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7 Steps to Jump Start (and finish) Your Summer Planning

downloadThis is a guest post from our friends at Camperoo, a new concierge service that will help you organize your child’s summer plans.

We all have heard from her (or him); the parent that is completely organized and has summer booked and planned months in advance. It’s only February and you receive an email showing you their entire summer camp, vacation and activity schedule, asking you to share yours. “It’s still snowing in some parts of the country, how can I even begin to think about something at least 3 months away? I just got over Christmas!,” you think to yourself.

At Camperoo, we help parents simplify this process through our online camps marketplace . As an experiment, earlier this year, I sought out to book 50 families entire summer schedules to learn more about how to streamline this and help parents like you make it simpler. We still have a few spots for Concierge, so apply here.

Here are 7 tips to help you jump start your summer planning–concepts we came up with after directly talking to different types of parents. Let’s face it, the last day of school isn’t getting any further away–the faster you get this going, the more time you’ll have to think about other things! Here’s a step by step spreadsheet to help you plan.

Tip 1: Make a list of activities, topics, and concepts that each child likes Instead of blindly picking cool-sounding or nearby activities / camps, take a few minutes to write down activities and subjects that your kids might be interested in to help direct and guide your plans.

Tip 2: Think about your priorities and goals for your kids this summer Do you need to stay close to home, save money, or sleepaway to build independence and grit? What are the things that matter most to you–and what matters most for your child? Hone these items and you’ll be able to evaluate camps, vacations, and activities based on these things.

Tip 3: Plot out your schedule week by week and block off all important dates Now that you have your goals and interests in place, create a quick spreadsheet with each week of summer laid out on top and the proposed plans for each week below. Start with broad terms like : Vacation, Camp, Grandma’s House, Stay at Home, etc. to start penciling in a schedule

Tip 4: Seek out summer camps and other enrichment activities that reach your goals Now you know what you’re looking for, spend some time on google with your keywords and your local summer camp and activity print guides. Camperoo is only in the SF Bay Area now, but there are tons of online resources and items at your school

Tip 5: Plan out field trips, play-dates, and vacations to fill in the other weeks For the weeks that you don’t want to find summer programs, seek out your local city guide and find field trips and diy activities. Look for things you and your kids wouldn’t generally do and try to find a week to focus on those things.

Tip 6: Make decisions, and commit. Now that you have a list of all your activities, camps, and vacations, start putting them onto your schedule. Register early and commit. Lots of programs have discounts for early-birds. Leave a few weeks flexible but just book the programs you love before space run out.

Tip 7: Share your committed and flexible plans with friends Congrats, you’re now THAT parent, who’s on top of things! Share your schedule with your friends with this step by step guide, and hopefully they’ll chime in with comments so you can coordinate and make this summer the best one yet!

Go through these 7 steps and you’ll have your entire summer schedule booked before the end of the month (okay, we’ll give you a bit of leeway to get it done before Spring Break). If you still need additional help for inspiration, please apply to be a Camperoo concierge beta customer. If you fit the requirements, Emmie will personally help you as one of her 50 parents, or just answer any questions you have about summer camps or activities. We’re on a quest to make this summer extraordinary for parents and kids–hope you can join in on the fun!

Hacking Life360: Suggested uses for Lists

You may have noticed we added a new feature at the end of last year, the ability to create shared Lists for your Circles.

We’ve got some suggestions of ways to use Lists, and we would love to hear how you’re using them in the comments below!

Vacation and travel: Amy from the marketing team says that Lists came in handy on a trip to Tennesee over the holidays, where she and her boyfriend kept a list of places they went, so they could remember specifics at a later date.

amy list tennessee

Party planning: Team member Jenn relied on Lists to keep her roommates organized and on task while they prepared for their New Year’s Eve celebration. “I coordinated groceries in one list, Costco supplies in another, and tasks that needed to be done around the house in the third list.”

When you’ve got a group of people working towards a common goal, it’s nice to be able to see what others are finishing so you aren’t wasting time duplicating efforts, and nothing is getting left undone.

Daily family organization: Aaron was willing to share his very specific shopping list with us; as you can tell, only the very important items make his list. Shay told us that “we have one set for each store we frequent, which reduced the “I’m at the drugstore, do you need me to get anything” texts to a minimum.” That’s a great idea!

aaron list


Holiday shopping: Because she’s able to share Lists only with specific family members, and not everyone in the Circle, Lizz and her parents are keeping a list of ideas for her sister’s upcoming birthday, and they’re able to manage it within Life360 instead of having to install yet another app to share the list.

lizz list

General reminders: Mike and his wife are expecting their first baby this spring, so they “keep a list of “stuff we want to ask her doctor at her next pre-natal exam.”  Then we go through the list once we’re in the room with the doctor and fire off all the questions.  I think that our doctor winces now when the phones come out.”

Are you using Lists yet? Have you come up with any great uses we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas for Busy Families

Love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend! We had a few bloggers we love share some of their ideas to make this Valentine’s Day extra special for your family!

No paint canvas Valentine These no-paint canvases from Cam at Growing Up Goofy are adorable, and would be a fun project to make for grandparents, caregivers, or any special someone! [Source]

valentines wreath You could knock out this sweet Valentine’s Day wreath from Simply Real Moms while you’re watching TV, and hang it on your front door, or maybe even your office door, to bring a little of the love to the office! [Source] There’s a really cute variation of this wreath over on Home Life with Mrs. B, which you can find here: Valentine’s Wreath

Nutella-fruit-dip-500x334 The ladies over at Simply Real Moms also share this recipe for a Creamy Nutella Dip, which looks like the perfect dessert for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Or for breakfast, because it’s a holiday so all healthy eating rules are out the window, right? Besides, you’re dipping FRUIT! [Source]

valentine-treats-snack mix

This Very Berry Puppy Chow snack mix from The Soccer Moms is pretty AND delicious! [Source]


These sweet Tic Tac (Toe) Valentine’s are such a great idea, and simple to assemble. Thanks to A Bowl Full of Simple for sharing them with us! [Source]

valentines without candy

Looking for some ideas to pass out that don’t involve sugar snacks? Nerd Family and The Centsible Life both have suggestions for cute and candy-free ideas. [Source 1] [Source 2] My Mommy Brain has some easy Valentine’s Day printables that you can print and cut out right at home! So simple!

Still trying to figure out how to celebrate with your special someone? Yummy Mummy Club has 15 Last-Minute Valentine’s Dates for Under $50, and The Centsible Life has 10 Easy and Frugal Valentine’s Gift Ideas.

And last, if you’re seriously next-level busy, this quick and simple Valentine is the perfect project for you, from Jennifer at Our Urban Playground.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Life360!
All photos used with permission.