Summer seems like it is far away, but this is the time to be thinking about summer camps and other activities to keep the kiddo occupied after the school year ends. When she was little, I thought about camp and summer-time classes just as something fun that the kiddo and I could do together, mostly for socializing purposes. The moms who obsessively scheduled every free moment of their kids' time seemed extreme to me. However, as the kiddo has gotten older, she wants more activities with friends and I find myself facing the daunting task of keeping her entertained. Crafts are great, but I don't always want to do them with her. She is just learning to read, so sending her off with a book won't last long.
Camps and classes seem like the perfect alternative to "find something to do that doesn't involve bothering me". However, I don't want to push her out of the car into some random activity just to get her out of my hair. When I was a kid, my neighbors' parents literally pushed them out of the house every day of summer vacation and told them to go play. They weren't allowed to play inside the house, or even go back into the house unless it was to eat, use the bathroom, get a bandaid, etc. Looking back, I remember those kids getting into a lot of trouble...coincidence? Too much structure is overkill, but too little structure can be bad, too.
There are tons of options for summer camps and activities--far more than when I was a kid--but I'm not spending money on anything that is lame and not worth it. I certainly won't drop my kiddo off at a place where safety and security aren't a top concern.
On the other hand, I remember my summer vacations as being almost magical because they weren't structured. Of course, I wasn't barred from my house all day. Hmm...my next post is going to be about the joys of unstructured summer activities. But I'm still looking into camps. For my own sanity.