Summer’s flipside

Happy summer, Minnesota families!

If you’re looking for things to do with your kids in the Twin Cities, you’ve come to the right place!

This month’s issue — our annual Beat the Heat edition — includes 2 inclusive parks designed for all abilities, 4 family day trips reinvented, 13 shady places for babies, 14 fun splash pads, 19 summer bucket-list ideas, and — for the truly ambitious — 100 things to do this summer.

Plus, check out our Out & About calendar. 

Wait. Are you not exactly freewheeling this summer?

Are you working a full-time job and, therefore, need to send your kid to daycare or to back-to-back camps at a cost of roughly $200 a week?

You’re not alone. 

A recent New York Times article — The Families That Can’t Afford Summer — tackled the topic of those 10 to 12 weeks of the year that can cost families thousands.  

“Summer is the moment that really epitomizes the child-care crisis,” says Julie Kashen, policy director for the advocacy group Make It Work. “Our system doesn’t take into account that most parents are working. Summer is when it really hits home.”

Oh, how I wish we all had 12 paid weeks off a year — or even six! 

But of course, we don’t.

My son, like many kids his age, is attending 12 weeks straight weeks of camp this summer — at quite a significant cost. 

Yes, I realize it’s a luxury that his father and I can afford camp for him at all. (That article made me feel pretty darn grateful for that, actually.)

And I realize we’ve made choices — careers, vacations and more — that demand summer camp. 

And, I know the summer camps he’s attending are educational and enriching. He will be learning and playing a lot!

But this time of year, I get wistful. I long deeply for my own childhood, spent riding my bike around my small South Dakota town, usually to the public pool and back.

My son may never know that freedom — the real blissful boredom of an unscheduled, small-town summer.

But here’s the flipside: The Twin Cities metro area is truly amazing when it comes to living the good life with kids. 

So, I’m going to count my blessings (including the luxury of camp), take advantage of the ridiculous wealth of fun activities our cities and suburbs have to offer and enjoy all the time I do have with my son.

Because it’s not just summer that goes way too fast.