Summer is just around the corner, and while thoughts of BBQ’s, fireflies and picnics capture the magic of summertime, thinking of three months of activities can feel daunting when you’ve got little ones. But don’t worry! A little planning can help ease that stress; here are a few ideas to get you started.

Make A Roadmap

A great way to keep your kids on track during the summer is to set simple, short and long-term, goals that they can work on every day. Sure, you’ve got your schedule all worked out – why not one for them? Creating a list of daily goals helps reaffirm structure and boundaries for kids and gives them a sense of pride when they achieve them. Daily tasks can include brushing teeth, picking out clothes by themselves while long-term goals can be anything from making a sprout house, learning to ride a bicycle or learning to do a cartwheel. Whatever the goal is, sit down with your kids at the start of summer and have them participate in creating the roadmap, talk about the daily tasks and give them a couple of options for the summer so that they’re involved in the planning.

Research Local Farms or Animal Shelters

If your kids are coming to that age where getting a pet is all they can think about, a good way to start incorporating pets in their lives is by volunteering at a local farm or animal shelter. Kids will get time with some new fuzzy friends, but will also get a sense of the responsibility that comes with caring for a pet. Call ahead and ask how you and your kids can get involved, most places get this question a lot and will have clear guidelines for volunteering. Try to keep to a weekly schedule, it will help remind kids that animals are fun but they’re also a big responsibility.

Create a Reading Schedule

One thing that can fall off easily when kids are out of school is reading. But a great way to keep your kids interested is to make it a fun activity for the whole family. For younger kids have them make their own picture book, and then “read” the story to you, this can create a great way to get kids interested in reading before they’re able to read. For older kids, make a summer reading list and then do small oral book reports once they’re done. You can also join in! Ever miss sitting down with Goosebumps or James and the Giant Peach? Read these classics with your kids or on your own and start your very own family book club, it’s a great way to bond while also taking a trip down memory lane for parents.

Check Out What Your City Is Already Planning

Don’t do all of the planning on your own, see what is already scheduled to happen around town! Most official city websites will have lots of tips for families looking to travel over the summer, but they also post carnivals, street fairs anything that is open to the public. Take a look at what your city is already planning this summer and add a few items to your roadmap.

Planning out three months can seem nuts, and it’s likely there will be a few days (or weeks) that go off the rails, but setting up a schedule for you and your kids will help give you peace of mind while also adding structure to their summer. Don’t worry if not every activity is a hit, just keep calm and think of fireflies.