Summer is coming

As I write this, the Twin Cities is yet again under siege — the snowy kind — with an inch or more falling per hour. Roads are only just passable. Schools, of course, are cancelled. 

My son is parked in front of his device, playing Fortnite with his other school friends, who are (thank goodness for me) doing the same. 

Right now, it feels as though we will reside in our Sorels, shovels in hand, forever more. 

And yet now is precisely the time we need to be thinking about summer!

In fact, some of the best summer camps for kids are already booked. Crazy, right?

Yep, add it to the list of Things to Do Like Right Now.  

Gone, it seems, are the days when you can just send the kids into the backyard with nothing to do for three months straight. 

Why are those days gone? Well, they aren’t really. You can do that. (Good luck keeping them off their screens, though.)

Also, it would be a shame, I’d argue, to not at least check out some of the awesome (yes, awe-inspiring) educational options our kids can access in the summer.

In this issue, we’re spotlighting five summer camps, including a sleepaway camp up north (with zero mobile devices allowed!) as well as day camps for ballet, coding and art and a survival-skills camp for teens with special needs.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s out there. This summer my son, age 10-going-on-15, will attend a multi-faceted day camp through school (featuring tons of different field trips), one week of Adventures in Cardboard camp and, well, I’m not sure what else just yet.

Honestly, there are camps for everything — horseback riding, languages, math, coding, theater (so many good ones in our theater-loving cities), art, writing/storytelling, animal care, faith/spirituality, science/engineering, sports, military skills, wilderness, sailing, rowing, glass-blowing and more. Somebody stop me!

Don’t get me wrong. I know the power of unstructured play. That was my childhood. 

And I must say: Hands down, the best part of my winter so far has been seeing my kid go outside to play in the snow (pictured above) without being forced. I have loved watching him — just putzing around, throwing a plastic sword in the snow and retrieving it over and over; falling down on purpose; using gardening tools to destroy a previously made snowman; lying on his back, ingesting snowflakes, just breathing in the cold air, even when it was 17 below.

Utterly free and unplugged. That, right there, is as good as it gets for me.

But, alas, I work full-time and so does his dad. 

So camp it is. Rest assured, however, my son will find his own brand of joy (and lots of learning) all summer long. 

And we’ll still make time for puttering in the yard, amongst the flowers and under the sun.