Family Summer Center, Part Two: Family Calendar
By Bernadette Noll and Kathie Sever
Future Craft Collective
Hopefully you’ve completed, or at least seen, last week’s project of the Family Intentions and Inspirations Banner. While you can certainly complete the calendar portion on its own, we really like the way the two pieces interact to make the Family Summer Fun Center complete.
Last week we talked about setting some intentions for the summer. This week we’ll get ready to actually plan out those intentions on our Family Summer Fun Calendar. This calendar will stand apart from the rest of the year, giving a glimpse-at-a-glance of the entire 3-month window that is summer vacation.
Yard stick or other 3′-long straight edge
Rubber stamps of letters and numbers* We got ours at a local office supply store. Craigslist and yard sales are another possibility.
Fabric screen-printing paint We think any screen-printing paint would work on this vinyl banner, but we used the fabric kind because it’s what we had.
Small stickers We got a bunch of mailing labels from the trash and cut them into 1/2" squares.
Sharpie markers different color for each family member plus one more to represent the entire family
Vinyl event banners These can be used from multiple sources. We got ours from a local triathlon shop who had stockpiled old race banners. A call to a local sign shop also indicated that most sign shops would have misprints or scraps they’d be willing to throw your way so as to avoid having to throw them away.
*The rubber stamping can be replaced by using a Sharpie or other similar type marker. Although we must admit, the stamping part is really fun!
Step 1: Measure out a piece of the vinyl banner approx. 40"×20". This can be slightly smaller or bigger, depending on the amount of space you have to hang it.
Step 2: On one piece, mark out a 3-month calendar grid with each day approximately 2"×3". For space purposes, our boxes are 12 across and 8 down. Not your usual calendar marking, but this is not your usual calendar either. And since weekends take on new meaning during the summer months, becoming more a part of the rest of the week, we wanted to shift this up a bit.
Step 3: With your rubber stamps (or with a Sharpie) mark each month and each day using a different color for each month.
Step 4: Assign each member of the family a different color Sharpie plus one color for the family as a whole.
Step 5: Once colors have been assigned, put the key on the bottom to remember which color belongs to which person.
Step 6: Give each person a supply of stickers.
Step 7: Together discuss and mark out any family plans such as vacations or events or daily activities using the stickers and the family Sharpie color. Next have each person mark out, on their stickers, in their own personal color, any plans, activities, or events they may have and put them on the calendar.
Step 8: With the stickers, your calendar can be more fluid and flexible than if you were just writing directly on the calendar. As things get canceled, the space nicely opens up.
- Have 1 or 2 mornings a week reserved for family chore day.
- We like to make sure to schedule UNSCHEDULED days as well. By marking them clearly, as “Family Day” or “Downtime” or whatever you want to call it, you will find nice chunks of family connection. Use that time to lounge, read, cook, what have you. You will be glad you did.
- In addition to plans and activities, you might want to be clear about any screen time. For example, allowing 4 half-hour chunks of computer time a week or one movie a week or whatever works for your family.
- Schedule family reading time. Or walks. Or bicycle day. Or whatever you think might make an ordinary day feel extraordinary.
- Schedule an “outreach” day in which everyone finds someone to write a letter to.
- Brainstorm some family community service ideas: pick up trash, tend to a neighbor, make a garden in a public spot. Put community service days on the calendar. Remember, you don’t have to join into some existing effort, unless that works better for you. You could just do some guerrilla-style service days. Collect children’s books and drop them off at a local free health clinic. Collect food and bring it to a spot in town where there might be a homeless population. Collect art materials (sketch pads, crayons, etc.) and deliver them to a local children’s hospital. Get creative!
- Schedule a weekly family craft day (or three). Try out our Future Craft Collective 3-day Family Connection Projects.
- Give your weeks themes such as Nature, Water, Connection, etc. Choose themes that work for your family. Try to find ideas, projects, and activities that match your theme. Check back in a few weeks for ways you can make theme weeks with friends, giving yourselves the village we all need to keep it flowing.
Hang your calendar in a visible locale if you can — on a stair landing, in a hallway, in the kitchen, wherever works for you. Wherever you do hang it, be sure to leave room to display craft books, field guides, books of short stories, or other books to inspire summery thoughts and encourage midday ponderings. Change them out every once in a while so that they don’t become stale or overlooked.
Please let us know what things you add to your calendar and intentions banner. We’d LOVE to know.
Come back next week when we’ll show you how to create your very own Family Connections Station. This will creatively encourage and add inspiration to the engaging art of letter writing and other written communication.
About the Authors:
Future Craft Collective is brought to you by Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll. Kathie is an accomplished seamstress, creator of Ramonsterwear Custom Western Wear, artist, and mother of two. Bernadette is a writer, co-founder of Slow Family Living, and mother of four. They have found renewed energy in their collaboration and are continuously amazed by the ideas, inspiration, and a-ha moments that have come from this shared effort.