside and everyone is fresh.  This can be bike riding, jump roping, a long walk, playing ball, stretching, etc. One thing Julie did was to time her kids running/skipping/walking a certain distance with her stopwatch.  She records the times and tries to get them to beat their record.  The kids love this!  Anything would work, just get their little hearts pumping!

This also includes the needed showers after exercise and things like brushing your teeth:)

3. Taking Care of Our Space

Time to clean up our rooms!  Make our beds and do some extra chores, perhaps.

4. Taking Care of Our Minds

Time for school!

Some Subjects:

~ Geography

Each day you could learn about a different sta


~ Art

No More Summer Mush Mind

Get books from the library on exploring art with kids.  They have real classic paintings / sculptures and ask good questions to help the kids discover details in the art and come up with their own interpretations.  Usually the book  suggests a related art activity, which we enjoy doing.

~ Science

No More Summer Mush Mind

Last year Julie taught her kids about the solar system.  They made a mobil of the system by painting styrofoam balls to look like each planet.  She also made up little worksheets for the kids to fill in about each planet as they learned about it.

~ Math

You could do workbooks or practice whatever skills your kids have learned over

the year.  I thought this was a fun idea: After reading a book about cookies and sharing, we made cookies and then divided them evenly among different #’s of people.  We distributed chocolate chips on cookie grids to meet different criteria:  Do we have enough for two chips per cookie?  How many more do we need?  Then we did a survey asking friends what their favorite kind of cookie was, graphing the results.

~ Field Trips

There are so many great places to go explore!  Parks, museums, libraries, etc.


No matter where we are in the schedule, when lunch comes..we are done!

You could teach anything you want.  This year Julie is also going to work on sewing and cooking skills.  A fun project she wants to do involves photography, so of course I was intrigued.  She found the idea from Family Fun: all summer you watch for letters in the landscape and take pictures of them.  At the end of the summer you make an alphabet book fro

m your pictures.  She also might use the letters to spell names and have them framed.  Such a fun idea for a summer project!  This would be a great project to take advantage of the FREE book we shared with you, here.

Here are a few of her references:

No More Summer Mush Mind

The library is GREAT resource for ideas

and inspiration!

How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons (I have used this on all my kids and before they enter kindergarten they are reading!  It is a GREAT book!)

Teaching physical science through children’s literature

Teaching art with books kids love

Thanks Julie for answering the question, “How Does She not let her kids’ minds turn to mush over the summer break?”

You have me inspired!!  Bring it, summer – I will be ready!

Here is a little more about Julie:

No More Summer Mush Mind

Five Fun Facts:

1.  I helped build a school in mexico with my own 2 hands!

2.  I spent 36 hours straight in Disneyland, never leaving the premises……and it’s true, it is the happiest place on Earth.

3.  I kayaked and swam in Halong Bay, Vietnam in the China sea….Beautiful and Salty.

4.  I have probably paid more than any of you in library fines.  $50? higher.  $75?  higher.  $100?  Nope.  I rest my case.

5.  I am 31 and just got stitches for the first time a couple months ago.  So much for my perfect record.

Super Hero Power wanted:

“If I could have any super hero power it would be to snap my fingers like Mary Poppins and “snap the job is a game.”  Things clean themselves up.”

Don’t forget to incorporate our FREE PRINTABLES to keep your kids motivated to read all summer.

No More Summer Mush Mind

And Cristi’s anti-boredom buster bucket list idea will help keep summer organized and FUN!

No More Summer Mush Mind

What are your ideas.  What have you done that is fun (it is summer) but also learning(no mush allowed)??

No More Summer Mush Mind

    1. May 27th, 2010 at 6:38 am
      Kandi says:
      Wow, I love these ideas and I am definitely implementing them. Summer days can get so long and it's good for me not to let my mind go to mush, too! My daughter starts Kindergarten in the fall so I'd like to get a leg-up on learning and reading. Thank-you for sharing this - it's wonderful!!!

