How to have a productive and fun summer:

"Help, the kids are out of school!" might dart across a mother's mind when summer comes, an avalanche of precipitation creates a snow day, or school closes for one reason or another. Having children at home for weeks at a time, or just one day when they are supposed to be in school, can be a challenge, yes, but it does not have to be difficult. It can be a fun time when parents and children create special family memories.

Here are some tips to help you plan your own successful family day camp:

First, hold a planning meeting

Choose a theme

Some ideas are:

  • western

  • music

  • green theme

  • gardening

  • a foreign country

  • a state

Make a clothing item based on the theme

  • Make a bandana slide for a western theme.

  • Design a t-shirt.

  • Decorate hats.

Plan activities around your theme

  • A country or state theme could include searching books or the internet for information about the place. The Internet contains pictures of flags, state birds, states, and other fun things to color. On a country website, you might find recipes, clothing and customs.

  • If you want your camp to be educational; children could be prepare to give an oral report.

  • Try a new recipe each week.

  • Have a meal where everyone dresses up in themed costumes. Make-shift costumes can be made from brown paper sacks, old clothes, or sheets.

  • Learn some of the vocabulary associated with your theme and use the new words when talking to each other.

  • Plan an end of summer sharing time for family and friends.

  • If you have money and time you might plan a family vacation or day trip to a place that would enrich the experience for your family. (e.g. a museum, a festival, a new state or country)

  • Invite others to a family fair.

Have a fun family camp

The amount and type of activities will depend on how much time and money you choose to invest. If you are working and unable to participate in all the activities, older children or other caregivers can help.

Having children home from school does not need to be stressful if a parent remembers that children generally like to learn and like to be with their family. Parents or other caregivers can create ways to make time together fun, as well as educational. Summer vacations and snow days can become lasting and happy family memories. It just takes a little planning.

For more specific ideas and plans on how to have Family Camp please check out my book on called Help! The Kids are out of School

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