After deciding on our project goals, we created a list of resources we would need—everything from glitter glue and markers to google eyes and plaster of Paris—and went shopping. We didn’t get everything we needed all at once, but we bought enough to get a good start and to get everyone—including me—excited.
Once we had the bulk of our resources, we made weekly schedules, starting out with a week or two at a time. I printed out a simple schedule with some cute clip art and posted it on the family bulletin board. The top of the schedule showed blocks with the days of the week. If there was something that definitely had to happen on a certain day, I’d put it in the block. Below the blocks were our SLAM categories with a project beside each category. A typical week usually included a couple of crafts, a fun science experiment, a cooking project, and one field trip. Brain bucks, free play, and physical activities such as biking, jumping on the trampoline in the backyard, and swimming were daily events and not included in our planning.
This type of schedule gave me the freedom I needed. I had time to keep up my regular responsibilities and still give my kids a great summer. A couple of times a day, we’d stop everything and do a SLAM activity. When we finished, the kids worked on brain bucks or had free play while I worked, cleaned, or did whatever else I needed to do (like chow down on my secret stash of Peanut Butter Passion ice cream!).
The kids knew that throughout the week, we would do all the activities on the schedule. Some days, we’d only cover one project, other days, we’d grab two. I didn’t have to plan every minute of the day; I just had to have a couple of great things to get us through each week. If the I’m Boreds began to rear their ugly heads, all I had to do was point to the SLAM schedule and they disappeared. Just knowing we had something planned seemed to help my kids from going stir crazy. Plus, it prevented me from getting bogged down and stressed out with work and home responsibilities.
SLAM helped our family have the best summer ever. I was finally able to relax and have fun with my kids, knowing that there was plenty of time for work and play. We even brought our friends into it, with their families naming their summers too. Sure, there was a little expense involved getting everything started, but it was well worth it. For the first time as an adult, I can actually say that summer flew by and I was kind of sorry to see it go. We’ve been planning SLAM 2 ever since, and the sequel promises to be even better.
If you’re dreading the last days of the school year—and you know your summer needs saving—consider creating your own SLAM: name your summer, do your homework, stay flexible, and have fun!
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