It’s that time of year again. A time of barbeques and pool parties and your kids hollering, “I’m bored” eight hundred times a day. Yes, I’m taking about summer, and more importantly, school vacation. If you have the funds (code name for you’re related to Bill Gates) you can send your kids off to camp. There’s day camp where you put them on a bus in the morning and pick them up late afternoon. Or the holy grail of camps, sleep away camp where you put them on a plane in the morning and pick them up weeks later. Either way your kid’s will be out of the house and out of your hair for hours on end. Sure it’ll cost a pretty penny, but hey, your kids’ll learn how to make a lanyard keychain and that’s gotta count for something.
But what do you do if you don’t want to take out a second mortgage to pay for camp? I have a good alternative: home camp. It’s like home school, but with sunscreen. Get four trustworthy friends who have kids the approximate age of your own, and each day, one mom is in charge of all the kids. On each given day, the counselor d’jour is responsible for a craft, an activity, and a snack. Each parent packs a lunch for their kids, and even gives them pocket change if there’s an outing to the park for the ice cream man or a walk to the local smoothie shop. Activities are age appropriate but can include painting a camp t-shirt, water balloon fights, decorating a frame that can house a group photo of the campers, and watching “Parent Trap”, when both you and the campers need time to decompress.
Sure when it’s your day to have camp at your house you’ll be exhausted, cranky, and want to have your tubes tied, but just think of the four other days when your kids will be gone and you’ll have time to have your own pool party!
Joanne Kimes is the author of the bestselling Sucks series of parenting books. Visit her at sucksandthecity.