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summer activities

Summer Camp During COVID-19, what to Look for.

Summer camp can be a chance for children and teens to make friends, learn new skills, and spend time outdoors. Kids have missed out on a lot of these opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summer Camp could be where your child can relax and reconnect, but worried since COVID-19 continues to spread. More than a year into the pandemic, studies show that camps with proper safety steps in place can greatly limit the spread of COVID-19 infections. Key steps include mask-wearing, physical distancing, having smaller groups, and cleaning and disinfecting as part of the daily routine.

If you’re considering camp for your child this summer, whether it’s a just during the day or an overnight program, here are some questions to ask.

Will masks be required indoors at camp?

All campers over age 2 and all camp staff should wear face masks indoors, unless advised against it medical or developmental reasons–especially if not everyone is vaccinated. In general, masks do not need to be worn for outdoor activities except in crowded settings where there is a lot of close contact.

Will everyone be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before camp starts?

All camp staff who are eligible should be fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp. All eligible campers ages 12 years and above should also be encouraged to be fully vaccinated. If a camp operates with all staff and campers that are fully vaccinated, then additional COVID-19 safety measures, such as physical distancing are not needed while at camp.

Summer Camp tent

BEFORE PICK A SUMMER CAMP: 10 THINGS TO CONSIDER

It’s kinda late right now to be finding a Summer Camp for your child but you might as well know the ten ways to choose the perfect camp for your kids anyway.

  1. Find Out Where Their Friends Are Going – It’s a good idea to start your journey by finding out where your child’s friends will be camping – and don’t send them there. In addition to depriving your child of a valuable opportunity to make new friends and learn to socialize with a new peer group, you’ll also be ensuring that the same cliques and social hierarchies follow them. Though kids might protest initially, they’ll quickly come to appreciate the clean slate.
  2. Look Into Club-Sponsored Camps – For kids who are active in scouting programs or clubs, it might be a good idea to check into summer camps sponsored by those programs. The tenets and aims of the camp will be familiar to kids who participate in the same activities at home, giving them the chance to meet new people while still retaining that sense of familiarity.
  3. Take Special Interests Into Account – Budding thespians might get more enjoyment out of a theater camp, while aspiring athletes are much more likely to have the time of their life at a sports camp. Tailoring the summer camp experience to your child’s interests is one of the best ways to ensure that they have a great vacation.
  4. Research Special Needs Camps – Kids with learning disabilities or special needs are not automatically excluded from the sleep away camp experience. There are many summer camps created solely for special needs kids; with a bit of research, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your special kid.
  5. Decide if Religion is a Factor – For families that strongly emphasize religion, summer camps with a similar emphasis might be the best fit. Speaking with a clergy member can help you find great religious camps, as can a bit of online research.
  6. Location, Location, Location – One of the most important things to consider when looking at summer camps is the location of your favorites. Families on a budget might have a hard time making parents’ weekends after incurring travel expenses to accompany their child to and from camp.
  7. Make Visits For Next Year – If possible, start scouting summer camps the year before your child will be attending. Visiting while the camp is in session is a great way to get an idea of how things will be the following year, whereas an off-season tour will only showcase facilities.
  8. Consider the Financial Implications – Private camps can run well into the thousands for an eight week session, while non-profits like YMCA camps and others of their ilk are considerably cheaper. Don’t be fooled by a hefty price tag, either; some of the highest-rated camps in the country are lower cost non-profits. In the case of summer camps, it’s not always a “get what you pay for” situation.
  9. Examine First Aid and Infirmary Facilities – Kids get hurt. From daredevil stunts to simple carelessness, bumps and bruises are just part of the territory. Because of this fact, you’ll want to make sure that there are adequate first aid and infirmary facilities on-site, and that medical help can be quickly secured in the event of an emergency.
  10. Let Your Child Play a Part in the Decision-Making Process – Having a conversation with your child about their wants and needs from a summer camp experience is an important part of the process, as well. Listen to and consider each of your child’s points before choosing a place for him or her to spend the majority of their summer vacation.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a summer camp that the task can be overwhelming for many parents. Taking the process one step at a time, looking at each camp from every angle is the best way to be sure about your decision. Because it can be quite time-consuming, it’s also a good idea to begin your search far in advance to avoid last-minute snap decisions made out of desperation.

The American Camp Association accredits summer camps and is a great place to begin your summer camp search.

