Summer Challenge & Routine 2013

Summer Challenge 2013

We have been doing Summer Challenge for several years now! You can see more details and explanations in these past posts if this is new to you!

    Each year I adapt the challenge for the current ages and needs of the kids.  This is the first year Ladybug {age 4} has participated and she is loving it!  One addition this year is the What To Do chart! The basic concept is that the kids follow a loose routine with me and a lot of free time is built into our summer days.  During this free time they are not allowed to plug in at all {no iPad, iPod, computer, video games, or TV}. With the goal of assisting them in their creative thinking, we created categories to choose from during the day. Reading, outside play, creative expression {art, play dough, drawing, etc.}, exercise, school work {summer options are listed later in this post}, or building {blocks or any creative building toy we have}.  The little clips are for them to move over as we complete an activity.  We aren’t tied to the clips, but they are there in case they somehow get “bored” and can’t remember things they haven’t done yet that day!

Summer Challenge 2013 -4705

{download here}

Our daily routine for now is one without strict time constraints, but with what I call “anchors” throughout the day.  These anchors are the same whenever we are at home during those times. I even have alarms set on my phone to go off at these times to remind us.


Contribute time is where we all stop for 15 minutes and contribute to the upkeep of our home together.  We pick up junk, vacuum, wipe chairs/tables, clean a bathroom, clean bedrooms, and do a quick clean of the schoolroom.  As you can see, we do this twice a day, as the main areas can get out of hand if we don’t.  Daddy comes home at 4, which is the main reason we have one at 3:15, so we can pick up the living room, kitchen and schoolroom before he arrives.

Summer Challenge 2013 -4700 Summer Challenge 2013 -4702

Snack/Plug In time is 30 minutes each time for the kids to use a device or watch a 30 minute show while they have a snack.

Be Still and Alone is for the sanity of our home {and me}.  At 1:00 each day we all divide for an hour and a half.  One boy stays in the schoolroom, Ladybug goes to her bedroom and the other boy to their bedroom.  During this time they can do whatever they want that is unplugged and quiet!  Often Pac chooses to earn summer challenge points!  This is also a wind down time for me to get anything done online or in the house that I need to do.


During the free time in between these anchors they can do just about anything that isn’t plugged in. Mostly the choose to create, build, play outside, or earn points through summer learning. The BIG favorite right now is the Straws and Connectors shown below!

Summer Challenge 2013 -5156 Summer Challenge 2013 -4719Summer Challenge 2013 -4707 Summer Challenge 2013 -4708


Each child knows what school work s/he can do to earn points, and the little 2 have these boxes to remind them.  Each child has a notebook with sheet protectors filled with summer work, mostly from the summer learning packs from Royal Baloo and 3 Dinosaurs. They also have some other workbooks and things.

Summer Challenge 2013 -5134

When work is completed and needs to be assigned points, they use the blue bin which is right under our point charts. I grade it, write in the points and transfer it to the done box {red}.  I clean out the done box when I get to it.

Summer Challenge 2013 -5138


We do not use our regular curriculum {Calvert} in the summer, although near the end of the summer the boys will have the option to begin early and earn points while working ahead.  We use our supplemental stuff and each boy chose a delight-directed learning theme.  Krash chose cats and Pac chose gardening.

Although the kids have a lot of free choice and the ability to earn points with school work, I do have required school time with Mom too.  They DO get points for any summer school work, which they love, but I do have some required lessons planned. They wouldn’t always choose what I want them to do without this requirement.  The bonus is that any school work done before Labor Day earns summer challenge points!


Summer School Subjects

Krash {age 7, going into 2nd}

Summer Challenge 2013 -4682

PacMan {age 11, going into 6th}

Summer Challenge 2013 -4710

Ladybug {age 4, preschool}

Summer Challenge 2013 -4680


We use a similar format for prizes as we always have {you can see links to past posts in the beginning of the post} but this year the boys have decided to put in 75 points each to earn a gymnastics mushroom for our house {it is a pommel horse trainer for young gymnasts}. Usually the prizes are smaller but this was an opportunity for them to work together for something we want them to have anyway.  Ladybug will be earning something small for every 25 points, her first prize is a $1 set of bath capsules {turn into animals}.

Summer Challenge honestly has been a lifesaver for me.  Our new anchor routine has been a HUGE help this summer as well. We have a lot going on outside of our home {VBS &  Reading Rocks with our church, gymnastics 3x per week, and our seasonal campsite that we try to go to one night per week} but this plan really helps for the many hours we do spend at home!

Looking for the original Summer Challenge Printables

They are in this post…Summer Challenge

Summer Challenge 2012

It’s that time again!  Time to give the kids something productive to do, so they don’t drive me nuts with their boredom!

Summer Challenge

We have been doing the Summer Challenge for years and it has really helped us!  I adapt the challenge each year for the current ages/stages of my boys, here I will share this year’s version!

The forms are the same as they were last year, I just updated the cards outlining what the boys can choose to earn points, and I also added in a couple of new checklists for the boys to fill out.


Keeping Track…

Each boy has a graph, these hang up on our dry erase board this year. I keep a pencil and a highlighter nearby for recording points, they are in the little silver things {from Ikea}.

Summer Challenge Set Up

To record points, I write in the box what the point was earned for {so we don’t forget if it was marked} and color with a highlighter.  Krash is blue, Pac is green. I offer these for you to download, and there are 2 forms for girls too {link is at the bottom of post}!

Summer Challenge Graphs  


Let’s Earn Some Points!

Each boy also has a set of cards, they can flip through to choose point earning tasks.  These cards include the following…

Summer Challenge Krash 

Summer Challenge Pac

Their cards are printed on cardstock, laminated, cut apart, and hung up using a metal ring.

For extra schoolwork, PacMan is using the Summer Bridge workbook for 4th-5th grade.

Once his 5th Grade box from Calvert arrives, and I have time to plan out his first 20 lessons, he will also have the option to get a jump start on school work.   Krash has already begun his 1st grade curriculum, so he can get points for any schoolwork he completes.  I am probably going to get him a review workbook too, for more independence, since he needs to work with me for much of his 1st grade work.


Contribution Checklists

This year I also added in morning/evening contribution checklists.  If the boys check these off, and turn them into a parent BEFORE doing anything “fun” {tv, video games, playing, etc.}  they get a point. In the evening, they have to put it on my desk before going to bed.  The kicker is filling the sheet out and remembering to turn it in.  This is SO difficult for them to remember, but we do it to help them learn responsibility.Summer Challenge Krash Checklist

I do not offer a printable to download for these, but you could make your own using the table feature in Word or another program.  I use Publisher and PowerPoint to work in to make most of my printables. Summer Challenge Pac Checklist


What About the Prizes?

Daddy and I are still editing the prize list, I just didn’t want to wait to post this, since school is out or getting out soon for most of you!  You can see the prize sheets from last year, we are just adjusting based on each boy’s interests. I provide blank prize sheets in the printable set, you can write your info in, or use the idea to create your own!


~>~>~> Download Summer Challenge Printables Here <~<~<~