Routines & Skills

How to Create a Summer Routine for Kids – free printable

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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.

But with COVID-19, we’ve already all been home for days and days. The reality is you need to create a summer routine for your kids.

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.

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Summer Routines are Powerful

As a teacher, I’d spend most of September teaching my students our classroom routines. Teachers know working on having a solid routine means more time for teaching and learning down the road.

It’s the same at home. And it’s the same during the summer.  When you create a summer routine for kids, you experience powerful results.

Routines are the key to harmony. When children know what to do next and have internalized it, everything flows better at home.

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.

Another reason that routines are powerful is they make children feel secure. A lot of children do better during the school year because they have the routine of the school day. The predictability of the school routine reduces anxiety and stress for children.

Instead of wondering what will happen during the day, 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.

Similarly, routines build independence and self-assurance. When children are able to take care of small chores like making their bed and self-care like brushing teeth, they grow to believe they are capable.

Last, routines are powerful because they will keep you calmer. When you’re not constantly tripping over shoes that are left out, refereeing fights over toys and explaining the screen time rules for the 100th time, you will have more self-control, energy and mental bandwidth 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-only activities like sidewalk chalk and sprinkler time.

Routines get a bad reputation for inhibiting spontaneity but in truth a good summer routine allows for creativity and fun. Inertia can keep us home on the couch on the iPad but a routine plans 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.

Create a Summer Routine for Kids

Having a routine will reduce your decision-making. Instead of using mental energy to figure out what to do next, routines make many of the decisions upfront.

First, you need 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 play time
  • Park or playground adventures
  • Errand times

Routines reduce decision fatigue that zaps your spirit for fun and adventure. Create a routine now so you can use your mental bandwidth for fun and adventures this summer!


Need more routines? Check out these printable routines in the Printable Parents Shop!

Printable Summer Daily Routine

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. It you prefer a different order, cut on dotted lines and glue on another piece of paper.
  4. Use a dry erase marker to cross of the tasks each day.

Summer Routine Fun Activity Time

You’ll notice 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

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 favorite 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

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 three 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

With the coronavirus, it’s hard to know when or if we’ll be able to get out off the house. That’s potentially going to make this summer harder.

Can you socially distance:

  • on a walk?
  • on a hike?
  • for a picnic?
  • for a drive?

If your area lifts the Stay Home orders, consider where it is safe to go.  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

You can Create a Summer Routine for Your Kids

It isn’t hard to create a summer routine for your children.  Just take some time to think about what you need your children to accomplish daily and 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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  1. […] will prevent many problems around screen time.  I’ve created a post about routines and a printable Summer Routine for […]

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