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What to do with your kids on these long summer days

No, I don’t have the answer.

But, as someone without kids of her own yet, I’ve been reading with interest your ongoing discussion about the things parents must do to keep their children challenged and stimulated.

If it’s that hard during the school year, how do your kids stay sharp during the summer months?

Do they go to camps, or summer school, or spend their days at the local pool with their friends? Are there enough reasonably priced options, or do you watch your checking account plummet at this time of year?

If you’ve come across any especially good summer programs, by all means tell us about them (unless you don’t want word to get out).

My mom stayed home with us when we were young, so she was able to cart us around to swim lessons, summer camps and the library, and to supervise us from a distance (often, from inside the house) when we played freeze tag with our friends on the block.

What’s a family with two working parents –and without loads of disposable income — to do?

image from Yarnspinner68′s site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Debora

    Park Day Summer Camp! Great fun, Ga Ga ball, self-portraits, learning how to sew on a sewing machine, water day, circle “camp fire” type songs and a performance at the end of the week.

    The counselors had not seen my daughter since last summer, yet when she walked through the gate she was greeted by name. All day camps for working parents, 3/4 day camps for those parents and kids who don’t need so much. Honestly, summer camp doesn’t get any better than that.

    And, after a day at camp, it’s home to the neighborhood kids for playing in the sprinklers, building forts, looking for bugs and eating popcicles.

    Now that’s a summer for you!

  • John

    It’s off to space camp for my kid! They’re preparing for a field trip to Mars in early August. Mars is quite far from the sun. Does anyone think she’ll require sun tan lotion?

  • Sue

    That sounds like a great field trip, John. Do they need any more chaparones?

  • John

    Actually Sue, the teacher is supposed to go along. However, the teacher before last who blasted into space never came back. Consequently the teacher is putting up some resistance to going. The teacher union is now involved. They’re arguing that if the teacher doesn’t make it back they would lose out on one or more involuntary pay check (union dues) deductions until a replacement teacher is found.

    I’ve offered to take the teacher’s place. Because the union doesn’t give a dam about (non dues paying) retired teachers they have no objection to my going along as a chaperone. If you’re interested in coming along, and since DH does the cooking, perhaps something could be arranged. I’ll get back to you!

    P.S. Would you need to rent a space suit, or do you already have one?

  • http://www.whattodowiththekids.com Brian

    I am a stay-at-home dad and former camp program director. My website http://www.whattodowiththekids.com is filled with games, crafts and special events for adults to do with the kids. Most of the games do not involve any equipment and many of the crafts use items found around the house. I also have a lot of tips and techniques on how to make things a lot easier for you and the kids. Please feel free to take a look. A lot of people have and I’m sure you’ll find at least one thing that will help with the kids.