Are you laughing yet? I call these my Norman Rockwell moments. I take the kids to the zoo picturing them laughing and learning and instead it ends with running for the nearest bathroom, scraped knees and tears. Real life is never picture perfect.
As my kids aged and time started to slip away, I realized I wasn't doing those things I wanted to do with my kids. I wasn't teaching them things that I felt were really important. Combine that with the ridiculous mom guilt that comes along in the summer because they are out of school and I am working, and you get Mom Camp.
Being the computer nerd I am, I created a Trello board and started planning my camp! I made myself a promise that I would dedicate a week to Mom Camp. I would come home from work, gather them up, kick the neighborhood friends out and do Mom Camp. I knew it would be a hard week on me, but I was determined to make this happen. I planned lessons, crafts and activities. I was organized and ready to go. So exciting!
Then I told my kids. And the reaction was lackluster to say the least. Time to step back and rethink. I discussed with the kids and we reached some compromises. I made the "lesson time" our time. Family only. They could each invite one neighborhood kid to craft time. They could each suggest two activities, I would try my best to make at least one happen.
The activities have to be something we can do in an evening and on the inexpensive side. They didn't necessarily match up with the camp theme. More like crossing items off our summer bucket list. (In case you live in North East Ohio, I'll include links in this list.) Examples of activities included:
- Hit the beach
- Take in a minor league baseball game
- Visit a favorite park
- Enjoy a swim at your community pool
- Visit a nature center
- Tour the local conservatory
- Go treasure hunting - geocaching
- Eat your favorite ice cream
- Enjoy a drive-in movie theater double header
- Get wet at a splash park
- Try a new book at the library (this one has a hands on science area.)
- Challenge the kids to mini-golf
- Hit the bike trails
- Go fishing
- See a play or concert
My first Mom Camp theme was Mindfullness. We talked about being good citizens of our "home community." We talked about ways to slow down and enjoy what is around us. We tried Yoga and Meditation. Some things were successful, some were not. No one lesson was a big hit with all three of my kids. But they loved the crafts and they loved the activities. At the end of the week, they wanted to do Mom Camp again the next week! Now, my kids look forward to our annual Mom Camp and I am thinking about adding one over spring break.
I plan to post the details of my Mom Camps in the coming weeks. The time consuming part was gathering resources and getting organized. I hope to make it easier on any of you that might want to try this with your family. We've completed three so far: Mindfullness, CSI and Poetry. I'm planning a theme of Music or maybe Cultural Cooking for this year. Please write in the comments what themes you'd like to see and I will try to put together some ideas for you!