Summer is a fun time of year the whole family looks forward to. To help ensure you have a wonderful time, think about what you will do for the season early. As sdsi.org says, “One of the keys to having a successful, stress-free summer is to plan ahead.” Take care of the details now, so your family can fully enjoy yourselves later.

Start early.

“Begin planning early,” says sdsi.org. “Daycare programs fill up quickly.” Many families will be looking for summer activities just as you are, so commence your search long before spring is over. Besides, the sooner you start planning for your family’s summer vacation, the more time you will have to get organized.

Get your child involved.

After all, this is for your kid, right? Let your child help choose activities, mark the calendar, and pack bags. Make planning a fun activity in itself that you do together.

Gather what you need.

No matter how you want to spend the summer, you will need some equipment or materials. Start gathering them early. Do not forget emergency supplies like a first aid kit, flashlight, bottled water, spare batteries, emergency contact list, etc. Install apps you may need on your smartphone, say weather and travel apps.

Seek inspiration from others.

Not sure what to do? Refer to your local community’s summer activity guide for ideas. Look for programs or events that fit your child’s age and areas of interest. You could also ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations.

Keep an eye on the weather.

No plan for outdoor fun will work unless the elements cooperate. Look for a good weather app to download on Google Play (if you use an Android). Check the weather forecast often so you can cancel or postpone a trip if necessary.

Put safety first.

Obviously, it is important to select the right activities for your child. But it is vital that you research your options thoroughly if your child will be in the care of others, like in a summer camp. Brandpoint.com says, “Learn about the staff and camp directors to be assured that the camp screens, carefully selects and trains their leaders.” The site also advises parents to consider things such as camp size, types of programs offered, and the camp’s policy toward diet and exercise.

Plan for indoors.

Summer activities do not always have to involve the outdoors. Sometimes it may be too hot to play outside or your kids just feel like staying at home. Or the weather may bring some rain. Plan for craft activities, indoor games or kid-friendly cooking.

Teach your kids about safety and emergency situations.

Anytime is a good time for your kids to learn about safety. But it is especially important if you plan to take them on vacation, to summer camp or any outdoor adventure. Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency, accident, etc.

See also summer safety tips from the CDC.

Don’t be afraid to keep it simple.

Your summer itinerary does not have to be extravagant or complicated to be special. Nor do you have to do what everyone else is doing. Baking a cake or tending the garden can be as much as fun as anything else if that is something your family enjoys.

Have a backup plan.

What would you do if things did not work out as thought? A change of weather, an event cancellation, or a breakdown of the family vehicle could ruin your plans. Make sure you have other ways to fill up the summer calendar.

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