      .-= Kandi´s last blog ..L. Needs Some Representation =-.
    2. May 27th, 2010 at 6:43 am
      Kim says:
      we have to help my stepson with spelling while he is here for the summer, trying to come up with fun games to play!

      Kim @
      party inspiration
    3. May 27th, 2010 at 8:25 am
      Philip @ RAOP says:
      As homeschoolers we are big fans of never stop learning. The summer "off" months have always be a great time for learning activities. Even though our kids are all young we take advantage of the summer resources.

      We like to do day trips and talk about what we have seen and experienced. We read special books, we garden and teach about the plants we are growing / water cycles / life cycles / nutrition. We us the changing season as a time to look at the planets and our own orbit. This gets a little more advanced each year as the kids get older.

      My wife has her masters in Science education and I am an engineer. Our kids are doomed to learn something with just about everything we do! It really is a fun time though. I like some of the ideas you have here. We will have to give them a go!! Thanks!
      .-= Philip @ RAOP´s last blog ..Parenting Should be a Group Sport =-.
    4. May 27th, 2010 at 9:08 am
      Marci McLain says:
      That sounds like a really neat idea. This summer we are trying something a little different. I don't enjoy having all my kids home all summer because it seems that they cannot get along for anything. So, this year we are going to have a theme for each week of the summer. Everyday we will do something that goes along with that theme. For example, we have Transportation week. During this week, we will learn about different modes of transportation, we will go on bike rides, ride the light rail, go to the Falcon Field Airplane Museum, go to the train park, etc. We will also have one night each week for movie night - the movie will go along with the theme for the week - for transportation week we will watch Cars. We also have weeks like water week, money week (planning a family budget to save for a trip), kids cooking week, inspector gadget week, fun and games week, arts and crafts week, etc. I hope it will be a fun time together and we will all learn a little something new and learn to get along!
      • May 27th, 2010 at 9:54 am
        Missy says:
        What a fabulous idea! That sounds like a great way to organize what you want to teach your kids...and have fun! LOve it!
    5. May 27th, 2010 at 10:36 am
      Chris Bennor says:
      I work fulltime at home at a regular government job and am recently widowed so summer will be a bit of a challenge, but my boys (6 and 9) are pretty respectful of my work needs. I've written up a schedule for them that includes reading daily, art and science once a week, quick clean ups every day before dinner, etc. This isn't a shock to them, they know that they're in one of the rare families in our area that have to do homework during the summer!

      We also have fun things planned - camping, 3 days on a houseboat, art camp for a week (non-residential) and a few days at a treehouse resort - busy but fun. And no summer slide (academically).
    6. May 27th, 2010 at 10:46 am
      Nicole says:
      Loved these ideas! I too am using "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." It's fabulous and so easy, simple, and straight-forward. Just what a busy mom needs.
      .-= Nicole´s last blog ..More Tidbits and PICTURES!! =-.
    7. May 27th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
      Jennifer B says:
      A great source for art projects for elementary aged kids is the web site The author is an art teacher and these are the projects she uses at school. Nice projects with great results!
    8. May 29th, 2010 at 12:27 pm
      Kathryn Goodlad says:
      I have heard Julie talk about this for a couple of years now and I think I am committed enough to try it this summer. Thanks Julie for all of your great ideas. You make me want to be a better Mom!!
    9. May 29th, 2010 at 2:05 pm
      Sarah says:
      Last year we discovered Summer Bingo on Stacy Julian's blog.

      My kids were 12, 9 and 3. They all loved it. We'll be doing it again this year.
    10. May 29th, 2010 at 9:10 pm
      Melissa says:
      Oh boy! I just did my last post yesterday about how I made a game puzzle for my son to practice his numbers. Check it out!

