Make This Summer with Your Kids Count (2015 Edition)

Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

Ah, summer. For many of us, the word is synonymous with any number of good things: long, sun-drenched days, vacations, going to the pool, the smell of freshly cut grass, baseball, etc. But the summer months also offer a great chance for parents to help their kids grow and develop in an intentional way. As you read today’s post, keep in mind that each family’s goals will be different given all the variables, including the age of kids, work responsibilities, summer school, etc. And remember that reality sometimes falls short of even the best intentions. It’s a lesson we’re taught regularly at our house!

Some of the following post is borrowed and updated from my original 2013 summer goals post here.………

I love the idea of using summertime with my kids in a way that makes a lasting impact. But when it comes to parenting, if we don’t have some goals in mind for our kids–whether long-term or short-term–it’s easy to lose sight of where we are going. It’s easy to waste the precious little time we have with these young souls in our charge. (I’m speaking from a “guilty as charged” place myself!) That’s why it’s helpful to think through some specific goals for our summer with our children. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years about that process and what our goals are for Summer 2015.

Ask Yourself Big Picture Questions

This summer think about developing your child as a whole person: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Start by praying for wisdom (James 1:5) about what your children need and for God to guide your goal-making process. Then ask yourself some of these questions as you develop summer goals:

  • If you could see your child grow in one or two particular areas, what would those be?
  • What is one or two routines you’d like your family to learn? (For instance: reading the Bible, doing chores around the house, establishing reading time, learning to swim, etc.)
  • What is a new experience or activity you could try?
  • What books would you like to read to your children?
Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

Field trip to a local farm with friends last summer.

Narrow Down Your Goals

One thing to keep in mind is not to have too many goals, otherwise you’re likely to get discouraged and not follow through. Plus, having too many goals can lead to too many activities and not enough flexible time. We need to leave time for our kids to play and use their imaginations on their own, as well as for spontaneous teaching moments, times of discipline, sick kids, and the other inevitable but oh-so-important “non-planned for” events of the day.

Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

Unstructured time at home in the summer often results in homemade inventions like this one that provided hours of entertainment and only a few minor injuries.

Make Measurable Goals

It’s also helpful to make your summer goals concrete and measurable. You should be able to answer periodically throughout or at the end of the summer whether or not you made progress toward each goal. In fact, last summer I posted our goals on the fridge and periodically asked the kids how they thought they were progressing. Here are last year’s goals on the fridge…

Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

Example: Summer 2015 Goals for My Kids

Every family is completely different when it comes to our children’s needs and what you as a parent are gifted at doing. We usually have some general goals for everyone and then a few specific individual goals (i.e. learn how to ride a bike, etc). But, just to give you an example, our Summer 2015 goals for our children (ages 4, 6, and 8) are these…

How to Make This Summer With Your Kids Count

Now the next and perhaps hardest step is figuring out how to implement these goals! For several ideas for making your goals a reality, read my initial post HERE or my post from summer 2014 HERE.

Make This Summer with Your Kids Count - How to create intentional summer goals that will make a difference in kids' lives.

My mom and kids with their pumpkin and squash harvest from last summer. (Read more about it here.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Tara says

    I love this basic outline for the day. I especially love the bright colors. Did you just cut strips of bright printer paper or cardstock and then tape them to the fridge? Or are they some sort of post-it product? Looking to help my nearly 3 year old get into a routine more.

    • Rachel says

      I can’t tell you how much use I’ve gotten out of these magnetic strips, Tara. This is my 3rd summer using them and my kids are so into them (ages 4-8). I just used colored posterboard and cut strips. Then, I used adhesive magnetic strips on the back. I think it would have been a bonus if I had laminated them, but a girl can dream. 😉 P.S. My advice is to make several extra blank ones. We are finding that life changes and we need other options these days.

      • Tara says

        Nice! I notice you have a stainless steel fridge like I do. Are the small strips on the front panel of your fridge magnetic too? The front panels of my fridge won’t hold magnets. I didn’t want a stainless steel fridge for exactly this reason (well, that and having to clean fingerprints). Am I the only person left in the world who wants a state of the art fridge that I can still cover in kids artwork with magnets? 🙂

  2. D Lammy says

    So, Caroline just learned to ride a bike without training wheels, and it was AMAZING…in fact, she never had them on her bike! Ok, to be completely honest, I just followed a friend’s advice, who suggested that we get her comfortable on a balance bike first. Holy Cow, best suggestion ever. She’s been zipping around on a balance bike since last summer, and then this year, when she wanted to give a “big bike” a try, she climbed on, and just started riding! It was NUTS, and also fantastic…and even Drew was impressed. We had a Smart Gear wooden one, and I have been really impressed with the craftmanship. Zulily will also run various types, but as you know, shipping can take forever. Here’s a quick video about them:

    There’s lots of different kinds of balance bikes, I was just able to get this one for a good price. Maybe someone will let you review one with Hannah and Ben?