For many of my friends back in the UK the summer holidays are only just starting but here in ‘Tronno’, we’ve been at it for 3 weeks now. We get to have 8 weeks of attempting to keep kids active, interested and off each others backs! So far I think I’m doing OK but it’s still early days.
I am sure, like many parents, I desperately searched for activities to do, places to go and camps to enlist with before the holidays happened but as per usual, I left it too late! Parents sign their children up in March for camps! I always assumed camps where just made up things that you saw in kids movies but it’s a real thing! I suppose I did a version of camp…it was called Boarding School.
So here I am in one of the biggest cities in Canada and I have absolutely NO IDEA what to do with my kids! It isn’t as if there isn’t any choice; we have museums, parks, an aquarium, pools, galleries, beaches, you name it. What fills me with dread is the fact that every other kid in Toronto will be there too. I once did the Science Center during a holiday and I swore never again – chaos, tears, stress, even my poor children hated it and they usually love to learn things but they don’t like having to fight for something and they don’t enjoy being watched by impatient children who are attempting to telepathically will them off a toy/ride/game. They will happily fight and bicker with each other but not with other children so I always take that into consideration whenever we decided to go somewhere. Nine times out of ten we usually stay close to home and play and I will make each week a specialty week. For example, during March Break, I devoted a week to Science. We made Ooblek, Volcanoes and sun-catchers using glue and food coloring and the children loved it. With the summer holidays I have 8 weeks to plan for and the more I investigate, the more excited I become about doing things at home.
I know I am lucky because I work from home so I have the time to be able to spend with my kids. Many parents don’t have that option and find sending their kids to camp the only choice until they have their vacation too. I dread to think how expensive it all becomes; a week long camp at Ripley’s Aquarium is close to $400 per child. I have a friend who just put both her kids, aged 5 & 7, into 4 separate camps; over $1,200 to cover just 2 weeks worth of the holidays.They are also planning to go on vacation for a week which was in the region of around $3,500 (flights, hotel, etc). I know having children is expensive but these days it seems just unrealistic at times. Having said that this sort of thing seems to apply to younger kids; the older they get, the more independent they become and the money once spent on camps is re-directed towards other ‘essentials’ teenagers ‘need’.
Today my kids have drawn life-size silhouettes of themselves on paper and are currently embellishing them with a ridiculous amount of tissue paper, sequins, and fuzzy balls. (I’m looking forward to that clean up later…) The point is, they have been occupied for over an hour with this. I’ve broken up 3 fights, all from the comfort of my desk chair, and they are learning (with some degree of stubbornness) the art of sharing. The TV is off, Jazz music is playing softly in the background and I’m sure once everything is done we will have some pretty spectacular pictures!
I live in the city so there are programs and camps all over the place so here is a question: Is it easier or harder to plan summer holidays if you live in the country vs the city? Working parents vs. stay at/work from home parents; how do the long holidays effect you?
Whatever you get up to this summer I hope you have an enjoyable holiday and get to enjoy some quality time with your children.