There’s 104 days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it
104 days of summer vacation! The countdown has begun! If reading the words “104 days of summer vacation” doesn’t put the Phineas and Ferb theme song in your head all day, we can’t be friends.
Your kids probably don’t get 104 days of summer vacation—it might be closer to 75 days. We get 104 days of summer vacation because we homeschool, so we can.
Every May, the kids make me count 104 days from last day of school to first day of school so they can have a nice, long summer just like Phineas and Ferb.
Schools here in Arizona let out before Memorial Day, and start back at some ungodly time in early August—some schools even start back up in July, which is just plain wrong.
We wrap up our “real school” the Friday before Memorial Day, and we never, ever start “doing school” again until after Labor Day. I laugh to myself all summer long as my kids travel and read and teach themselves how to do all sorts of things (because we have serious summer rules about screen time and they have time on their hands). I do believe they learn more over the summer than they ever do on days I have to say, “It’s time to start school”!
This year, our 104 days of summer vacation runs from May 26 through September 8. Every summer, I try to keep track of what we do every day so I end up with a summer journal of fun, but I usually poop out around June 2. This year, I’m going to put all 104 days of summer vacation here on All Day Mom.
Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today!
I even made a nifty summer calendar that runs from May through September, because I usually spend half the summer haunting Target for a 75% off clearance calendar which you’d think they’d have because it’s June already, but no, the calendars are still only 50% off. So, I made my own, and you can get my summer calendar here for the low, low price of 95 cents. Done. Print it out in red, white, and blue, or black and white. Interestingly enough, I don’t have a color printer, because I don’t have $200 a month to spend on the colored ink my kids would go through if I did. Homeschool problems.
I think normal people would just use their regular calendar. I like having a separate summer calendar. If you’re fun like me, get your summer calendar here!
You don’t have to entertain your kids all summer!
We just bought a house, so we’re trying to keep our summer plans cheap and local this year, even though I’m itching to get out and see some sights! Free daytrips are my jam, so it won’t be all swimming all day all summer, but actually, they had better swim A LOT because I had to search for three months to find a great house with a pool! (They’re not as easy to come by in Phoenix as you’d think.)
With just a little attention to detail, you can make every summer day memorable for your kids! A straw and an umbrella in a drink. A late bedtime to stay up a little longer to play one more game. (Board game, not video game!) A picnic in your own backyard. A blanket fort. Easy enough, and free enough. Just do what you do, and then put sprinkles on it.
My summer budget is $20! Seriously.
We’ll go on a few trips this summer, but for the at-home weekdays (when Dad is at work), I’ve budgeted just $20 for summer fun!
$20 summer budget RULES:
1. Use it up
I didn’t buy anything ahead of time to stack the deck, but I will be using some things I have on hand, like Cokes left over from our last Disneyland trip (see the Day 1 journal below), movie tickets we bought from Costco two years ago that I just found and I hope are still valid, any easy freebies I can score (Walgreens has giant bags of sour candy worms free this week), boxes of fabric that three grandmas have given to Jameson the Queen of Crafts, power tools and BBs because I have FSA funds to use up so what’s the worst that could happen?, the two bags of water balloons Grandma brought over last summer that I immediately hid because I just couldn’t deal with the inevitable fights and tiny water balloon pieces sun-glued to the pool deck because the kids didn’t pick up the balloon pieces when it was 112 degrees out all week…whatever I can find around the house that will make each day a little extra special.
I am now second guessing my idea for busting out those water balloons.
2. Gas doesn’t count.
I’m happy to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon and back in one day. We’ve done it. Three times. But I’ll pack water and snacks and lunch and dinner to keep it cheap, plus we have the Every Kid in a Park pass because Jameson’s a fourth grader so we get into any National Park or National Monument for free! We also have a National Parks Pass because I bought that last summer and the park ranger let me do it, even though he specifically talked with Jameson about starting fourth grade. Not cool.
3. I reserve the right to add to my $20 budget.
But I think I can do it, and I want to see how far $20 can go.
4. Things my husband buys don’t count, unless I put him up to it.
See Pool Basketball, below.
104 Days of Summer Vacation Day 1: Yardwork and Coke
Just like my body, I want to get the yard into shape now so I will be happy to show it off all summer. To this end I’m having the kids do one hour of yard work every morning. Having sounds much nicer than making, doesn’t it? If they work straight through, and work hard, they get a Coke. This may not be a big deal if your kids drink a lot of Coke, but my kids drink water unless we’re on vacation, so it’s actually a great motivator. Plus, they’re doing the yardwork whether or not they get the Coke, so they may as well do it right and get the goods. That’s two man hours a day I’m getting for slave wages, and they’re on assignment until there is absolutely nothing left to do, or until the Coke supply runs out, whichever comes last. [Maniacal laugh.]
How is this fun for kids???
Did you not read that I am giving them a Coke? That’s totally fun. And if it’s not, your kids drink too much Coke. Seriously, there wasn’t originally a bribe at all, I just told them they’d have to do an hour of yard work every morning to pitch in because I needed to work inside the house. The end. No money, just restructuring the current chore system.
Then, Jameson asked if she could have a Coke if she worked for two hours. I told her I’d actually give her a Coke if she just put in one solid hour and the deal was sealed, because who would work for free on Sunday when they worked for a Coke on Saturday? Nobody, that’s who.
I told the kids they could have their Cokes at any time after they earned it. It is hilarious watching them work out when to drink that Coke each day!
Simple Summer Fun
Swimming with Dad (because Mom needs it to be 105 degrees in the shade before she’ll stick a toe in).
First Annual Tiki Torch Lighting Ceremony
If I remember to do it, we’ll light the tiki torches every year the day after school gets out. Tiki torches are totally awesome, and they’re like $3. Unless you get the fancy ones. Which we did. And they had better last at least three summers.
FYI, you can get the torches and fuel way cheaper at Lowe’s or Walmart, but if you’re lazy and rich, order tiki torches on Amazon with free shipping (affiliate link).
My husband came home with a $20 pool basketball hoop and a $100 pool volleyball set. I told him that if the kids and I can’t make a pool volleyball set in one week, he can keep the ridiculously priced pool volleyball set oh my gosh it’s just two crappy aluminum poles with a crappy volleyball net—what the what? If I can DIY, it’s going back to the store.
Jefferson declared the pool basketball hoop “worth the twenty bucks” on it’s first use. That is quite an endorsement!
When does your summer start?