Monday, July 2, 2018

Keeping Summer Activities Organized

Remember the fabulous backpack center I made during the school year? If not, you can check it out here.

It definitely kept our backpack area clean, homework time and mornings a little less stressful, and Mommy a little more sane. I should have done it years ago!

Well, now that it is summer, the backpack center has transformed into the summer activities center. The backpacks have been stored away in the kids' closets until August and replaced by our outing necessities. I find that I am a lot more likely to get the kids out of the house if it takes less effort and work to get ready to go. Most of our activities involve the pool, so I keep all the pool essentials organized and ready-to-go at any moment.


Snack bag: The kids are always hungry, especially if they are being active at the pool, park, or beach. I take a variety of snacks on every outing to avoid hangry kids. I make sure any fresh fruit is cut for ease while at the pool. And I always take a stack of little paper cups to divvy up blueberries, goldfish crackers, grapes, and other small items so wet hands aren't fishing around in the containers. If we will be somewhere that doesn't have a water fountain, I also toss water bottles in the snack bag.

Grapes and blueberries in a non-squishable container.

Grape tomatoes in a non-squishable container.

Small water cups allow me to serve up snacks without wet
hands reaching into the snack containers.
They love fruit!

Blankets: We generally take two blankets--one designated as the "wet blanket" and the other designated as the "dry blanket." The old bed quilt is the wet blanket and the water-proof picnic blanket is the dry blanket. The water-proof bottom of the picnic blanket keeps moisture from the ground underneath from wicking up to those who wish to stay dry. And the lack of a water-proof layer on the wet blanket allows the water from the kids' bodies to drain through to the ground underneath and not pool up on the blanket.

Dry blanket on the left; wet blanket on the right.

This fantastic picnic blanket was a gift from my dad's cousin.

You can find them on Amazon or on the Tuffo website.

Folding instructions sewn in!!

Supplies bag: Goggles, sunscreen, snack money, pool information, books, pool toys, hair bands, etc. I keep every pair of goggles we own in the pool bag even though we don't need them all. Very often, the kids will make friends at the pool and will offer them a pair of our extra goggles. I also try to keep at least two bottles of sunscreen in the bag. Normally, I prefer to have only one of each such item, but it just makes sunscreening four to six people a lot faster to have two bottles.

My purse: When we head to the pool, I just transfer the few things I need from my purse to the supplies bag and leave it at home. Keeping my purse next to the supplies bag helps me remember to transfer items back and forth as necessary.

"Where are the towels?" you might be wondering. Each kid is responsible for his/her own towel. Before we leave for the pool, water park, or beach, they each grab their own towel and take it to the car with them. Mommy and Daddy do not carry kid towels. As soon as we return home from our outing, they each hang up their wet towel on the designated hook in their rooms. Of course, my kids are real kids and sometimes the towels don't actually make it to the hooks. When I find towels that are not put away, the culprits owe me a load of laundry washed, dried, and sorted. It won't take them long to learn to remember to put their towels away as soon as we get home.

Of course, this type of system will work with any type of activities. You may not be a pool family, but perhaps you have gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, summer school, day camp, or music lessons. Designating a central location for activity supplies will make getting out of the house and to those activities more efficient.

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