School’s Out Tips
• It is never too late to start a new tradition! Have each child pick out their favorite piece of artwork (roughly 10 pieces to start). Take their #1 art piece and have it framed and displayed in your home. Consider mailing one or two art pieces to family and friends near or far.
Store the remaining artwork in an art portfolio or a sealable container that slides under their bed. Each year, have them go through the container, edit the contents, and pick out that year’s 10 art pieces.
Check out THIS art portfolio for the kiddos!
• Gather all your kids’ memorabilia from the year—certificates, ribbons, photos, ticket stubs, etc.—and create a memory book using an inexpensive, expandable scrapbook. Let the kids personalize it with markers, stickers, or gel paint. Designate one desk drawer or bin as the storage area for these memories in the future.
Click here for an adorable (and super affordable) scrapbook option!
Is scrapbooking not really your family’s thing? Check out THIS neat organizer.
• Gleefully pitch everything from school that your children don’t want or need into the recycling bin or trash, making as much celebratory noise as possible!
• Whether they’re worn out or just don’t fit, pack away or give away any school-specific clothes. Take an afternoon to look through your kids’ summer clothes and identify anything you’ll need to pick up from the store in the coming weeks.
• Put together a festive meal at the beginning of summer, and spend time talking about your hopes and plans for the break. Make sure to take notes, so you can refer to them later in the summer when boredom sets in. Sit with your kids, and look over the list on the last day of summer, celebrating any accomplishments and making special note of any lessons learned.
• With a trusty list, packing becomes a breeze! Put a generic packing list on your computer. For example: “One Week at the Beach Packing List.” This is especially helpful if you go to the same vacation spot each year.
List how many shorts, t-shirts, pajamas, bathing suits, and socks you should bring. Then list any household items or food you’ll need for the ride. Take the list with you to update while you are on vacation. Make adjustments to the document when you get back home.
• If you are in a foreign country, photograph the sign & the name of your hotel. If there is a language barrier, you can show the photo to the person you are trying to communicate with, such as cab/Uber drivers, tour guides, etc.
• Take a photo of your traveling partners. If you get separated, you can always take out your phone or camera and show the picture to people who may have seen your friends. This tip is especially valuable if you are traveling with children!
• Use Evernote to organize your vacation. With this app, you can look up your information on any electronic device. While you are on your trip, you can also document everything in the app by journaling and posting your photos.
• Clean out your refrigerator and fill it with fruits and vegetables from your local farmers’ market. Stock a healthy snack bin in the fridge and pantry for the kids to grab & go.
• Stock your beach or pool bag with all of your essentials for the day. Hang a luggage tag on the handle with a list of the items needed such as sunscreen, towels, hats, etc. Anyone can restock the bag and be ready to go for a day of fun.
• Plan a no-stress barbeque for your family and friends. Select a date, plan your menu, and purchase non-perishable items ahead of time. One or two days prior to the event, complete your grocery shopping. And remember, it’s okay to accept when guests offer to bring something!
• Plan your rainy day activities and be prepared for the gloomy weather. Rent movies that you have been waiting to see, go to the library or even clean your home.
• Summer is a beautiful time to help kids learn, so schedule some time to work on areas where your child needs help.
• Keep a loose routine so that chaos doesn’t reign in your house. If one parent works part-time, adjust your schedule, if possible, so you’ll have a day off or work shorter hours. Let the children know when friends can come over and make sure any summer assignments or household chores are done early in the morning.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business.