      I also need to work on phonics with him, math with my 3rd grade daughter and I promised my oldest daughter lots of fun science experiments. I'm in search of the original Mento's so I can fill a 2 liter diet soda bottle for our explosion experiment.
      .-= Melissa´s last blog ..At home summer school =-.
    11. May 30th, 2010 at 9:45 pm
      Jessica Gabriel says:
      Love all the above ideas. I have a few more on my list as well. 1) lemonade stand 2) make ice cream 3)service project of some sort 4) write letters to family and friends and one to the local paper about something 5)movie series like Narnia or Harry Potter 5) roll our loose change for charity, 6) make cookies for someone/business in the community we are thankful to have - librarians, garbageman, recycle or bottle depot etc. 7) make reusable decorations to use for our birthdays every year 8) sprinkler fun, picnics, parks, write stories, virtues lessons etc...
      I hope I can pull off even half of this! it would be a great summer if we could! all the best for your summers :)
    12. June 1st, 2010 at 12:33 pm
      craftyp says:
      This is exactly what I did last summer, but on a smaller scale. I love the 4 category names Julie came up with though- I think I'll adopt them! We do something called "table time" and each child gets a binder to house their work and projects and keep track of progress throughout the summer. I usually work on handwriting and reading and this summer I'm adding "art Friday" and "science saturday"! My hubby is in the car business so that leaves me with LOADS of space and time to come up with ideas to occupy my 4 boys! We also do Summer Bingo (an incredible IDEA that Stacy Julian- a super mom and Scrapbooker- came up with)- the boys are so excited to get their first Bingo cards in a few weeks! Thanks for the great ideas HowDoesShe!
    13. June 1st, 2010 at 1:30 pm
      Micael says:
      We are a homeschooling family, and I must say these are great ideas for us to continue learning over the summer - but different enough that it'll give my girls a "break" and fresh outlook on things for the summer. Thanks for posting!
    14. June 2nd, 2010 at 6:04 am
      meghan says:
      Luv this!
      .-= meghan´s last blog ..Thank God, I got an adorable kid! =-.
    15. June 2nd, 2010 at 7:11 am
      Amy (pixton) says:
      Julie! How crazy was it to scroll down and see your beautiful face on how does she! I haven't see you in what...over a decade?! You have such a darling family and it looks like you are having loads of fun doing lots of great things. You have tons of fantastic ideas...truly inspiring! You are such a fun mom. Glad to see you are so happy:)
    16. June 2nd, 2010 at 3:40 pm
      Tamara says:
      What a great idea! My oldest is only three and we are moving this summer so I think that I may have to keep this in mind for next summer. I was pleasantly surprised to see Julie's face. Julie was my roommate my first summer semester at college and I haven't seen her since. What a beautiful family! And a fabulous mom!
    17. June 3rd, 2010 at 8:33 pm
      Julia says:
      What absolutely terrific ideas! I have been pondering our options, but the 5 point plan is marvelously simple and intentional. Thanks so much!
      .-= Julia´s last blog ..Living on Less: 17 Strategies We Use to Save Money =-.
    18. June 12th, 2011 at 10:59 am
      Michelle says:
      Thanks for this post! Tomorrow begins the first day of summer vacation for my girls. I'm the sort of person who needs a game plan and this was just what I needed. Thank you!!
    19. May 30th, 2012 at 9:34 pm
      Jenny D. says:
      I have a love/hate relationship with summer break. I love having time to play, relax, and enjoy having my kids around, but for a large chunk of the summer they have to go visit their dad. It is so, so, so hard. Every summer has gotten a little better, but this is the first summer where I feel like I am really going to make the most of the time I DO have with my kids and not have it overshadowed by their "visit." I love these tips, thanks!
    20. May 31st, 2012 at 9:32 am
      Nesleirbag says:
      What great moms out there! I loved reading the ideas in this post and the comment ideas! The time you spend now with your kids while they are growing will pay off in spades!
    21. May 31st, 2012 at 7:05 pm
      darlene says:
      great post missy! i don't have kids yet but i definitely want to keep them busy during the summer instead of being couch potatoes. these are great ideas that i will have to remember!
    Healthy Summer Treats and Blendtec Blender Giveaway!
    Asparagus and Leek Spring Quiche
    • Popular Round Ups