Tis the season to plan summer. I may be a little late in the game, but if you are in the same boat as me, how are you keeping your kids busy this summer? If you have camp ideas not listed here, share them in the comments!
I’ve got three months of calendars spread out trying to figure out our schedule. I know I could just sign them up for the day care program where they attend during the school year and be done with it. But I feel like summer is a great opportunity to try new activities and meet new friends. I’ll admit this is definitely a moment where I want them to have what I didn’t as a child. We are blessed here with flexible schedules, but still need child care during part of our weeks.
Here are some ideas and resources that I have found through my research. This information is a great starting point for parents to think about summer activities and I’ve also included my local resources at the end of the post.
I can only speak to my own experience, but my city’s park and recreation department offers an array of camps for kids. There is all-day camp at the school sites that offer field trips, pool days, and other summer fun activities. There are also dozens of half-day camps that vary from Lego building to soccer skills to babysitting certification, just to name a few. Other great resources are community centers, the YMCA, and Boys and Girls Club of America.
Vacation Bible School (VBS)
I have a friend who tells a story of how her non-Jewish parents sent her to a Jewish summer camp to gain exposure to other religions. Now that I am a parent of very active children, I suspect that it was more because they wanted a break and that camp just happened to have openings. : ) But in all seriousness, I have found a gold mine of resources in our local churches. Most VBS curriculum is Christian based, not for one particular religious denomination, e.g. I found a Catholic and a Presbyterian church offering the same camp. So don’t think that you need to stick to YOUR church or denomination. My experience has been that if you have Christian-based beliefs, most all will align with your values. These are generally half-day camps and range from $25 to $100. Some churches keep the camp simple with fun décor and theme related crafts and songs, while others go “all out” and transform their entire campus into a VBS wonderland. The price tag WILL reflect this. Just keep in mind, the message will be the same, and that’s what really matters. It may take you an hour of searching local church web sites to find camps that work for you, but definitely worth the time invested.
**Bonus: Many churches offer evening camps for your children. Do you know what that means? A whole week of your child growing in their love and faith in in God; and FIVE free evenings for mom and dad. What on earth would you do with FIVE free evenings in a row?? Hello date night!
Do you have a dramatic little one? Let them show that sas on stage and try acting for a change of pace. My nieces spent a few summers taking a 2-week course intensive at our local theater to produce a melodrama, The Sweet Saga of Hannah Sue. This year my daughter will get her chance on stage doing the same thing. She can’t wait! FYI, this is not a bargain endeavor, but I really feel like I need to nurture her dramatic flair as much as we do her soccer foot skills. Of note, in my search for VBS, I found a few churches that also offer courses in drama.
Gymnastic, Dance, Art, and Martial Arts Studios
I would love to have my kids participate in all of these activities but there are only so many hours in a day and spring/fall sports schedules tend to interfere. This summer, let your child spend a week trying a new activity. I’m happy that my son is excited to try a week of gymnastics- his request. What a great opportunity for new experiences. These camps are generally half-day but a lot offer extended care for an additional cost.
A lot of sports organizations choose summer to hold camps to help your little ones hone their skills. Look at your recreation organizations or through your city’s park and recreation department. Our recreation soccer league is even offering free clinics. Many high school teams also host kid’s camps as a team fundraiser. So far I have found soccer, dance, and basketball camps all offered at nearby high schools. Check out the school web sites or call the athletic director. This can be a great way for the kids to develop skills and for you to support your local schools.
I wish I could speak to this, but I can’t. this mama bear isn’t ready to let her cubs go yet. But if you have a sleep-away camp that you leave, PLEASE write me about it. Maybe I will be ready next year….
Now, give me a week or two and I will finish compiling my list of fun stay-at-home-activities too. If you have any great ideas or plans, please email me so that I can include them here. Parents, we are all in the same boat of needing to entertain our children for three months- let’s do what we can to help each other out!
If you live in the Roseville/Rocklin area, here are some web sites to help your search. Please keep in mind that I do not endorse any of these organizations- I am simply sharing what I have found in my own search.