This year our county’s parks and recreation division had multiple fails for summer camp registration and I could feel the frustration of parents around our community, especially for those who rely on camps to provide kids with a safe place to learn and have fun during the long summer days.
Registering online for summer camps was always a stressful situation in our household, especially with two kids of different ages and interests. Typically, we’d land far down on waitlists and have to seek alternatives. That’s when I’d often turn to the moms in my neighborhood so we could get together to plan a mom camp.
Our kids wanted to play together anyway, so rather than all of us missing work all week, one mom would take all the kids for a day or two and do activities, go on field trips, and let them explore. Then another mom would serve as camp host, and so on. Sometimes, we had great success — field trip to a television station! Other times, we had eye rolls — scratch art was not a hit.
I was thinking about all this because Reading Rockets has some new resources at Start with a Book for summer reading and learning that would have been so great for mom camp!
The latest themed toolkit from Start with a Book is all about music and perfect for DIY summer camp activities. Tune In! will get kids reading about music and musicians, making music with their bodies, inventing simple instruments with recycled materials, playing conductor, building community through call-and-response singing and group dances, creating a music time capsule, drawing to music, designing an album cover, exploring voices and songs of social change, and writing original jingles, parodies, and raps.
With the Bird Buddies toolkit, kids have the chance to learn all about birds — how they live, eat, move, fly, sing, and socialize — by reading books, taking nature walks, using binoculars, keeping a bird journal from the point of view of a scientist or from that of a bird itself, setting up an observation station, writing poems, myths, and riddles about birds, building a nest, and playing games like Bird Bingo and Jeop-Birdy.
Detailed how-tos for both parents and educators help everyone make the most of these resources.
Here at Book Life, we’ll hear from authors, activists, librarians, parents, and others over the next couple months about their ideas for using books and activities to explore topics like music, birds, and nature to build closer relationships with children and to get them thinking, talking, creating, and exploring all summer long — with limited eye rolls!