Summer Camp Your WayJun 15, 2015
Summer is just days away (six to be exact, but who's counting?). And I’m looking forward to spending time playing with my kids! I love this time of year. Summer brings back so many childhood memories for me. It's amazing to be a mom and get to see my little ones having the time of their lives. I try to really give them a few months of quality time. I also want the moments we carve out to be enriching and build upon what they loved learning during the school year. Here's how we enjoy summer "camp" our way, helping keep their minds engaged and growing while making June, July, and August endlessly fun.
Morning Glory Storytime. I went to summer camp until I was a teen, and I still hold the experience close to my heart. I loved sitting around a campfire, real or imagined, sharing stories with friends. It's the perfect activity to inspire kids' creativity and encourage good discussions. So kick off each day on an imaginative note and try a “create your own story” roundtable. Like me, my girls Jagger and Poet have loved stories since they were little — even my baby Lyric loves hearing us read. We often come up with our own adventures together. It is super fun to sit around and take turns coming up with innovative ideas. Let your imaginations run wild!
Choose Your Own Adventure. Use one of their favorite books or morning glory stories to inspire the day’s adventure and plan your itinerary around that. We’re so lucky to live in Los Angeles, where there are tons of fun things to see and do. Scavenger hunts are big in our household. We go on adventures throughout different neighborhoods. I love showing them history about the city we live in.
Watch Something Grow. Watch the magic unfold by planting an herb garden or a little pot of flowers. We just did an herb garden a few weeks ago and they loved it. Even Lyric helped out.
Whip Something Up. Encourage your kids to host a bake sale — Jagger and Poet love doing bake sales to raise money for causes close to their hearts. Together, we read through cookbooks and choose a recipe. We love going to the farmers’ market together and picking out amazing goodies to cook with. At home, we measure carefully, mix, bake and voila! They have fun, practice their math skills, and most importantly, give back during summer break.
Create Art. When you need a day of rest, plan for a quiet “crafternoon.” I love our Seedling activity kits — like the Design Your Own Indie Bangles — because the kids get to work with different materials and express their individual style. Bonus: The kits provide you with ample supplies, so the girls continue to create new masterpieces with the leftover papers, fabrics and glue.
Get to the Great Outdoors. I love the My Great Adventure Kit from Seedling. It’s the perfect thing to tote along on along afternoon picnic, a day at the beach, or a weekend camping trip. It arms them with everything they need to navigate and record their outdoor discoveries — and become scientists in the making.
Rework the Road Trip. Car travel is often unavoidable in the summer time. To help pass the time and to keep their minds moving, download an audio book for the family to listen to. It’ll keep everyone entertained. Pause after every few chapters, and chat about the plot to keep the little ones engaged.
Drama for Your Mama. Introduce your children to local arts and culture. Make a date to take them to the theater, or look for a summer concert series in one of the parks around town — they’re often free. Or stage your own show at home.
The Write Stuff. Keep kids’ writing skills sharp by asking them to journal over the summer, whether it is nightly, weekly, etc. Ask them to jot down their daily adventures, what they made, what excited them, what they’re looking forward to doing next. If writing is not their favorite thing, consider suggesting a summer doodle book or collages inspired by their days. They’ll get a chance to relive the fun of the summer, while expanding their literacy skills without even realizing it. Plus, it’ll be an awesome keepsake to look back on one day! We love to decorate our journals. Making them custom is a perfect project to kick off a new journal.
A Night Under the Stars. Take advantage of warm summer nights and host an outdoor movie night for the whole family. They're so much fun, you'll likely find that an audience of friends gathers too. It doesn't take much to pull it together — just a projector, a sheet or blank wall for a screen, some blankets, and yummy snacks. And, if you nod off because it's so comfy, don't rush inside to bed. You can set up camp in your backyard and sleep outside, creating a great camping adventure.
Hope you all have a beautiful and safe summer.
This post is adapted from Soleil Moon Frye's article for The Bump, first published here.