Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner, and that means kids out of school and time on their hands. Today’s parents are questioning whether to let them be kids, exploring the outdoors, playing ball, riding their bikes. Or scheduling their activities.
It would be nice to turn the clocks back 50 years and let lazy summer days roll on by with nothing planned, and research suggests that letting kids amuse themselves is good for them. Research also shows that kids lose academic steam when they don’t exercise their brains for the summer.
Too much structure means there’s no break from the end of one school year and the start of another, although there’s so much choice in camps now that your children can exercise their brains (rocket science anybody?) or their bodies (soccer, hockey, sailing, highland dancing). Structure also means your kids won’t be parked in front of a screen – TV or computer or phone — all day. An unstructured summer, on the other, allows kids to discover new things like crafts, building a tree fort, or yes playing some video games. And it gives them more opportunity to be outdoors, which is shown to improve attention and reduce potential for depression in kids.
But the reality is most families — Statistics Canada reports 77% — have both parents working. That makes it pretty hard not to structure the summer somewhat. Perhaps the answer is a combination of both – summer camps for some weeks, and other weeks idle, and accomplishing that with a combination of scheduling vacation time during the summer, and maybe working out an arrangement with friends or neighbours to share supervision.
You can find just about every camp possible in the City of Mississauga — swimming, tennis, soccer, karate, technology, some geared specifically for special needs children. Prices are very reasonable. Check the comprehensive listings here: http://www.ourkids.net/mississauga-brampton-camps.php
Very close to Streetsville, there’s robotics on Argentia Rd., French on Glen Erin Dr., theatre arts at 3020 Vanderbilt Rd. At the Mississauga Living Arts Centre itself, the camp listings include acting, architecture, drama, clay, digital. At University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, which borders Streetsville, a wide variety of programs include dance, basketball, soccer, forensics and French. BrickWorks Academy, a ten-minute drive from Streetsville towards the lake, there are camps that will excite your techno-nerd — Minecraft and LEGO robotics or city builder, Pokemon designer and animation camps, and photography.
Right in Streetsville, at 274 Queen St S, the Streetsville United Church runs very reasonably priced camps for kids in the 8 to 13-year-old range. They run all summer and cover Ceramics and clay, soccer, cooking, Lego robotics/space challenge. You can find this and other listings at https://www.creativekidsplace.ca/summer-camps-streetsville/
Keep in mind a few things before choosing the camp. Plan ahead, and take into consideration both your children’s needs/wants/skills and your budget. Here’s a handy checklist:
- Make sure the camp has proper accreditation and that safety standards are in place. Look at staff-camper ratios; the smaller that ratio the better supervision and care your children get.
- Make a list of which camps best suit your needs, from budget to children’s interests.
- Make sure the camp location isn’t so far away that morning commutes become even more hectic and pay close attention to pick up and drop off times.
- Check the reviews to hear what kids and parents from previous years have said.
- If the camp has a demo session (often in the late spring) go to it and make sure it’s the right choice for you. Talk to staff there to get a feel for the camp.