We began with a family sized spaghetti sauce jar that we washed out, removed label from, and dried throughly. I used card stock scraps to make bright-colored squares (about 1×1) and rectangles (about 2×1). All were cut free hand and varied slightly in shape and size. I put the scraps in a small shopping bag.
We all sat at the table and took turns pulling out a paper scrap without looking. The green scraps are for weekend ideas and the rest are for weekdays. After we pulled our scrap of paper, we would write something to do that day. (We used sharpie markers to write because the pen did not show up as well. Except Isabella who scribbled on hers in ink pen.) We could write a place to go, an activity to do, a craft to make, something to learn about (Learn 5 words in Italian or Learn something about Bee Keeping) or a question to answer (“What do they eat in Japan?” or “Where is Belize?” or “Who is Tony Blair?” or “What is the tallest mountain in the United States?” etc, etc, etc). It was then folded and placed in the jar. Ivy was so excited when she would get to pick a weekend option! There were a few rules for picking outings. Weekday outings and activities had to be less than $5 to do. Many of ours were completely free! Weekend outings had to get approval. We agreed to things that were not too expensive and were not more than a couple of hours away. I also made sure that there was educational value in at least 90% of the ideas.
Every morning during summer break, the kids will pull one thing out to do that day. The scrap of paper will then go into a small bag. At the end of summer we will use the scraps of paper and some photographs taken to add to our family scrap-book so the girls will always remember what they did the summer of 2012.
P.S. Toddler Note: We wanted Isabella to feel included in the process so she put hers in too. After we had finished I dumped them in a bag and fished hers out before replacing them. When she had a true idea we included it. She came up with color pictures and see fish. She loved being part of it!