Yikes! I can’t believe it’s time to start planning summer. I plan some of the summer camps at Look About Lodge and even write some of the little paragraphs that help you choose which experience is best for your child. And yet, I’m surprised and even shocked that it’s the time in the year to start planning my daughter’s summer schedule, who will turn 7 just in time for summer.
There are so many amazing opportunities and choices for kids during the summer. There are camps and activities coming at you from every direction. Kids could be at nature camp one day and ice skating or learning a computer language the next. There are sports team practices, picnics in the evenings and more.
For my daughter, I’m looking for balance. Because I work, camps are a great chance for me to keep her mind and body busy while I’m away at doing the same with some of your children. I’ll sign her up for some Cleveland Metroparks camps, a week of dance camp, and even farm camp. Hopefully at all these cool opportunities, she’ll be engaged in the kind of activities that I’d want her doing if I could be home with her.
But some of the most important time I’m planning for her this summer is time unplanned. I want her to help me in the garden, dig holes in the back yard, get bored, cure her own boredom with invented games, get bored again, build forts, learn to use tools, scrape her knees and count the bruises on her shins, catch and keep worms as pets, roll her eyes at me when I suggest things she could be doing, play dress up and do all the wonderful amazing things I know are waiting to be done by this wonderful amazing person.
You’ve heard enough parenting advice to induce nausea. But, if there was one thing I wish parents of the Cleveland area could hear it would be to worry less about the weather. We’ll get hot. It might be cool. You might need to think about sunscreen and insect repellant. We’ve all survived a winter that makes us believe that 40 degrees is really great! With proper planning, there’s no need to limit outside time, in the park time, backyard time, hiking time, beach time because of most weather.
I hope that during all your planned and unplanned time this summer, you’ll stay indoors a little less and visit Cleveland Metroparks a little more. Let’s be busy and bored, tired and refreshed, scheduled and open, at home and on the trail. We can do all of that through most of what Mother Nature has to throw at us here in Northeast Ohio.
Cleveland Metroparks nature camps begin registration on April 15th at 9:30 a.m. for residents of Cuyahoga Count and Hinckley Township. Others may register beginning on April 22nd. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo camps have already began registration.