Oklahoma City family fun is starting to amp up for spring and summer.
It's literally freezing outside right now and hardly seems like the season to plan for Spring Break camp much less summer camps. And yet, enrollment season for both is right here already. There's already an extensive list of local summer camps that will only grow as the season gets closer but first things first: click here for our Spring Break Camps list.
Now is actually the perfect time to grab a mug of hot tea, curl up and make plans.
Here's why: camps fill up quickly and being waitlisted, especially as a working parent, spells uncertainty.
I love to have my children home from school, I really do, and there is merit to enjoying the time together, but too much of a good thing often doesn't work out well; they get stir crazy too. The sound of my oldest two home-from-school elementary students banging a balloon on a rubberband against a wall after two days of being iced in only reinforces my resolve to find them something to do when school is out for a full week next month, which is really a preview of June and July too.
School's out and it doesn't feel super safe to go anywhere right now but next month will be better, different and definitely above freezing.
My oldest son, Sam, is 11 and one of the most challenging things about summer with a child his age is keeping him engaged. It would be easy to shove off younger siblings to his care, have him do chores every day or just read the summer away. Those things will happen in varying quantities but I don't want him to just languish in the house for the better part of three months, so we have to start looking now. Before Sam gets a summer job or goes away to visit his grandparents for whole summers at their home in Costa Rica, there's plenty to do right here at home.
Here are three camps I already have my eye on for summertime:
- Edmond Mobile Meals' Little Chefs camp: Spots go almost immediately at this camp so now is the ideal time to enroll even though there are three sessions available, in June, July and August It's for ages 9 to 11 and I'm actually sad that this will be Sam's last year to participate; we've been attending since 2016. His interest in cooking is definitely renewed each summer as the classes explore different world cuisines. This year's theme is Mediterranean food. Students bring home a sampler of food after every class period and some really nice kitchenware has also rounded out our collection thanks to the course. A recipe book comes home at the end so kids can continue making what they've learned how to prepare. More than that, though, there's a community feel to what they're doing. Camp fees pay for classes, of course, but they also support the work the agency does right here in Central Oklahoma. Sam will be too old to go to class next year but the facility will be a familiar place for him to volunteer. Building on skills both in the kitchen and with people outside of it make the camp an ideal experience. An additional list of non-profit summer camps is also available here.
- Artsy Rose's classes: Whether you're enrolling now for Spring Break or looking ahead to summer, Artsy Rose has a variety of drawing, painted and themed sessions to fit different ages and interests. Legos, emojis, Minecraft and robots are each a separate option I know my sons would enjoy. Click here for more information. I like that the classes combine familiar themes my children already enjoy with new techniques that develop skills like painting, drawing and creative expression. We visited Artsy Rose this past December and there was a way to tailor the crafts they made to be age-appropriate, which isn't easy when you have the age spread we do: 11, 6 and 3. You can read about our experience here. The fact that all classes are led by teachers who hold degrees in the arts is another plus.
- A sleepaway camp: There are a lot of choices in this area depending on your budget and the child's age. Sam went with his fifth grade class to Youth Camp Goddard last week near Sulphur. They spent Tuesday through Friday out of the house and away from electronics, which aren't permitted at the camp. That's a big deal when you're growing up in this era of all-electronics all the time. Instead, they hiked, hunted for fossils, learned about native American traditions and astronomy. Learning to be a good roommate, dealing with homesickness and generally being responsible for oneself are just some of the implicit lessons not mentioned in a camp brochure that I feel are essential for kids to cultivate now, way before it's time to go on high school trips or away to college. Independence is a big theme at our house; click here for six other reasons to go away to summer camp. Camp Classen, Camp DaKaNi and Missouri's Camp Kanakuk are just a few of the other options I've heard about recently.
Better weather will be here before we know it. I'm starting to fill out our June calendar and wish you the best too as you decide what your summer will be sooner than ever!