How to Create a Summer Routine for Kids

Having a routine for your summer days will make everyone enjoy the summer.  And it’s easy to create a summer routine for kids.

You’ve been dreaming about it all winter. The lazy days of summer are the best! PJs until noon, popsicles for lunch, pool or sprinkler time all afternoon.

Before you make it to July 1, your days are filled with refereeing fights and serving snacks non-stop.

Your house and yard are a mess. Unstructured days will lead to complaining and fighting and restless children.

Having a routine for your days will make everyone enjoy the summer. And it’s easy to create a summer routine for kids.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  You can read more here.

Why Create a Summer Routine?

Teachers know the power of routines. Ask any teacher what they do a the beginning of the year, and they’ll say: teach routines.

When you create a summer routine for kids, you experience powerful results:

Routines Reduce Nagging

Instead of constantly reminding your children what to do, they’ll already know when there is a summer routine. There is less nagging from mom and less complaining for children when there is a structure to the day.

You’re going to enjoy your summer home with your children more when you’re not constantly barking orders. Your children will enjoy knowing when they will get to do their favorite activities.

Routines Make Children Feel Secure

Another reason that routines are helpful is they are predictable. That leads to security for a lot of children – especially those who are anxious.

A lot of children behave better at school than at home due to routine. A predictable routine reduces anxiety and stress for children.

Children won’t need to stress about what will happen during the day or when it will happen.  They gain trust things will happen in a manageable way and this increases their confidence.

If you have children prone to sensitivity or big emotions, a summer routine will make them feel more confident.

Routines Build Independence

Similarly, routines build independence and confidence. Children will believe they are capable when they demonstrate mastery of a task.

Teeth brushing is personal hygiene but it’s also an important skill for building independence and confidence.

Routines Make Mom Happier

The last reason routines are so helpful is they keep parents more calm and sane.

When you are constantly tripping over shoes that are left out, you’ll eventually lose your temper.  Refereeing fights over toys will make even the most patient mom lose her mind.

So basically if there is a routine that prevents common problems,  you will have the physical and mental energy for fun.

Routines Make Summer Fun!

Routines help us have an intentional summer too.

When you have a routine you can make sure there is a time for adventure or special summer activities for kids like sidewalk chalk and sprinkler time.

Routines get a bad rap. A lot of people think they prevent spontaneity.

But in truth, a good summer routine allows for creativity and fun. Lack of planning can keep us home on the couch on the iPad, but a routine creates a plan for fun outings or other special summer activities.

Routines make summer break home with children less stressful and more fun for the whole family.

When you are less stressed, you will be in a more fun mood. You will be better able to enjoy all the fun that comes along with staying home with your children over the summer.

Need more routines?

Check out the Ultimate Routines Printable Pack.

Create a Summer Routine for Your Kids

Creating a summer routine is pretty easy. You just need to consider what items you’ll want to include in your routine:

  • Self-care (dress, brush teeth, potty, baths, etc)
  • Chores (make bed, cleaning bedroom, feed pet, etc)
  • Meal and snack times
  • Pool or sprinkler time
  • Screen time
  • Crafts and learning time
  • Unstructured playtime
  • Park or playground adventures
  • Errand times


Summer Routine vs Summer Schedule

For some families, a daily summer schedule might be a better choice than a summer routine.

A summer schedule works when you:

  • have set times for activities like swim lessons,
  • really need to block out hours for your work,
  • have a child who needs a very firm structure.

You can grab an editable hour-by-hour summer schedule in the Summer Printable Pack.

It’s perfect for those parents who need very firm boundaries on time. It’s also created for families who want a totally customizable summer schedule.

free printable summer routine on brown table

Grab the free printable summer routine here!

Printable Summer Daily Routine

If you’ve decided you need a summer daily routine and not a schedule, then grab the free printable summer routine I created for you.

This is a purposefully loose routine so it fits your family’s different days over the summer.  It gives you a lot of flexibility as is.

How to use the routine:

  1. Print out the charts on cardstock.
  2. Laminate it or place it in a dry erase pouch.
  3. If you prefer a different order, cut on dotted lines and glue on another piece of paper.
  4. Use a dry erase marker to cross the tasks each day.

Summer Routine Fun Activity Time

You’ll notice on the free summer routine printable that there are two daily activity times. During these blocks of time, choose an activity for inside play, outside play, or away from home.

Inside Summer Fun Activities for Children

Inside activity time can happen when it’s too hot or the weather isn’t great outside. You might also want to have the children inside the house so you can accomplish something. It’s good to think ahead about what special activities your children could do inside.

Some of our favorites are:

  • Sensory bin: get a lidded container and dump some beans, rice, or old pasta in it. Add in some little toys. Your child will likely make a mess so make sure you have a little broom and dust pan.
  • Painting: We keep these Crayola washable paints off-limits until special art time.
  • Baking project: We prefer not to heat up the kitchen in the afternoon but we always keep muffin mix in the house.
  • Special snack: Making popsicles is always a hit!  We just use apple juice with berries.

You can gather more ideas for inside play here:


Outside Summer Fun Activities for Children

Outside activities can be special summer-only fun! Make sure to think through what you need and get your supplies now.

Some of our favorites are:

  • Sprinkler: We use a sprinkler similar to this one that twirls and spins.
  • Sidewalk chalk: I prefer the Crayola Washable because it’s easy to clean off our wooden deck and the children’s clothing.
  • Pool: We love the Intex Gator Spray Pool. Remember to never leave your children unattended around any amount of water!
  • Water table: My children love our Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas water table.   We’ve had it for four years.
  • Squirt guns: We grabbed a few at the Dollar Tree.
  • Bubble Machine: We got the Little Tikes bubble machine pictured above at Target a few years ago.  This one is similar with good reviews.

Out-of-the-house Summer Fun

Everyone seems to go stir-crazy after too many days at home so make sure to consider when in your routine you’ll get the children out of the house.

  • Appointments: Do you have regular dentist or doctor appointments or swimming lessons? Include those in your routine.
  • Errands: Grocery shopping, Costco, dry cleaning, gas station.
  • Library: Going to the library is a great way to beat the heat and kill some time. Plus you can check out your library’s summer reading program.
  • Special outings: Consider going to a new playground, taking a hike, or visiting a splash pad.

pin for later!

You can Create a Summer Routine for Your Kids

It isn’t hard to create a summer routine for your children. And it’s really important.

Routines reduce decision fatigue that zaps your spirit for fun and adventure. Make all the decisions ahead of time so you have more energy for play.

So just take some time to think about what you need your children to accomplish daily. Decide how you want them to have time for play and fun.

Grab this free printable and plan your special activities.  You will have a fantastic summer with your children.

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