How do you spend 75 days of summer vacation when you have children under age 10?
There’s 104 days of summer vacation/And school comes along just to end it/So the annual problem for our generation/Is finding a good way to spend it.– Lyrics from Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb show. By my calculation James gets 75 days of summer vacation – that’s a month less than Phineas and Ferb!
Thursday, June 23 was the first official day of summer vacation for us – I mean James. So I took the day off from work to celebrate and do something fun with James. I had great plans: breakfast at the Frog Pond, a trip to the zoo, mini golf, ice cream, soccer, and a sleepover.
We never made it to the Frog Pond. Instead James opted for cinnamon sugar bagels from Brueggers. The zoo – always a favorite – didn’t happen because James’s friend called to play and suddenly, hanging with Mom didn’t seem that interesting anymore.
After a couple of hours, James returned and we went out for a round of mini-golf at Wickham Farms – where James made a hole-in-one – and ate a dish of Moose Tracks ice cream. Instead of a milk moustache, James wore a chocolate smile of satisfaction.
We also squeezed in a trip to Soccer Shack for a pair of goalie gloves. James had hoped to play goalie during his soccer game last night (delayed by an hour due to thunder), but didn’t get a chance until he came home with his sleepover pal. They played more soccer, ate pizza from Great Northern Pizza, took showers and played gogos before we all nodded off around 11 pm.
With Day 1 of summer vacation successfully completed, I wondered what am I going to do with my kid for the next 74 days?
While some moms can’t wait for school to be over, others need to find a place for their kids to go for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week because they’re working or busy with other stuff.
Guiding James through weekly homework, tests, projects, and classroom drama had worn me down, so last week I was looking forward to school’s end.
However, there are two words I loathe to hear: “I’m bored!” While I have a few day camps planned, not all 75 days are scheduled. I work, so I need some coverage, but I want to keep a balance of scheduled and unscheduled time.
Panic set in about camp registrations in mid-April. I had a stack of booklets, flyers and postcards that promised fun, discovery, friendships and excitement. The words, “Register Now!” urged me to make a decision so my kid wouldn’t be left out. However, I couldn’t commit. It seemed too early. I asked other moms about what they were doing with their kids. Some moms had sitters booked (or older siblings or grandparents to watch their little ones). Others had already completed their color-coded summer schedule.
Now, summer is in full swing, and I’m scrambling for coverage.
I tried to think of what I used to do when I was James’s age during the summer. That would take me back about 35 years ago and my memory is a bit fuzzy. I remember going to rec camp for a week or two, but mostly I was with my mom – who had summers off – and my brother.
- Playing checkers with my brother and then fighting with him because he cheated
- Wandering aimlessly through the backyard, looking for interesting rocks and bugs
- Reading books like “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White
- Writing things in my diary like “I’m so bored”
- Swimming in our above-ground pool
- Riding my bike around the neighborhood without a helmet (and sometimes without shoes)
- Looking for any available friend (my best friend summered in Cape Cod)
- Stubbing and bloodying my toes on the sidewalk in front of my house while wearing sandals
- Watching cartoons in the morning and variety shows like “The Muppets”
- Listening to bad Top 40 music like the Bee Gees and Bay City Rollers while counting mosquito bites
- Attending the dreaded rec camp when my mom needed a break
What are your memories of summer vacation as a kid? What are you doing with your children during summer vacation? If your kids are grown, what did you do with them?