Follow this simple daily summer schedule for kids to balance fun, meals, and learning time. Plus, don’t miss out on a free printable to keep your older kids busy and contributing!
Summer break can be both a fun and stressful time for moms.
After several months of structured school time, the freedom of long summer days can make home life a little chaotic if you’re not prepared.
To help you out, we’re sharing our simple daily summer schedule that makes balancing play time, meals, and learning time easy.
We’ve also included a free printable to ensure your older kids have the best summer ever!
Why do I need a summer schedule?
Children, especially young children need to have a daily routine.
A predictable routine creates stability and structure and enables children to mentally and emotionally navigate their day.
It’s also helpful for moms.
Routines reduce power struggles over things like screen time or video games and chores and promote easier household management.
With the proper summer routine, moms can also enforce summer reading, encourage outdoor play and physical activity, and ensure children get the proper balance of rest, play, free time, and mental stimulation.
Our Summer Schedule
We love to use a block schedule to map out our summer days!
Having specific blocks of time for specific activities makes it easy to coordinate the schedules of younger and older kids who have slightly different needs.
Early Morning: 7 AM-10 AM
The early morning hours are filled with breakfast, scripture study, getting ready for the day, and completing chores.
These special clocks change color to let kids know what to do when they wake up.
One color means go back to sleep, another color means it’s okay to play quietly in their room, and the final color means it’s okay to come out.
Play Time: 10 AM-12 PM
At 10 AM kids can play outside or play with friends until lunch. Or we’ll do a family activity like go to the splash pad or visit a museum.
Lunch Time: 12 PM-1 PM
Quiet Time/Nap Time/Learning Time: 1 PM-3 PM
At 1 PM it’s nap time for babies, quiet time for preschoolers, and learning time for kids in elementary school.
Older kids need to do 20 minutes of reading and another learning activity and younger kids have independent play time. We also love the idea of using audio books to keep kids entertained!
This is often the hottest time of the day, so it’s good for kids to be inside and out of the hot sun.
Play Time: 3 PM-5:30 PM
At 3 PM we do a fun summer activity together, or the kids can go back outside to play with friends.
Dinner Time 5:30 PM-6:30 PM
We eat dinner around 5:30 and then do family activities in the evening.
Family Time: 6:30 PM
For family time, we might do things like family board games, go to a park, or watch a movie.
The bedtime routine for younger and older children will likely differ and may start at different times. But, we encourage a general winding down of activity level.
PRO TIP: It may still be light outside when it’s time to send your kids to bed. To help them get to sleep, use blackout curtains!
These will make their rooms nice and dark so they can wind down and understand that it’s time to sleep.
We also have a weekly summer schedule where we do a few fun things that the children pick from our summer bucket list.
We keep a whiteboard with a dry-erase marker to map out each day of the week and the activities we’ll do that day.
In addition to our summer schedules, we also have daily charts for our older kids. They have to complete different tasks every day to keep our house running smoothly. If they do their tasks, they get a checkmark so they can earn money every week.
You can read more about how to create your own family economy here and you can create your own daily charts with the free printable, below.
How To Handle Screen Time
Screen time can be a big problem in the summer because it’s natural for kids to get bored and it’s easy to turn to screens.
But letting kids be bored is great for their development because it forces them to be creative!
With that said, we do allow screen time every day and the amount is based on our kids’ ages.
Toddlers can have 1 hour every day. Kids 5 and older get 2 hours.
They get to choose when to have their screen time, but it’s only at certain times of the day; either right before lunch, during the afternoon, or after dinner.
Doing it this way makes sure they aren’t on screens for hours every day and gives them the freedom to choose when to watch shows.
These sample summer schedules are the perfect way to organize your summer days and weeks.
Personalize them to cater to your family’s specific needs and desires.
Once you enter your email to unlock the image, click on it and you’ll be taken to the folder with all of the graphics.
PRO TIP: Make these charts last for years with this simple laminator!
Summer Activity Ideas
Below, you’ll find exciting summer activities that the whole family will enjoy with things like trips to the fair, day trips to a museum or water park, picnics at the local park, and more.
You’ll find a mix of indoor and outdoor activities for both younger and older children to enjoy.
They’re the perfect fun activities for the warm summer months.
