Summer sad boy.

Summer mom tired.

Fill in this blank, “There’s still six weeks of summer and my kids are driving me __________!”

Target, Walmart and other retailers have filled their shelves with pencils, crayons, folders and tablets (the kind kids write on…not play on).  Gone are the water toys and floats for young swimmers.  And, by gum, finding a swimsuit at a retail store is suddenly a challenge —Dear Retailers, What if my child tears his swimsuit before the end of summer??  After all…

… There’s still a lot of summer left!

In our neck of the woods, most schools start after Labor Day meaning that there’s still about six weeks of summer left.  In our April blog How to Plan and Choose Summer Camps”  we discussed five priorities for planning your summer:

  • • Non-Negotiables: vacation, swimming lessons, music lessons, etc.  This is where most parents start their summer planning.
  • • Favorite summer camps (horseback riding, day camps, fencing, etc.)
  • • Sports (softball, baseball, soccer, etc.)
  • • Camp Grandma and Grandpa
  • • Free Time

“But we’ve done all of that!”

I’ve had conversations with roughly a 1/2 dozen moms in the last week who have hit each of those bullet points and there’s still a lot of summer left.  Baseball and softball are mostly finished, family vacation is in-the-can (to coin a Hollywood phrase), kids have done camp Grandma and Grandpa, all their favorite camps are already complete or scheduled and FREE TIME is in ample supply.  Our kids have hundreds of unscheduled hours remaining in the summer.  What to do?

Keep your child engaged with {YEL!} Day Camps!

  • • Convenient: Many are happening in your community right now.  There are a lot of options within a ten minute door-to-door drive from your house.
  • • Easy to prepare for: Many camps require little or no preparation.  STEM camps with LEGO® bricks, chess classes,
    no bug spray

    No Bug Spray Needed

    fencing and Project Runway sewing camps are all indoors.  No bug spray or sunscreen required.  Parents may pack a snack, if their child needs one, but that’s it.  Everything else is there already.

  • • A smaller time commitment: Since they are so close to your home and they are only 1/2 day camps, it is easier to make a commitment.  Our kids love the Camp Christmas Tree outdoor full day camp, however, it’s a 10 hour per day commitment for our kiddos.  Fine and dandy, but we like to balance it with camps that don’t require the same level of commitment.

Find {YEL!} day camps that combat summer brain drain!

  • • Summer camps
    • ° STEM based learning camps (i.e. Varsity Builders Club using LEGO® bricks, eXtreme MOBILE electroniX, Robotics Evolution, Junior Robotics) can help young
      chess, summer, summer chess camp, kids chess, summer day camp, there's still a lot of summer left

      {YEL!} Summer Chess Camps

      kiddos keep their cognitive skills sharp.  These camps challenge students to collaborate with a partner to complete a project, build a robot, etc.  and use that project to investigate engineering, electronics or robotics concepts.

    • ° Even camps that don’t sound STEM related keep cognitive skills sharp.  Project Runway and Woodworking both use math for measuring (twice) and cutting (once…if you get the reference).  And there’s nothing like that “I did it myself” feeling.
    • ° Chess is a brilliant and complex game.  This level of thinking is a great way to give your child a brain workout over the summer.  And it’s fun to play too!…WARNING! If you sign your child up for a {YEL!} Chess Camp, it’s quite possible they’ll be beating you by the end of the camp.  Be careful!
    • ° Visit our registration page at and search by zip code, school district, subject or your favorite teacher.  There are a variety of options to choose from and each one of them helps combat summer brain drain!
    • ° Visit your community education or parks and recreation website and see what options they have.  Simply Google “(your town) community education” or “(your town) parks and recreation” and you’ll find options.
    • ° Don’t have {YEL!} classes in your community?
  • • Reading
    • ° Find some kid-friendly, adventurous books.  Right now our family loves the Geronimo Stilton book series, solve your own mysteries and Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World – an accessible and inspiring telling of how Ernest Shackelton lead his team to survive a calamity in Antarctica (I read this book as a parent and loved it!).

Other community options to fill out your summer

Keep your kid active and engaged with summer camps, sports, and more, but don’t forget fun.

  • • County fairs are starting all over our blessed country.  Rides are fun, the food is usually un-healthy, but almost always tasty and since the county fair is close to home, you
    Juggler, summer fun, Bill the Juggler, Library show

    Bill the Juggler

    don’t have to commit your entire day to it.  Add in the bonus of seeing breeds of chickens you never knew existed and your kids are sure to enjoy a fun-filled, dusty day at the fair.

  • • Library shows
    • ° Check in with your local library to see what events they have.  We’ve seen the Okee Dokee Brothers, Robert the Magician, The Noise Guy and Bill the Juggler in recent years, just to name a few.  These events are always entertaining and usually come at no cost to the parents.  Usually formatted for ages 3-7, but our teenager will hang out and needs an excuse to get out of the house anyway.
  • • (My Town) Days: Northfield’s Jesse James Days, Waconia’s Nickle Dickle Day, Genola’s Bologna Days, Carver Steamboat Days…it seems each town has a two to three day event that brings everyone out to listen to music, eat some ice cream and jump in a bouncy house.  You’ll always see someone you know and can share a laugh with.

So, if you are like the mom’s I’ve spoken with and you’ve checked off most of your summer list, but realize there’s still a lot of summer left I hope these resources prove valuable to you.

Have a great summer!