- June 7, 2011
- 1 comment
As summertime approaches the question that pops up all around is, “What are your kids doing for the summer?” and “Which camp are they going to?” I used to try to avoid the topic or just say that we hadn’t decided yet. We don’t usually send our children to camp and, because it used to be so out of the norm, I was embarrassed to just fess up. As underpaid and underappreciated as I felt when I worked as a teacher it was nice to have the summers off. Also with four kids in the house and the cost of camps running between 200-500 dollars per week per child, it adds up to somewhere between 8-10 thousand dollars for the summer. No matter how you cut it, that’s a lot of money. Besides, if our family were able to spend that kind of money we’d rather spend it on a family trip.
If our family were able to spend that kind of money we’d rather spend it on a family trip.
In the beginning we were definitely the exception to the rule as far as not sending our kids to summer camp. Hardly anyone braved the challenge of entertaining their kids for the summer. But nowadays, there are a lot more families who do so either out of necessity or preference, which gives our family a lot more options to choose from when arranging summertime playdates. Having the full time working parent save vacation time for the summer, allows us to maximize our time for the family trip ranging from 2-4 weeks. The kids are always excited to plan the trip during the school year and read up about the places we’re going to visit. They often order brochures, which are free, from visitor’s centers and national parks.
The key to having a successful summer is to set a schedule of activities. Kids can come up with different themes. When my kids ask me about how different things are made throughout the year, I jot them down, and tell them that we will investigate in the summertime. A few weeks before the end of school, we rank order our list and vote on the more popular items. It’s fun to see the kids so excited about learning and I look forward to learning about some of those things myself.
The key to having a successful summer is to set a schedule of activities. Kids can come up with different themes.
Now that I have a good group of parents who also “Home Camp” their children, we often rotate locations for our activities. Each parent/home has a specialty in which they excel, so one day one leads the wood work, the other does music, while another heads up a specific craft depending on who’s available. I just try to coordinate the different schedules. Sometimes we have to cover for each other so we can get our errands done, which is another benefit of having a variety of families from which to choose. We usually throw in one or two field days each week, when we take the kids somewhere fun like the children’s museum or a factory. We also try to squeeze in 2 hours of physical activity on a daily basis.
Not only does Family Camp make financial sense for us but it’s a time when our family can bond together. During the school year our children all have varying schedules and it seems like they are each being pulled in different directions. In the summer we all have the same general schedule. And the family that camps together stays together! So the next time your friend calls up and asks you what your summer camp plans are don’t be shy about your answer and tell them “Family Camp,” with pride!