PRO TIP: To make planning even easier, you can have a theme day for each day of the week like “Trip Tuesday”, “Water Wednesday”, and “Thoughtful Thursday”.
Fun Summer Bucket List
Things to make:
- Make s’mores
- Try a new recipe
- Tie-dye shirts
- Make homemade ice cream
- Make an indoor fort
- Make popsicles
- Do a slip and slide
- Run through the sprinklers
- Go to the lake
- Go to the water park
- Visit a splash pad
- Visit a museum
- Go bowling
- Go fishing
- Visit a farmer’s market
- Go to the zoo
- Go to a bounce house
- Visit the library
- Go to the carnival
- Go to an amusement park
- Go on a bike ride
- Eat snow cones
- Have a BBQ with friends
- Watch a parade
- Play yard games
- Blow bubbles
- Listen to an outdoor concert
Find 30 additional fun summer ideas here!
Here are some simple, affordable, and fun educational activity ideas to add to your kid’s summer schedule.
- STEM and STEAM Kits for Kids
- Coding for Kids
- Interactive globe
- Bird watching
It’s always fun to include sensory activities in your child’s summer schedule.
These activities help with developmental milestones and are a great way to engage young minds. They also help with:
- Cognitive growth
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Social interaction
- Memory enhancement
- The ability to complete complex learning tasks
Here are some fun ideas from this catalog of 52 weeks of sensory play ideas:
- Shaving cream play
- Silly string play
- Water beads
- Finger painting
- Kinetic sand
- Bean sorting
- Potato printing
- Celery stamping
Cooking is one of our favorite sensory activities that’s also educational. It’s a great way to teach children how to follow directions, basic math, and chemistry.
And you get to enjoy the results when you’re done.
Here are some easy recipes that kids can make:
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Hawaiian Haystacks
- Faux Fettucine
- Lemon Basil Pasta
- Pink Fluff
- Orange Julius Smoothies
- Brown Sugar Banana Smoothies
- Meyer Lemonade
You can also incorporate open-ended play into your child’s summer schedule.
These are activities that require your child to use their creativity and imagination.
You can achieve this by using creative toys like a doll house, activity centers, and sports toys.
Or you can use non-toy items like:
- Dress up clothes
- Mud kitchens
- Magnet or paper dolls
- Cardboard boxes
At-Home Summer Camp Ideas
Kids may not always be excited about learning activities, but if you frame it as summer camp at home, they’ll likely be way more engaged.
You can integrate any of the fun activities above into an at-home summer camp for your kids that follows your daily and weekly schedule.
To create a summer camp experience, you can:
- Come up with a camp name and motto
- Create a camp flag
- Set up tents in your kids’ bedrooms or the backyard
You can also make camp foods like:
- Hobo dinners (foil dinners)
- Dutch oven dinners
- Grilled burgers and franks
And you can even create summer camp awards or merit badges for completing things like:
- Reading a certain number of books
- Running a mile
- Identifying animals and plants
- Learning different swim strokes
Kids always do better with structure and routine.
A predictable schedule not only provides a sense of security but also supports a child’s emotional development.
A summer schedule is a great way to help kids get the best out of their summer break while ensuring emotional and mental stability.
First, create a schedule that works well for both you and your children that you can easily stick to.
Next, make sure your children understand the schedule and what is expected of them each day. (A visual schedule or calendar is especially helpful for younger children.)
Once you create your schedule, do your best to stick to it! But, keep in mind, that things will not go according to plan 100% of the time.
Try to follow the 80/20 rule – as long as you keep to your schedule about 80% of the time, you’re doing great!
Summer bedtimes may differ depending on a child’s age, personal needs, and how early your family likes to wake up in the morning.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind for your summer sleep schedule:
– Children ages 3-5 need 10 to 13 hours of sleep
– Children ages 6-13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep
– Children ages 14-17 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep
Looking for more summertime ideas and tips? You’ll love these:
- 5 Fun At Home Activities to do with Kids This Summer
- How to Include Your Toddler In Outdoor Activities This Summer
- How to Introduce Your Toddler To Swimming This Summer
- Pool Safety Tips For Your Next Family Vacation
- Mommy and Me Workout at the Park
- Summer Family Picture Ideas
- What to Wear to Disneyland
- How to Save Money at Disneyland
What did you think of these fun summer schedule ideas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!