Camp Conundrums 101

By Kelli Cantana

It’s hard to think of summer when the snow is still on the ground… but, hey, it’s time to bring out those kid camp guides

Spring is in the air. Well, let’s be honest, snow is still in the air but the promise of spring is just on the horizon or at least that’s the thought that gets us through these long winter days. And while your thoughts might be consumed with trying to plan that last minute March Break getaway, now is the time that you really need to be planning for summer vacation. That’s right, before you know it your kids will be singing  “school’s out for summer!” and if you haven’t gotten all your ducks in a row you’re going to be stuck with the constant chorus of “I’m bored” ringing in your ears for two very long months.

I know it might seem early given that there’s still about 1 metre (3 feet) of snow on the ground, but if you don’t start planning for summer holidays now you just might be caught with kids at home and nowhere to go. And while my kids are eagerly planning for their lazy days of summer filled with sleeping in and lounging all day, I’m strategically planning activities that will keep them just the right mix of busy and interested so that I my summer vacation isn’t spent refereeing fighting children and entertaining bored ones. 

So where do you start? Well, if your child is into sports you might want to look into those summer sports like soccer, baseball and lacrosse to name a few. Even though they don’t typically start until the May or June the sign up generally starts in February. You do not want to be that parent who missed registration leaving your kid at home while all of their friends are suiting up and heading to the soccer field. Mostly because then your child is going to expect you to play with them and no one wants that. Check out your local sports league websites now to make sure you make note of registration dates.

Do you send your kids to camp? The city of Ottawa offers fantastic camps throughout the entire city suitable for every age range and interest. They have sports camps, science camps, arts camps – you name it they have it. My oldest son actually spent his first night away from home last summer thanks to an amazing week long camp offered by the City of Ottawa. The best part about  city run camps is that they’re affordable – so when you have four kids like me you can actually put all of them in at least one or two weeks of camp each. If you are brave enough to send your kids to a sleep away camp for longer than one night (I don’t think I’m there yet) you might have already missed the enrolment boat. Lots of camps are full already so if you were thinking sending your kids off for a fun experience this summer make sure you look into it now before you are stuck with them.

Start saving for your summer vacation fund now so that when your child writes their ‘What I did on my summer vacation’ essay they have something exciting to write about. A great summer vacation doesn’t have to mean a long and expensive journey somewhere – it can mean a great day trip here or local adventure there. Check out the tourism Ottawa website and find some of the city's hidden gems and explore them. A great adventure doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but it does require some planning so start now and do your research. Ask your friends and even ask your kids what they would like to do. Whether it’s an outdoor activity, a new museum to explore or finally deciding to go on that camping trip, planning ahead will make your experience much more enjoyable. So when your child asks you for that day trip to the new super fun awesome water park you’ve been promising, you’ve not only banked for it but you’ve planned out the perfect day for it too.

I know we tend to get caught up in making sure our kids are taken care of over the summer months, but don’t forget about Mom and Dad too. Before you know it the kids will be home, the seasonal sports and activities will be starting and you won’t have a second to breathe much less a day to enjoy some kid-free time. Plan now, before the kids are out of school for a little ‘you time’. Book yourself a quick getaway somewhere fun or take a mid-week vacation day and play hooky while the kids are in school. Trust me, you’ll need it.

I hope you find some of this advice helpful in planning for your summer vacation with your kids.  We all know that there is nothing worse than a house full of kids whining “I’m bored” in unison on the second day of summer vacation. So plan ahead now and give your kids the best summer vacation they ever had – they’ll thank you for it.



Kelli Catana is an Ottawa area blogger, wife and mother of four very busy kids.  When she’s not in front of her computer you can find her at a rink or chauffeuring her children around the city. Follow her on twitter @kellidaisy.



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