You don’t actually have to sell your house and move your family into an RV to experience a Happy Loud summer.

What is a Happy Loud summer? Well, I think it’s the kind of summer that gives you some really great memories- the kind that you can’t preplan. It’s the kind of summer where you can look around and just breathe and relax in between the moments of crazy. It’s embracing your LOUD, and being okay with messes. It’s giving yourself some grace and lowering your expectations. It is NOT piling unmanageable expectations on yourself and your kids, and it’s certainly not getting mad at yourself because you didn’t orchestrate magic every day for 3 months.

I’m so thrilled we are partnering with Cinnamon Toast Crunch this summer. They are one of our favorite family snacks, and our official sponsor of our crazy summer fun! They are sponsoring this post.

Our newest YouTube video is all about How To Have A Happy Loud Summer.

The first step? Make a MANAGEABLE LIST. Listen, if printing off and laminating a list you made in Photoshop, with colors that coordinate with your kitchen is your thing and that brings you great joy, you do you. But if not? I’m here to tell you you can just get a pen and some paper and write some things down in your plain everyday handwriting. No learning calligraphy required!

Now this list does not have to have and should not have a million things on it. Nobody wants to get to the end of summer and feel like they failed! I say put 4-5 things on there to start with, and leave room to add more as the summer goes on.

What should you put on there to start with? A road trip, of course! Road trips don’t have to be super long or to anywhere super special. We’ve been known to drive for a couple hours to get to a place off the side of the road that serves the best clam chowder! In this case, it’s more about the journey than the destination.

Things You Need For A Road Trip With Kids:
1. SNACKS- If you don’t pack the snacks, they will beg you for the snacks the whole time and you’ll be forced to choose food to throw at them from a gas station. PACK THE SNACKS. We like to bring fresh fruit, bottles of water (that we will sometimes let them add flavor packets to), and individual snack bags full of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which is a great low-mess option that satisfies their sweet cravings.

You can even get fancy and make snack mixes with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. There are a lot of fun recipe ideas to be found at CrazySquares.com/Recipes.

2. EASY ACTIVITIES- Clipboards are inexpensive sanity savers! You can get something as basic and cheap as this…

Or for a fun upgrade, get these that have storage inside for workbooks and pencils…

Load them up with blank paper and hand your kids some colored pencils. They can draw what they are seeing out the window, or they can illustrate what they are hearing on a podcast you listen to, which leads me to…

3. PODCASTS- These are the 3 podcasts we listen to and enjoy as a family:
Circle Round- “Circle Round is a storytelling podcast for kids ages 4 to 10. Created and produced by parents of young children, Circle Round tells carefully-selected folktales from around the world.  Stories are adapted for today’s families into 10 to 20 minute diverse episodes that delve into topics such as kindness, persistence and generosity.”
Wow In The World- “Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. We’ll go inside our brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology”
Brains On-Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world.  Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity, and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone.”

4. MUSIC- All great road trips need a great soundtrack, so take some time to create one that everyone in your family will love! It is SO easy to create your own playlist on Spotify. Did you know we have our very own Happy Loud Life playlist there? You can follow us!

Creating your own playlist can be a fun family activity, so I say that earns a spot on your list. Bonus points for being something easy to cross off. I love feeling accomplished!

Finally, I’m putting in a vote that you add VISIT A NATIONAL OR STATE PARK to your list.

It’s bananas that it took us going on this trip to visit these national treasures. Yes, it can be stressful to take you kids there, but it can also be stressful to take kids to the grocery store. At least you’re guaranteed incredible views at National and State Parks. It’s possible the sight of more than one has made me tear up.

IF YOU HAVE A 4TH GRADER, YOU CAN GET INTO NATIONAL PARKS FOR FREE!
National park entry fees aren’t super expensive (especially compared to places like theme parks and waterparks), but you could get into all National Parks for free for a whole year if you have a 4th grader. Check out Every Kid In A Park! Your 4th grader is eligible for a pass that will cover everyone in your family for a year, and yes, that includes homeschoolers.

While you’re at the park, look into their Junior Ranger program! Every National Park we’ve been to has had this, and some State Parks. It’s usually free (though a few have charges us $3/kid) to participate, and when your child is finished, they will get a shiny badge to take home after they are sworn in as an official Junior Ranger by a Park Ranger. It’s such a cool way for the whole family to observe the park, and that swearing in ceremony is an adorable photo opp.

Most importantly, the key to a Happy Loud Summer is to lower your expectations, stop trying to make magic happen, and let the magic make itself. Find joy in the unexpected moments, roll with the detours, and know that sometimes kids are perfectly happy playing in the sprinklers in your backyard while you drink some coffee in your pajamas.

Thanks to Cinnamon Toast Crunch for sponsoring this post and our YouTube video. For MORE crazy summer fun ideas, visit CrazySquares.com.