As of 2:00 p.m. this past Tuesday, my kids are out of school for the summer. Their elation is quite infectious, I must admit. Now the question comes: What will we do?
In previous years we’ve sent them to camp. The enjoy it immensely and we’re happy to be able to provide that for them. We’ve also done extra dance lessons, taken part in the local recreation department programs and more. But, this summer we’re doing things differently. This year, we’re going to “Camp Caolo.”
Our motivations are twofold. The first is financial. Camp is expensive. So much so that we don’t want to pay for it this year. But our main motivation is time.
My son is eight years old and my daughter is 10. It won’t be long before they don’t want to spend their summers with old mom and dad. Friends, both casual and romantic, will be on our doorstep soon enough. Until then, we want to be totally selfish. We want time with our kids. If this is going to be successful, we’ve got to answer one major question consistently and satisfactorily: “What is there to do?”
Enter the Chart.
The Camp Caolo Chart consists of six sections:
- Weekly chores. Yes, chores. I know this is supposed to be fun but everyone has to help out. You’ll notice my wife and I have assignments on there, too.
- Daily chores. My son’s list includes feeding the dog, clearing the dishes from the table, and picking up his stuff. My daughter must walk the dog, clear her dishes, and do some reading.
- The summer rules. These are pretty basic. “Be nice to everyone or be alone in your room.” “Respect others, their sleep and their stuff.” They love to wake up at 6:00 a.m. and then attempt to have a conversation with my unconscious body. Not fun. “No fun until chores are done.” My wife is not kidding about that one.
- A calendar of events.
- The Summer Wish List. We all took sticky notes and wrote down a few things we’d like to do, like visit Boston, establish a family game night, camp out in the back yard, have a movie night, swim in the lake, take a fishing tip, go mini golfing. More can be added at any time by anyone.
- We did it! As we complete the fun activities, the sticky note is moved to the “We Did It!” section. At the end of the summer, we’ll have a nice record of all the awesome things we’ve done.
That’s pretty cool, but there’s more. My favorite thing is The Boredom Jar. My clever wife has printed many wonderful answers to “What can I do?” onto thin strips of paper.
These will be glued onto tongue depressors and stuck inside a mason jar (there are 40 options in total). Now, when we’re asked “What can I do?” we can invite the kids to pull a stick from The Boredom Jar.
Finally, we took the kids to a craft store last week and let them select a journal/scrapbook. They’ll be adding photos, souvenirs, writings, drawings, etc. to them as our summer progresses.
This is going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it. Adding items to the wish list is great and gives all of us goals for the summer. Plus, The Boredom Jar should be a real boost to the kids’ fun and our sanity. Here’s to a successful Camp Caolo.