Between heat, exhaustion, anxiety, computer foibles and faults, and erratic work at home schedules, there is the real stuff summer is made of. Camp. New Friends. Old Friends. Staying up late. Pool time.
Days and Mornings at Camp
Camp is an option for some families and a necessity for others based on childcare needs, work schedules etc. The children and I have flexible schedules because of the nature of my work (raising children and fitting in paying jobs here and there in between) so we do a combination of some weeks without camp and others with. Camp-free weeks are filled with days spent at the pool, in the library, in town, or at home.
In the city, one has the advantage of camps for all ages, abilities, and interests. The camps also range in price from a bargain to *gulp* remind me why I’m sending my child there again. One of our camps is $20 for a 3 hour session because it is subsidized with a grant. Other camps are $22 per hour for 1/2 day. In our neighborhood that’s about the same as paying for a babysitter per hour. If you have total flexibility you can hop from free activity to free activity around town and make up your own version of summer camp too.
The MDC pools, spray decks and water features at local playgrounds are a great free way to keep cool in the summer. (N.B. Some MDC pools charge a fee.) Town pools are another great way to spend the summer by the water in the city. Most town pools require that you be a resident, but also offer day passes or a small number of passes for out of towners. Lastly, there are plenty of private pool clubs around as well. Talk to friends and neighbors, or ask online to find out which pool is a good fit for your family.
Sometimes, you want to step out of the sun for a little bit and relax indoors. The Showcase Cinema movie theatres have a special program for children to submit a book report in exchange for a free movie.
At Showcase Cinemas every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. from July 9th – August 13th Just bring a book report* with you to the select Bookworm Wednesdays movie and that’s your price of admission!
*Children under six who accompany a participant and adults who accompany a participant receive free admittance to the Bookworm Wednesdays movie and do not need to submit a book report. No purchase necessary.
Many local playgrounds or businesses also offer free summer programs including outdoor movies. For example, The Prudential has their Family Film Festival on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. with activities and then the movie at sunset.
Go bowling. You can bowl free at select locations with the Kids Bowl Free program which allows children two games of bowling daily. Two of our favorite places to go bowling, and enjoy lunch or dinner because the bowling is good and so is the food is Sacco Bowl and Flatbread pizza in Somerville just outside Davis Square and Kings Bowling in Boston (with a new location in Lynnfield.)
Get arty. You can join some libraries for special art, science, or other activities. Most of the library activities are free. You can also head to a paint your own pottery studio such as Made by Me in Cambridge. If painting pottery is not your thing, then there are places like Art Beat in Arlington where you can do a variety of art activities. Barefoot Books is a great spot to hang out with toddlers and color or draw and listen to a story. Older children can paint pottery as well.
So, despite the lack of structure and squeezing work in here and there, I have way less to complain about than I have to celebrate. I hope you do too!