MANAGE SUMMER ACTIVITIES WITH THIS FOOL-PROOF PLAN

Summer is known as that lazy, relaxing time of year. While all kids deserve a break, they still need structure and stimulating activities that nurture their growth and development. What are some pro tips to keep in mind when it comes to your kids this summer?

Vinay Saranga M.D. is a child psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry offers this advice:

–        Create A Summer Schedule: You don’t have to schedule something for every second of the day. The idea is to develop apredictable but flexible daily schedule that can help children thrive. Remember, sometimes boredom can bea trigger for bad behavior. The idea is to still have a routine and agenda, but know that it’s okay to be a little laid back when it comes to sticking to it.

–        Create A Calendar: Make it visible to your entire family. Write down daily activities and include a chore/activity chart. This helps children understand what’s expected of them. It also helps enrich their sense of responsibility and integrity all while building their confidence.

–        Don’t Skip Reading: Reading should be part of their everyday routine this summer. Whether in the morning or before bed (or both), make it a priority to read with your kids. Of course, the goal of reading is to make it enjoyed. Get your child involved by going to a local library and scouting out the latest book by their favorite author. 

–        Sleep Is Still Essential: Sleep, especially at a young age, is essential for healthy growth and brain development. We all benefit from a good night’s rest! Even if you extend bedtime during the summer, make sure your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Try not to get too far off of their school routine because it will be back in session before you know it!

–        Cut Back On Screen Time: Sometimes it’s too easy just to turn on the TV. When they’re not swimming or riding bikes, find something productive for them to do. Stock up on fun and educational activities that will help your kids continue to grow and learn over the summer break. Coloring books, crosswords, puzzles and board games are all great ideas.

–        Some Downtime Is Good: Remember that long days at the pool/beach can cause exhaustion which leads to frustration and overwhelm. Figure out what the right amount of activity is to stimulate your child and incorporate enjoyable activities into their summer routine.

–        Keep them social. Summer camps, group play and trips to the local playground are all ways to entertain children without screen time. Social settings often encourage imaginary play and creativity all while developing social skills that are essential for a child’s development.

–        Incorporate nature. Let nature be your inspiration this summer! Get your children outdoors for some fresh air. Plan a game of hide-and-seek or set up a nature scavenger hunt that will keep them entertained in a healthy way.

–        Make time for family: Our kids grow up so quickly, so make time to enjoy the summer as a family no matter how old your kids are. Whether planning a vacation out of state or simply a day trip to the beach, the best activities are enjoyed together.

GET OUTSIDE WITH THE KIDS THIS SUMMER AND HERE’S HOW

In what is suddenly starting to feel like a few short weeks, your kids are going to be on summer break. And right now is the time for you to start preparing for that. Because when you know that you want to spend the summer with your kids, if you leave everything to the last minute, you’re just not going to be able to enjoy your time together as much. Instead, you’ll want to start planning.

The best news is, there’s a lot that you can do right now to get those plans in place. From just thinking up ideas to researching the best things to do, you’ll easily be able to come up with a summer schedule that you’ll all enjoy. So let’s kick things off with these ideas.

Spend Some Time Outside

One of the best things that you can do any summer is just to get outside. Right now, you know that your kids spend so much of their time glued to screens. But that’s just modern life. However during the summer, when the weather is really nice, it’s a good idea to get outside a bit more. This is something that you can look to do every single day, even if you have no other plans in place. It’s easy to just head out for a walk or to the local store – anything just to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Because you never know where the day may take you.

See Some Notable Sights

The best thing about this incredible country is that there are so many notable sights for you to see. And why wait to see them? This summer, you have the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to some of the most amazing attractions in the world. So pick out some that you’d really love to show them and plan a road trip or a weekend break so they get to see as much as possible.

Visit Family

If you have family across the country, why not make some plans to see them? Going on a road trip or two and enjoying a mini vacation around your favorite family members can be a great way to break up the summer and shake up your scenery too.

Enjoy Fun Days Out

From here, you’re going to want to think about enjoying a day out or two. Whether you want to have a fun day out at the escape room or to head to a local zoo, there’s a lot of different activities that you can do as a family. Make sure you research to see what’s local, as this is often a great way to bulk out your schedule.

Bond Better

Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that you think of things you can do to just bond with your children better. From planting a vegetable garden to having a slumber party, choosing the enjoy some quality time with them, without any gimmicks or distractions is often the best way to spend the summer with your children.

