The school year is wrapping up and summer is almost upon us. What to do? Where to go? How to spend 8 weeks of “free” time? In this issue, we’ve included our annual Summer Camp Guide to give you some tips on how to fill the days. You can also find tips on things to do while camping, and how to make sure you’re ready for a day at the beach. If you have a birthday coming up, we’ve included tips on party planning. Aside from fun things to do, make sure you read an important article from BC Children’s Hospital on how to help your children grow up cavity free!
Every Summer, we deliberate what activities will fill our children’s day. Will the activities be the usual playtime, snack time, etc. or will they be learning something new? How about something new like a skateboard and scooter camp?
If you haven’t heard of it yet, BC has a new addition to Summer Camp options with Evolve Camps. If your child is a little more adventurous and is looking for something to challenge them, Evolve is definitely a good fit! It’s also a perfect fit for children who want to skateboard or do more challenging scooter tricks, but don’t have a parent that is equally adventurous or skilled to teach them.
At an Evolve Camp, boys and girls aged 6-14 get a tour of their area and its different skateparks, with a new location every day of the week! The Evolve buses are on the road by 7:30 in the morning to pick up campers from a convenient pickup spot near you, then transport them to a skatepark for the day. Campers work side-by-side with qualified coaches to develop a strong skateboarding or scootering foundation throughout the week. Each day campers receive personalized instruction and participate in lots of other fun activities like a yoga-based warm-up to ensure the ultimate Evolve experience. And based on the parent testimonials, the Evolve experience is one that can’t be missed.
“We think Evolve has a great thing going here. That the kids are given the opportunity to try new skateparks across the city and consequently gain a huge amount of confidence is just excellent. And to be outdoors all day is the best.”
– Valerie R. (Calgary, AB)
Action Sports camps are a way forward. From Taekwondo, Mountain Biking, to now Skateboarding and Scooting, action sports camps provide an opportunity for children to get new experiences, gain confidence, and most importantly, have fun!
Evolve Camps was founded by three skateboarders who grew up skateboarding and participating in action sports so they know their stuff. Recognizing there were no camps or places to participate in skateboarding/scootering lessons, co-founder Daniel Rinzler started the camp to increase the growth of all action sports for kids in a safe environment. They started off with just 8 campers in Ontario and over the last 10 years and camps have been so popular they have brought the program to British Columbia including Richmond, Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Whistler. They also offer courses across Alberta and, of course, throughout Ontario with future plans to expand to other Provinces and California in the future.
So as you’re contemplating what to book for your child this summer, think outside the norm and see if your child would like to give skateboarding a try. Let them try out some much needed, risky play and learn some new skills.
Looking for an inexpensive option for some outdoor summer fun? With a little preparation, you can turn bubble blowing into an afternoon of scientific experiments.
Bubbles are fascinating, no matter how old you get! Every soap bubble is a marvel of chemistry and physics. Soap (a surfactant) lowers the surface tension between liquids, allowing bubbles to form. A bubble is composed of three layers – a thin film of water, sandwiched between two layers of surfactant molecules (soap). This unique structure is what makes bubbles beautiful, but delicate! As long as the surface tension isn’t broken, bubbles can survive surprising situations.
Why are bubbles round?
Because bubbles are held together by surface tension, they must take on the most efficient, minimal shape – the sphere. Bubbles are the strongest when they are wobbling before their shape solidifies. This is the point where it’s easiest to bounce them and do certain tricks!
Here are some tips for turning bubble play into a great learning experience for your children.
Why do bubbles pop?
Bubbles don’t pop whenever they touch something. There are three reasons why bubbles break:
(1) too much wind, too fast
(2) evaporation due to time and heat
(3) their delicate surface breaks whenever they touch something dry. A child’s finger, a blade of grass, even a speck of dry dust can pop a bubble. The best solution? Make sure everything is WET! When I do bubble shows, I use humidifiers to make the air damp. A spray bottle will also do the trick. Spray the air around your bubble area often, or blow bubbles near a pool or sprinkler. Bubbles hate the sun – the heat speeds up their evaporation process. This is a great activity for an overcast day, or a shady spot – as long as there isn’t too much wind!
Summer holiday is fast approaching so now is the time to start planning how to fill the eight weeks. Will you take a holiday? Book in some summer camps? In this issue, there are some great suggestions to fill the time at home – with bubbles, getting messy or blogging. Our 2018 Summer Camp guide will help point you in the right direction for available overnight and daycamps.
It’s August and the Back-to- School commercials have begun! The discussion about September is underway and you start to wonder how to prepare your child for the new school year. As a teacher and founder of the tutoring company Teachers to Go, I know that the summer can be a hectic time for parents, regardless if you are a working or stay-at-home parent. But rest assured, here are some tips to help make the transition easier for them and you:
1. Most importantly, try your best to keep your child on a routine for most of the summer – camps, sleep schedule, and even their play/recreational time. Keeping a schedule similar to the school year will make for easier mornings and help their minds and bodies focus in the classroom once September rolls around.
