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The summer months are going to be here before we know it. In our area, kids are in school until the third week of June. This gives me a little more breathing room since I am slacking on plans. I seem to have forgotten that ready or not, summer will be coming. Perhaps it is denial, or maybe being caught up in living the moment with the kids. Either way you look at it, I have to get my act in gear.
NHL is going to be heading into 5th grade and JSL into 1st grade. I really want to make sure they get a week or two at camp. My boys will are very different and will thrive at locations that will not be the same. My little guy loves to run, jump, play, sing, dance, and do crafts. He would probably love a very traditional summer camp like I went to growing up. NHL would not do well with this. He is a geek at heart and wants to explore the world of science, math, Harry Potter, and the like.
Looking at different options, (it isn’t too late) brought me back to a post I wrote a while back. I thought about things that you need to think about when considering camps for your child.
Have you started to think about camp options for your child?
I know I have. A few years ago, my oldest son went to camp for several weeks. Although he liked it at first, it was probably not the best fit for his interests. It was a little too focused on athletics. He would have preferred something that did not spend the entire day out on a field playing different sports. Perhaps something that included some swimming, crafts, acting, and more. Thanks to this experience, we are doing more research on camps this year.
When I was growing up, there were a few local camps to pick from. Parents could select from Camp Chingachgook, Boy/Girl Scout, Helderberg Workshop, the JCC, and a few other high profile places in the Capital District. Now, all bets are off. Parents and children have a wide variety of options throughout the area. There is a camp for almost anything and everything that you can think of. The best part is there are websites like Albany Kids Out and About to help you locate options. Albany Kid also has a wonder page with updates about How to Find Camps in the Capital Region including enrichment classes.
Before you are overwhelmed with the variety of options available, sit down and think about what you are looking for.
- Do you want a full day camp experience? Will you require early drop off and extended day options?
- Does you child want a camp specifically dedicated to Baseball, Soccer, Basketball, Dance, Acting, or something else that they have a passion for?
- How far are you willing to travel to get to a camp? Are there transportation options available to/from the camp?
- Would your child benefit from an enrichment camp opportunity? Many of the local universities and colleges have programs that help with academic support, as well as enrichment to children that may prefer something like this.
- Have you heard anything from friends about a camp? Often word of mouth is a great starting point as you begin to research things.
These are just a few of the items to think about. Make a list, compare different options, ask about financial options, and think about questions that you have for camps when you talk to them. Hopefully this will assist your family as you sit down to contemplate summer plans.
Do you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them as I struggle to find the perfect camp for both of my boys.
Disclosure: Parts of this post were previously published on a project I worked on. The text is mostly the same, but I placed a new introduction to go along with a topic that continues to be important for families. The image above is Happy Camper from Open ClipArt and by Benji Park.
Labor Day 2012 signifies the end of summer in our area. It is hard to believe that tomorrow both of my boys will be in school. One will be a fourth grader and the other a kindergarten kid. Over the weekend, I pushed passed this and enjoyed the last moments of the summer.
Views like the one below certainly helped to make me forget about a lot of things on my mind.
Seeing smiles on the boys faces in the pool, made my worries melt away.
It was nice to sit in the sun and watch the kids play, explore, and enjoy the time without a care in the world. Just kicking my feet up out of the sand and watching them enjoy the fun in the sun.
Today, we will spend a quiet day at home, enjoying time resting, remembering our special weekend with family, the summer we enjoyed, and gathering supplies for the first day of school.
There is something special about being with extended family. It isn’t every weekend that you get to see relatives from near and far. Yet Labor Day weekend seems to becoming more of a traditional time. Not everyone was able to make it to my aunt and uncle’s house at the lake, but still so many were here.
Though I had a headache when we arrived, seeing my boys with my niece and nephew made me smile.
The kids had an amazing time running, playing, laughing, and being carefree.
They stopped a few times to have lunch and celebrate NHL’s birthday with some Kermit cupcakes.
Then there was time at the pool, lake, and on the boat. Everyone split up to divide and conquer. I missed JSL on the boat, but heard all about how he was able to drive.
At the end of the day, my “little” cousins – who now live in other states and Israel – were giving the next generation moments they will never forget. It isn’t every day that you are able to have a parade piggy back style with a phones and cameras capturing every magical moment.
These are just some of the photos from a small part of the weekend. A weekend with family to relax, rest, and get ready for school. So many memories, so many moments, such an amazing time.
Over this summer, I have written about the reading program that the New York libraries were running. I love that each local branch can do things differently to encourage children to read. Thankfully, this summer I have not had to really push the boys to read. Keeping track of the books that have been read, now that is another issue in itself.
While shopping for books at Barnes & Noble, the woman helping us asked if we had taken a Summer Reading Journal for the boys to fill out. While I had heard about the program, and we had done it in the past, I forgot to do it this year. We took two of the forms home to fill out.
What is the program? Basically, Barnes & Noble encourages children to read over the summer. When they read eight books and fill out a form, they are eligible for a free book at their local store. The journal must be completed and brought into a store by September 4, 2012. Then, they may pick from a book on the list features within the journal. This weekend, we took the boys to our local store to select their books.
There were 18 books on the list, but not all of them were still on the section for the reading program. The boys picked out the books above. JSL likes dinosaurs and thought the new chapter book would be fun to start reading together. I can not wait to read LuLu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst with him. TechyDad sold NHL on the quirk in the book Half Magic by Edward Eager.
I thought I would share this with others in case you were not aware of this. To print the reading journal at home, you can go here. The journal lists the books that may be available to select from when you get your reward. In addition to this, Barnes & Noble has an activity kit that teachers and parents may want to look at. It has some interactive sheets that look like a nice resource.
A huge thank you to Barnes & Noble for running this program. As an educator and parent, I love that you are encouraging literacy and introducing children to new books. Enjoy and happy reading with your family!
Dear NHL and JSL,
This week, NHL went to camp every morning. This gave JSL and I some extra time together. We worked on some pre-kindergarten items. Those pesky letters that you need to read and write have been something that you want to avoid. Suddenly, you are interested. On the way home from camp one morning, you asked me a question: “Mommy, you know how you used to be a teacher? Do you remember how to teach?”
The supplies that I had waiting for when you were ready showed you that I do indeed remember how to teach. Of course, after some time went by it was time to play. In an attempt to show me that you still love Jake and the Never Land Pirates and want more of the toys sets, Bucky, Jake, Izzy, Cubby, Scully, and Captain Hook came out to play.
Wednesday afternoon, I had some alone time with NHL. It was really nice to be able to go to the store and spend some time together. You had so much to tell me about camp, your new friends, and all of the things you had done. You were thrilled with the activities and everything that they taught you there. Thank goodness things lined up just right and you were able to attend. It truly made my heart melt to see you so happy.
Earlier in the week, JSL and I spotted another ladybug by the house. The two of you have been fascinated with them.
As I watched the latest ladybug friend, I stopped to take her photo and felt a sense of hope. Seeing so many ladybugs around the house this summer made me think that perhaps these lucky little critters were a sign of good things coming in the school year ahead. I do hope for this because it is what you both need, what we all need.
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