How are you coping? The kids are home, school has restarted (at home), you’re trying to work, and the housework and laundry is piling up. It’s stressful, emotional, and overwhelming at times. Take a breath or two. Life is changing and you and the kids deserve time to process all the emotions.
The first week of online learning as been trying at our house. I don’t know about you but I use to complain that the school day was not long enough for working parents. So the 3 hours of school work at home is definitely not long enough. My daughters are using two different learning platforms and I am ping-ponging from one room to the next to answer technical and learning questions from 9 AM to noon. And by noon, they are finished. I still have a job to accomplish. I am not blaming teachers or schools for not giving my children enough work or rolling out distance learning incorrectly. This is simply our new reality and everyone is learning to navigate the new work/home balance. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, including myself.
However, I need more than the schools can currently provide and I can’t continue working in 15 minute increments from noon to midnight. It is frustrating, unproductive and draining. The alternative is to leave the kids by themselves for 5 hours. And most likely that would end with someone needing stitches. To fill that gap, I have been looking for online resources to occupy the kids for a few additional hours without my input or supervision. The list below is what I found so far from summer camp providers, who have quickly shifted to provide online resources for kids and parents. I’ll add more as I find them.
Arts and Minds—All sorts of activities for the kiddos to help them stay mindful and creative.
Avid 4 Adventure—A shortened version of their amazing outdoors camps online each afternoon.
Colorado Academy—All sorts of online classes from chess, to dance, to hula hooping and science.
Craftsman and Apprentice—The ultimate creative maker camp is offering free online videos for kiddos.
Curious Jane—Programs for girls who like to make things is offering free DIYs and live Instagram tutorials.
EVQ Dance—Live stream a dance class in your living room for all ages and dance styles.
Jump Bunch—Online fitness classes available for kiddos.
Lighthouse Writers Workshops--For young poets, novelists and playwrights online workshops.
Outschool—Live online classes for almost any interest area, science, reading, sewing, and raising chickens for instance.
PBS Distance Learning Resources—Short videos and projects on most academic subjects.
Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids—For any future Broadway star, weekly online theatre classes.
Science Matters in America--Online science classes and free YouTube videos.
Silicon STEM Academy--Online coding classes for kiddos.
Snapology—For the future engineer and lego enthusiast in your life. This camp is offering many online building courses. They are also offering daily building challenges on Facebook and Instagram.
Young Americans Center for Financial Literacy--Lemonade stands are frowned upon these days but you can still start the kiddos on a path to becoming an entrepreneur.
Young Rembrandts--Online drawing and art lessons.
I am sure there are many other camps out there stepping up and providing much needed programing. Let me know in the comments what you have found. Parents are not ok right now and we need to support each other.
Now might just be the best time to register for summer camp.
We can’t predict the future and we have our fingers crossed that flattening the curve will allow at least a few summer camps to happen. And, not to mention, we are going to need some distance from the kids by the time summer rolls around.
The kids are home
This means they can help in the planning. Make it a research project for them to find the camps they would like to attend. Give them your perimeters (i.e. a budget, driving distance, and hours) and see what they find. You could be surprised. Heck, they are on the internet anyway, you might as well make it useful. And this might teach them some valuable real world skills not just how to watch YouTube and use TikTok.
Camps are uncertain too
The Covid-19 crisis is causing some camps to rethink their pricing and cancellation policy to adapt to the uncertainty around social-distancing. Summer camps are reporting reduced bookings due to Covid-19. This means many summer camps are extending early bird discounts or offering new discounts. You might find a good deal on your ideal camp. Also, take a look into the camp’s cancellation policy to find out when your last opportunity to receive a refund or credit. Camps are trying to remain flexible too.
We want camps around next year
We rely on summer camps entertain our kiddos in the summer, provide childcare, and build important life skills, like resiliency (which we can all agree is important to recover from the huge changes like the ones we are seeing now). As important as summer camps are for families, summer camps typically operate with low margins, meaning they have high annual costs and low profits, even in a good year. This year some might not make it without some financial support from the community. If you are continuing to pay for other items like gym memberships, which you are not using, or ordering from local restaurants to keep them afloat, then you should consider supporting summer camps the same way. Book summer camps now to make sure your favorite camp is around for years to come.
But really in a time of crisis the best time to register for summer camp is when you are able. Please don't let summer camp planning become an added source of stress and worry. Give yourself the empathy and grace to make it through, whatever that looks like for you. If you want help finding best camp for your family, consider using our planning service. You can also make sure we are still here next year by purchasing a gift card, which does not expire (just a thought).