MG and DG have seven more school days until six weeks at home getting bored with me. Until two years ago the long school summer break didn’t exist for me because I both worked and had children under school age. Technically our first school summer break was last year, and it was broken up by ten days on Mull which seemed to make the break fly past. This summer, with no holiday in the budget, six weeks seems like a long time…
In an ideal world, I’d be creating fun and interesting activities for my children to choose from, having themes every month to keep them inspired and adding to their learning. In reality, my children are far better off with a mummy who sleeps an extra two hours because she can’t function otherwise rather than one that uses those two hours to be ‘fun’ and ‘interesting’. Planning isn’t my forte at the moment. We generally wing it and see how things go. However, I’m not comfortable with spontaneity at all, it makes me anxious. I prefer to know about things in advance, but I also get very frustrated when plans fall through so over time I’ve just stopped making them!
This summer is going to be different. This summer we are going to have A Plan. It is going to be utterly flexible so can’t-be-bothered days can take over and the children can watch wall-to-wall Scooby Doo instead, but there will be A Plan nonetheless.
MG and DG’s school have six full weeks off. I thought about planning six themes to go with the weeks but a week never seems like long enough and we’ll have lots of non-theme activities to fit in therefore four themes seemed like plenty.
Bears and Teddies: Jane Hissey is visiting our local bookshop on July 23rd and I’m taking the girls, plus I already have a huge post on bear-related activities inspired by Hugless Douglas so this seemed a good place to start. The picture books we’ll read on the theme will include: Jane Hissey’s Old Bear books; Hugless Douglas; Jez Alborough’s Bear trilogy; Bear’s Big Bottom.
Dogs and Pets: This theme is inspired by MG & DG’s cousin’s favourite animal. We wanted to visit her in Ireland this summer but it’s not going to happen, so maybe MG & DG can make her something to send instead. Picture books include: the Claude books; The Perfect Present; Time for Bed, Fred; Scooby Doo?!
Amazing Africa: Inspired by the Anna Hibiscus books, I’m hoping that looking at a continent will be interesting in lots of different ways. I expect animals will be a big feature of what we look at, and maybe we can go on a visit to a wildlife park, although we’ve just been to Cotwold Wildlife Park so that might not be possible again over summer. Books include: Anna Hibiscus; Handa’s Surprise; possibly 64 Zoo Lane books.
Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes: MG loves writing so I’m hoping to encourage her to write her own fairy tale as part of this theme. She’s currently writing and illustrating Rapunzel, and working on a play, so maybe we can expand on this with some of her friends. We can also see what The Story Museum has on for visits. We have many, many books to choose from but a selection include: David Roberts’ Fairy Tales; Barefoot Books Gigantic Turnip; Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes & Mixed Up Fairy Tales.
My current review pile of picture books may have had some influence over the themes, but they all cover ideas that MG and DG are already interested in. There are lots of museums in Oxford that I can look at to see if there are any exhibitions that fit with our themes.
Other than starting with Bears and Teddies because of the Jane Hissey event, I haven’t decided which themes we’ll cover in which weeks yet but will start looking into what’s on locally, craft ideas and ‘pre-booked’ dates shortly.