How to Make Summer Planning Easier

Summer planning can be stressful! Even if you plan annual events, there’s always the worry that you forgot something.

You can do two things to make sure each event/activity is better than the last.

1. Evaluate as you go.

This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Take a few moments toward the end of each event to evaluate. Ask everyone involved (including the kids!) the following three questions:

  • What did you like about this event? What went well?
  • What would you like to see done differently next time?
  • What supplies or resources did you wish you had (that you didn’t have)?

Write down the answers! It doesn’t matter if it’s on paper, in an app, or in a word processing document.

Put it somewhere you’ll find it next time you plan an event like this. I usually put mine in the file folder where I keep all the information I used in planning and promoting the event. I keep the whole folder as a starting point for next time so I don’t have to start over from scratch.

Get a FREE Google Doc version below. You can download it and add your event information or print it and add to it by hand. (Trust me, it’s easier to add the name of the event on the original forms than adding it afterward.)

2. Prepare an Event Kit

Don’t you hate it when you go on vacation and forget your toothbrush? This happens at events too. There are two ways to avoid this fate.

  • Make a reusable punch list (checklist) of everything you need.

If you’re planning something like Vacation Bible School, usually there is a master punch list in the administrative guide. Still, there will be items that are specific to your location. Create your own master punch list and keep it where you can easily find it. (I know. That’s the tricky part!)

I’ve been using a packing list in the app Evernote for a few years now. Dad and I go through this list every time we go traveling. If I forget something or wish I had something I don’t, I add it to the list. Then I have it for next time. I have a few extra things at the bottom that I don’t pack every time, but I want to be sure to remember on special trips like when we go to conferences. It saves so much trouble, especially when you’re in the final push to get ready to go, and you’re already tired. (Do you know what I mean?)

  • Create a reusable kit specific for that event.

This is wonderful! If you use the same items every year or every event, put them in a special container and label it. Then pull it out and you’re ready to go. It’s that much less you have to hunt down.

I’ve done this in more ways than one. The easiest kit I have is my bathroom kit. I keep all my personal items in a travel bag, even when I’m home. That way, I always know where to find my deodorant, hairbrush, toothpaste, etc. It also makes it easy to grab when I’m going on a trip. All I have to do is check the liquid levels in my clear containers and add my toothbrush. Done!

We have what I call a PRM bag too. This wheely suitcase has everything we need to set up a display table at an event (except for the books and giveaway items). I love it because all I have to do is check how many fliers, business cards, and candy bags I need to replenish. Then it’s ready to go! No more trying to think of easy-to-forget things like tape, a hole punch, safety pins, spot remover, etc.

This year I’ve started creating an emergency kit for our family. It’s tornado season and it’s good to be prepared. I’ve been gathering things like flashlights, emergency blankets, a first aid kit, whistles, a camping stove, etc. I’ve put them in easy-to-grab bags in the pantry with lists of last-minute-items to add when we’re under a tornado watch. It’s one less thing I have to keep in the back of my mind that I might need to do.

Other Tips

The two tips above have proved the most helpful for me in planning church and family events over the last 20+ years. What are some things that have helped you? Let’s share ideas in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Have a great summer, whatever you plan to do!’

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Nancy Ruth

Nancy Ruth is the Co-Founder and Primary Content Creator at Parent Road Ministries. Learn more at

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