Last week I wrote about the shift that happens in childcare when the weather warms up and older kids are out of school. It feels like “summer” and just because some young children are in childcare 52 weeks a year, that doesn’t mean that the summer can’t be different than the rest of the year.
When my kids were little, I really wanted to keep them near me in the summer. I was always a working mother (ALL mothers are working mothers) but I always had time off in the summer so I didn’t really want to sign them up for summer camps, even though I was a huge fan of summer camp when I was a little girl. One summer a few other moms and I got together and designed a “Mom’s Camp” where we rotated supervision and activities, but primarily kept our kids with us. It was great and it lasted several summers. Some of my greatest memories of when my children were little are of “Mom’s Camp”.
One of the goals of Mom’s Camp was to have as much outdoor time as possible. Since the summer in Chicago can be really hot (as it has been this summer) we wanted to be around water as much as possible as well. This meant kiddie pools, little local water parks, water balloons, sprinklers, spray bottles and the beach. We tried to keep Mom’s camp as low-cost or no-cost as possible as well and all of those water-filled activities were incredibly cheap.
Simply adding a few buckets and shovels to water play can turn a cooling-off experience into a math-related activity. The dollar store is a great place to find enough small buckets, plastic watering cans, water balloons and spray bottles to keep the kids busy for hours.