2. It’s also important to keep your child engaged and learning through the summer months. Without any learning for those 8 weeks, your child can lose a lot of what they had worked so hard to learn over the past school year. It’s called summer learning loss, and besides the lost knowledge, it can really hinder your child’s confidence going into the new school year. If your family budget allows, getting your child a tutor even just once a week can keep them in a routine. It will allow them time to retain the concepts from last year fresh in their mind and/or be introduced to new concepts they will be seeing in the new school year.
3. If a tutor isn’t possible with your family budget and/or schedule, not to worry, here are some ways you can ensure they stay sharp at home:
a) If reading together isn’t already in your regular schedule as a family, it’s definitely something to consider moving forward. Encourage your child to read a book together aloud each night and ask them questions before, during and after reading to keep them engaged. Or, for older children, propose that you both read the same book independently then discuss it together. It’s a great idea for the family to get library cards and arrange to go together every couple of weeks. Graphic novels are a great option for students who don’t like reading and/or struggle to find interesting chapter books. Some extensions to spice things up would be to create a book club with other parents and children or have your child complete a creative book report. For the book report for younger children, they could utilize their strengths by creating a t-shirt/sports trading card/sculpture of a character from the story or by making the book into a comic strip. For older children, they could do so through a travel brochure showcasing the setting of the book. Or they could instead choose five (5) artifacts from the book that illustrate the meaning and happenings of the story with reasons why they chose each one. Whichever way you choose to bring literacy into your home, try to make it fun and tailor it to your child’s interests!
b) As scary as the subject of Math can be, bringing it into your home is also important. Research has shown that when parents show anxieties or fear around math, their children also develop those fears of the subject from an early age. Math is everywhere and can be easily, and painlessly, integrated into your family routine. Some ideas include: having your child play online math games (there are a lot of free math game websites searchable through Google), solving an interactive puzzle, or having your older child budget the weekly grocery expenses. Keep in mind that math is so much more than solving questions from a textbook. It’s about problem-solving and embracing that confusion and making mistakes is all a part of the learning process. Get inspired and show your child that Math can be fun!
4. Aside from learning, however, a big part of school is socializing and developing relationships with peers. Over the summer, it’d be great to have your child plan activities with classmates. Some suggestions to combine learning, socializing and entertainment would be to have a Science experiment in the backyard, organize a scavenger hunt or even an art gallery walk with the paintings they make together.
5. Start the transition into getting ready for school today – especially if your child has anxiety or negative feelings about school, it’s important to start the preparations or discussions about the new school year. It may be a month away, but the more preparations and effort you put in this month, the easier next month will be for everyone.
Summer break is long, and although Summer camps can be a great solution by giving your children exciting learning experiences, the costs can add up quickly. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly way to achieve the same benefits that a day camp provides, you might want to consider teaming up with other parents and putting together a DIY Day Camp!
How it works:
Join forces with other parents to provide a day camp by each taking the kids for a day. Five is the ideal number of parents involved, with one child each. This way you have an entire week taken care of and are just responsible for the kids for one day.
Planning: Discuss with the other parents details regarding drop-off and pick-up time, packed or provided lunches, and possible themes. Be sure to find out about each child’s abilities, allergies and soft spots.
Choose the activities: Parents can choose their activities based on their skill level or tolerance for mess. Some suggestions include outdoor games, arts and crafts, music and dance, gardening, cooking and baking, science projects, story time and of course, lunchtime. Other options include teaching a new skill like how to sew on a button. If your group is small, you might also consider a short field trip. Of course, if it’s sunny and hot just turning the sprinkler on might be all you need to do.
Don’t get too hung up on following the itinerary, depending on the ages of the children they may just want to have free play time. But planning ahead can save you if the group is bored so have the activities available and see what interests them.
Here is a suggested itinerary:
9:00 am Drop Off, general playtime
9:45 Skill building activity
10:30 Snack Time
2:00 Pick Up
Set a theme: Using a daily theme for each day of your camp will help to provide inspiration to the parents involved and tie the activities together. Some themes are western, space, superheroes, Star Wars and travel. Pinterest has endless ideas for theme-related crafts, games, and snacks.
Don’t forget to capture the memories: Take a lot of pictures of the kids at camp. You can find inexpensive photo booth printouts online and at Etsy or snap candid shots of the kids in action. Exchange the photos by email or through Facebook.
The best thing about a DIY day camp is that you can hold it with any number of parents. If you have more than five interested, split the group and mix it up over a couple of weeks. Unlike other camps, these parents will be a part of their child’s camp experience, an advantage that is priceless.