rethinking summer camps

Rethinking Summer Camps

When the kids were little, I could not wait for them to start school! Like any other mom, I was exhausted. Of course, sending them to get an education was very important too, but being hopeless at organising a so-called routine for them, I could not wait to be able to outsource that to their school! 

Happy kid going to school
School is good for kids and is good for parents!

I still clearly remember one of the dads asking me if I wasn’t sad about seeing them going to ‘big kids’ school! Hmmm, no! Honestly, not!

In hindsight, I guess what he was saying was that they grow super fast and all of sudden they are no longer your baby! 

Ok, I get it! 

School was wonderful for the kids and for me! My least favorite part? The end of the school year and the endless summer holidays, when one hour feels like one week and one day feels like one month! 

After almost one year of school, I felt somewhat guilty (typical mom!!!) and was reluctant to invest money on expensive summer camps! After all, I have the luxury of working from home. But day one of the holidaycame and so did day two. By the time day three arrived, I was ready to give all my money away for a bit of peace and quiet. 

Deep breath! Deep breath! 

Getting all my zen together, I really had to rethink the concept of summer camps! After all, I can’t always outsource the creation of some routine for the kids! What next?

We used the whiteboard my husband has in his office to plan our day. We called a family meeting and decided on our schedule. To be honest, it was not an entirely democratic process, with my husband and I having extra decision-making powers!

kids planning their activities
Whiteboards make great planning tools for kids

It was a mix of outdoor activity, craft, meals and down time.

To my surprise, we did quite well! By that, I mean I didn’t have to resort to endless hours of electronic devices to keep them entertained! 

What were the most popular activities?

Sand Pit

It never ceases to amaze me how my kids are still very much fond of their sand pit and all the possible things they can build with sand! Sometimes, I do find a little surprise inside their pockets, but a few hours of entertainment makes it worth it. 

Board games 

My husband has always loved board games. I can’t say the same about myself. But to my surprise, I had so much fun playing them. Not only board games kept the kids occupied and out of screens, they were a fun activity for the entire family. There are great game options for nature-loving gamers such as Photosynthesis and Wingspan! 

Craft and DIY projects 

Summer was a good opportunity for gardening projects and for crafty stuff like our favorite Shrinky Dinks

Catch up with friends and their kids

This may sound like an obvious one, but I am so often caught up on my own misery (I know these are first world problems!) that sometimes I forget other families are likely to be ‘on that  same struggling boat’. A quick email to friends with kids suggesting a pic-nic at a public park was quickly welcomed by many. Those who could not make suggested another date! Kids socialising and adults socialising is definitely a win-win combination! 


Bike rides were the most popular type of exercise for our kids and possibly the only one they all agree with! The youngest loves soccer – the other two hate it. Our girl loves gymnastics, her brothers don’t! We also played a lot of ‘Finska’, a fun lawn game similar to bowling.  

Once, we had our little routine, summer was quite pleasant. Said that, when time came, I was more than happy to see them going back to school.