It's that time of year again. The days are warmer, the nights come later, and the kids are antsy to start the summer. But, if you have a lot of kids, you might be wondering how you are going to keep those kiddos busy and happy all summer instead of crying out the usual, "There's nothing to do".
You look into the park district camps, but realize that with 5 kids, you just paid your mortgage payment for the month in camp fees! Yikes!
Don't fret. Two years ago, our little neighborhood came up with the perfect solution:
Here's how it worked for us. Take the ideas and run with it among your group of friends:
1. When we started we had 5 families and included only the elementary school-aged kids. Choose what works best for you. More families means less times each family needs to host a camp day. But, it also means more kids. Find the balance you like the most!
2. We held the camp every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours from 10:30-12:30. You, of course, can decide with your coop just when works best for you.
3. Since we had 15 days of camp during the summer, we each took 3 days to be in charge of.
4. We each picked a theme. Over the years, we've had cooking, drama, arts and crafts, sports, health and nutrition, science, discovering nature, and parks and recreation. Each person just picked what interested them the most.
5. Each person decides where they will host their day. Most did it in their backyards, but some (like the sports and parks and rec camps) were held at local parks.
6. Make up your calendar and voila! You've got camps for free all summer long.
It's been such a hit that our kids can't wait for camp to start and we have more moms asking to join each summer. In fact, this year we had to split it into two groups to accommodate!
To get started, just send out an email to all your friends asking who's up for the challenge. Then, hold a meeting with whoever's interested. Make sure they bring their calendars. At the meeting, pick dates and themes and you're done! Happy Camping!
Other great summer ideas? Let us know!