Fight Summer Brain Drain with These Fun Summer STEM Projects For Kids

summer fight brain drain

Parents, are you scrambling about looking for camps, sporting activities and other projects for your children to engage in this Summer?

Brain drain is also a big issue for children during summer months when a lot of kids engage in mindless activities. If you would like to keep their mind sharp while doing some fun educational activities, we found some wonderful ideas from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S..  The organization has collaborated with some of the best teachers in the country and come up with a list of educational activities for kids to enjoy doing this summer.

Here are some ideas:

April Moon (@aprilsunshine77), Robert and Patricia Kern National Teacher of the Year – Waxahachie, TX, PLTW Engineering Master Teacher

1. Take a field trip to your local wastewater plant and / or water treatment facility. Tours are usually free but need to be scheduled beforehand. This is a great way for kids (and parents) to learn about water management processes and what we can do to help conserve water and properly care for our water resources. Water management systems involve many fields, including, but not limited to, biology, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and environmental engineering.

2. With so many products now being manufactured, many students do not get much experience with hand tools. One great summer project is to design and build a small structure with your kids, such as a dog house or a tree house. There are many design plans online that you can study before creating and building your own design!

3. Want a fun and educational adventure for the whole family? Visit a glass blowing studio to see demonstrations and / or take classes. This is a great way to experience the beauty of combining STEM with art through a creative manufacturing process!

4. Girls: Watch the TED Talk about Debbie Sterling (inventor and CEO of GoldieBLOX) about her journey as a female engineer and her quest to inspire young girls to pursue engineering.

Kelly Wheeler (@kwheeler_kelly), PLTW Launch Teacher of the Year – Menifee, CA

1.     Roly Poly Adventures: Science Experiments with Pill Bugs! My daughter Madison is obsessed with roly polies! I found a great blog with wonderful science experiments to do with her over the summers using the Pill Bug!

2.     Marble Run (Purchased Product) – My kids love the Marble Run. The set comes with curves, chutes, and wheels for the kids to design amazing marble runs!

Cardboard Boxes! There are so many fun things you can create with cardboard boxes to inspire the inner engineer in your child!

a.     Design and build a car out of cardboard. Families could park their cars in the living room and enjoy a family night watching a movie in their own drive-in!

b.     Design an arcade game! Get some inspiration from a 9-year-old boy named Caine who created his very own cardboard arcade. http://cainesarcade.com

c.     Create a miniature golf course. Q-Tips and paper towel and toilet paper rolls work great!

4.     Inventors Box!

My son Colin who is 10 loves to invent and create at home. This activity is inspired by him.

By having a “Tinker” Box at a child’s disposal it will encourage them to use their imagination and natural curiosity to design and build, not to mention it can also store all their items for building. I have a couple of rules for my kiddos at home: if it’s in the box, they can use it how they see fit in their designs. However, if there is something they want to use that is not in the box, they must ask for permission.

Items to include in the box: small boxes, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, yarn, egg cartons, empty butter tubs, broken toys, old toy parts, tape of all kinds, empty cereal boxes, white glue,glue sticks, paper clips, string, left over craft materials, construction paper, aluminum foil,plastic wrap, cotton balls, and any recycled materials around the house. The list could really go on and on. Make sure all materials are safe for children to use.

One fun idea for your child’s tinker box is to design a boat that can hold 10 to 20 pennies and then try to float it in the sink, bathtub, or small pool.

5.     Books are always great ways to introduce students to STEM and their inner inventor. Here are a few of my kids’ favorites.

a.     The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Sprires

b.     What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada

c.     Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Beth Fox (@bfox01), PLTW Gateway Teacher of the Year – Lenoir, NC

  1. The Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Contest is an Internet-based competition that provides middle school and high school students with a realistic, engaging introduction to engineering. While the contest for 2016 has ended, you can still download the free softwareand try your hand at bridge design to get a leg up on next year’s competition!
  2. Robot Virtual Worlds – Expedition Atlantis! Download this fun activity to learn how to code, incorporate math skills, and expand on your proportional reasoning skills!

Chris Hurd (@CazHSTechLabs), PLTW Engineering Teacher of the Year – Cazenovia, NY

  1.   Our local university, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), offers a “RoboCamp” that is great for students. They actually have a week long robotics camp, as well as weekend programs. Look up a university or college program like it close to you. What kid wouldn’t like to go away for the weekend or the week and delve into the world of robotics?

