It’s an Indian summer yet again. The scorching heat is back and so are the holidays. Children can be seen more, heard more despite all the sweat and grime all around. It seems like kids really don’t mind the heat and the dust – as far as they are concerned summer is as good a time to party!
On the other hand, there’s us – the parents – scrambling around arranging activities, play dates and summer camps to keep the little energetic ones occupied. Long gone are the days when a few crayons, movie sets or books could safely sail you through summer.
Yet, as one has come to understand over the years, there is some point to un-planning the summer as much as planning it out. Sure, summer camp seats need to be booked much in advance, because there are limited ‘spots’ – and you wouldn’t be caught dead sending your kid to a camp which had some ‘exclusivity’, isn’t it? Well, so I thought too. Then came years and years worth of paper craft in various shapes and sizes – tissue boxes, door hangings and pencil holders.
All of which would dutifully gather dust before being relegated to the dust bin in a few months. And it took me that many years to realise that one summer camp was as good as any other one in generating colourful and creative kiddie junk. Sure it kept the kidlet occupied for a few hours everyday – but it also started occupying nooks and crannies of my home!
This year, I finally decided to do away with the artsy crafty summer camp business once and for all. I hunted around, and sure enough there were camps on many more interesting things than those based on fevicol and coloured paper! Agreed, that most of these are targeted towards the +5 age group (and thankfully kidlet has reached that stage).
There are camps which teach children cooking, acting, dancing and even detecting! There are science camps and explorer camps – where kids really get to go out and get their hands dirty. There are creative writing camps – some of these sound like so much fun that I rue I myself am not eligible for them!
This year I enrolled kidlet in two camps. And thankfully she has come back with not much more paraphernalia than a few books and a load of experience and some new friends. She spends most of the days devising her own stuff. Then on some days we go about town – or for short trips out of it.
Yesterday, we went for a musical party for Kids and had a fabulous time shouting and screaming and clapping along with them. On other days, we pull out birthday party return gifts – safely stored just for occasions like these – mostly board games or DIY kits – these entertain us on the lazy afternoons when getting out of the air conditioning does not feel like an option.
So far, it has been quite a lot of relaxed fun. And I have not (yet) felt the increased stress that summers typically bring with them. What with the domestic help taking off for the entire duration and us having been down with a viral infection, it seems all the more surprising that the days are progressing as smoothly as they are. I had quite literally forgotten the joys of under scheduling before this summer. And it is a skill that I am glad to be re-learning.
What are you doing this summer? How are you ensuring that your child is occupied and happy and yet you are not stressed and sweaty while you are at it?
Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai who also manages a parenting website : thechildrensdaily.net . With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. You can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom , nidhibruce.com