A few summers ago, I created the "Super Summer Challenge" for my children. Josiah, our 12 year-old, mentioned it one afternoon last week while we were walking. He asked that I create a similar system for him this coming summer. I love it when my children remember of something that worked well in the past and ask for a repeat!
What exactly is a super summer challenge? It is a list of activities customized for each child that helps them fill their long summer days AND develop new skills and habits.
Prior to developing the actual lists, I considered goals for each of my children. I focused goals in three areas: physical, relational, and spiritual. After establishing the goals, I then came up with activities that would encourage growth in that specific area. For example, I had the over-all goal that the children would do some physical activities every day. I placed "Swim 4 laps" as one child's challanges. Another child was working on juggling skills, so I specified "juggle for 20 minutes" as one of his challenges.
Relational challenges were things like working on a puzzle or playing a game with a brother. I listed some activities that everyone could work on, and also made lists specific to each child. Spiritual goals included reading their bible, completing a lesson in a study, or memorizing scripture. I also added some challenges that were only to be completed on our vacation - activities I knew the children would be able to participate in that week. This kept our challenge going even though our routine was altered.
There was a point system invovled. We set a target for points each week, but the children could reach that target combining the activities anyway they prefered. Points were redeemable for simple prizes or special outings with a parent. One child may have received more points for a specific activity while a different child earned less points for the same activity. This was based on individual strengths and weaknesses. What was hard for one, might be easy for another.
I kicked the challenge off with a bit of a party. Each child received special items they would need for the summer to complete their challenges - a new art kit, a couple new games, or a sudok book. I'm excited that Josiah remembers it as something fun. I look forward to working on his 2012 challenge in the upcoming weeks and months.
Attached is PDF of our Super Summer Challenge Chart from 2008 to help you get thinking. Summer is right around the corner - start planning now!
Fox Catcher: "To everything there is a season...." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Summer is a wonderful season to plant, build, dance, and embrace. Plan now to redeem that time with your children.