2.     Attend a local “Rocket Launch”! See rockets large and small take to the skies on a monthly basis at a local rocket club’s launch site. The Syracuse rocket club hosts a monthly launch and invites the public to come and watch, and even build one and launch it with them! They meet monthly, and launch monthly, and their members come into my classroom for Tech Club to work with my students on a regular basis. I have a group of students right now building a 6’ tall, two-stage rocket that requires six engines and a license to launch!

3.     Visit a local science museum or STEM-based museum to keep students’ interest piqued all summer long. Most have daily activities and lots of hands-on displays as well as an I-MAX theater.

Darwin Shorters (@MrShorters), PLTW Computer Science Teacher of the Year – Charleston, SC

1. Try your hand at the various tutorials on the MIT App Inventor website. Basic tutorials are great to start, and once you have a basic understanding, I suggest the QuizMe tutorial to help students understand the concept of List and how to use indexes to iterate through them.​

Dr. Julye Adams (@DrJulyeAdams), PLTW Biomedical Science Teacher of the Year – Georgetown, KY

  1.  STRETCH your body. Use stretching techniques to become more flexible. Then research the changes in your ligaments and muscles that have to happen for you to become more flexible. Record your observations.
  2.  Design your own toothbrush. What do you wish could be better about your current toothbrush? What issues do you see with it? Design a better version and test it. Record the steps you took to identify the problem, design a new toothbrush, and your final observations in a notebook.

  3. Investigate a “crime.” Ask your parents to set up a mock crime scene. Then make observations and deductions from the scene to determine what happened.

4.  Collect water samples from different areas in your house and backyard. Look at small drops with a high magnification magnifying glass. Do you see anything moving? Then research the various things contained in water.

 

Summer: ‘Camp Mom’ tips for Work-at-Home Moms

 

camp mom2

If you are like me and other work at home moms out there, you kind of dread Summer a bit because it means you will be responsible for keeping your children busy, entertained and intellectually stimulated so they don’t have too much Summer brain drain. You will have to do all that while managing your work obligations. Oy vey!

Many send their children to summer camps but a lot of camps only operate on a week or two-week increments and they can get very costly. To ease the challenge, it is a good idea to establish a strict schedule that includes work time, play time, and other activities in between. Without a routine, your work or project obligations can suffer and you risk having your kids play video games and watch TV all day.

Here are some suggestions of activities I came up with:

  • Use the morning to institute some reading or math drills time.
  • If you live near a library, use its facilities and take advantage of their summer reading challenges.
  • Go to the craft or dollar store and pick up supplies and incorporate an hour on some days for crafts.
  • Use card or board games for non-electronics hours.
  • Do outdoor activities close to home like make visits to the local park. My middle kid, who is a nature and animal lover, enjoys heading down to our town creek and exploring the dragonflies and frogs. My eldest likes riding his bike around the block and my youngest enjoys playing make-believe with her My Little Pony toys in the front yard.
  • Tack on active play time as well. Take a trip to a local tennis or basketball court. Toss the softball in the backyard. We go on a half mile loop in our town and stop periodically to do jumping jacks, burpees, situps and pushups in the evening. It’s a great way to stave off the summer excess weight gain as well.
  • Plan trips to the beach at least once during the summer.
  • Incorporate treks to the pool on a twice a week basis if you can.
  • If the budget allows, family visits to the roller rink, go cart track or cultural museums are other things you can do.

Here is the schedule I created for myself and hope to follow stringently. I’ve tried to allocate enough time in between for transitioning from activity to activity and made sure I put in ample time to work. You are free to use it to specialize your own schedule. Good luck and have fun!

Presentation1

20 Frugal Summer activities for kids 

 

School is out! 

Week one of summer vacation has just closed. (For the lucky few of you whose kids are still in school, you’re in our prayers). 

Now as you wait for summer camp to start or the grandparents to come and get the kids for their annual family bonding time with your brood, what is there to do? 

As any frugal parent knows – LOTS! 

Canada’s Slice Magazine has come up with the twenty activities, crafted from dollar store finds, that will make your home the kiddie hang out spot for the summer.

So let the glow-in-the-dark ring toss and noodle obstacle course games begin!

Read more at Slice

– Chelsea Social