Cruisin' Into Summer With a Plan

by Courtney McCarville

Summer is right around the corner! To be exact, 5 days until the summer ship sets sail, here in Nebraska. For some, this may seem terrifying. For others, so exciting.  For Cruise McCarville, we have found that by intentionally doing something all passengers on this ship can expect and look forward to Monday thru Friday turns what could be a treacherous voyage into a smooth sailing summer.

If you were cruisin’ into summer with the McCarville family, here’s what your weekly itinerary would include:

“Mom’s Choice Monday”

The ship stays docked on Monday so all passengers can pitch in to help prep the ship to set sail for the week: Yard work, leftover chores from the weekend, make a meal plan that each member of the family contributes to, get the van ready for the week (clutter out, blankets/chairs in, snacks, sports equipment), lay out outfits for the week (for the picky children), gardening, etc.


“Take a Picnic Tuesday”

Captain of the ship chooses a different park, playground, lake, friend’s house, backyard, library or mall for a mid-day excursion that involves their favorite blankie and a simple summer picnic.


“Water Wednesday”

Kids always look forward to the mid-week water activities on board Cruise McCarville. Depending on weather and crowds, we visit the local spray ground, rec center pool, neighborhood pool or city pools to practice our survival skills (and to be honest, there’s a decent amount of hope on the Captain’s part that an hour or two of this will totally wear the passengers out and guarantee a LONG nap upon docking back at home).  Other water activities for Wednesdays include fishing, feeding the ducks, water balloons, water guns, sprinklers, backyard water relays, etc.


”Thankful Thursdays”

All passengers whine about this activity before they actually do it, the first time. But the Captain holds tight to the wheel and steers the ship while we take a meal to another family or pack and deliver lunches for the homeless, volunteer at a soup kitchen, write a letter/picture to a grandparent or family member, pick-up trash in our neighborhood, do random acts of kindness, clean out toys and clothes and donate them to local shelters, etc.


”Field Trip Friday & Family Game Night “

Just like it sounds - all passengers rave over Fridays with a different field trip planned each week! Children’s Museum, Nature Center, Scavenger Hunt, Zoo, Fish pond, Park, Hiking, Skate Park, Swimming Pool, Mall, Miniature Golf, Batting cages, etc! There are so many easy and even free or low-cost activities in our community, we never have to repeat one on our Summer Cruise.  Following the field trip, we have family dinner and settle in for a night of games! Sequence, Uno, Mexican Train Dominoes, Soggy Dog, Trouble, Monopoly, Sorry, Phase 10, Rummikub, Memory, Aggravation, Yahtzee, Disney Bingo, Freeze Dance or Pie Face!


For our family, having a routine and schedule that is simple, enjoyable for all ages, and also spontaneous, keeps our ship on course and sets us up for smooth sailing. Not to say there won’t be rough water at times, with a cranky child, someone having a melt down, poor weather or a chance that we run out of gas... but, we will do it together and create memories (both good and bad, embarrassing and complete fails). And on this journey and season of life, we will take all the help we can get!

Here are a few other cruise itineraries to help your family organize summer, too…..

Make a Craft Monday

Time for Science Tuesday

Wacky Wednesday

Make a Treat Tuesday

Fun Friday


Make your own Music Monday

Time to Read Tuesday (Library)

What can you create Wednesday (Art)

Time to Play Thursday (Sports)

Feel like baking Friday (baked goods)

To avoid feeling like your ship has been blown off course by mid-June, I’d recommend a simple calendar like this. It works for us, year after year. Bon Voyage! (Have a great trip!)

Courtney is a stay at home mom to 4 children, ages 2-10. She and her husband and kids live in the Corn Husker State and are active in their neighborhood, community and church.


Jordan Langdon