Lack of programming has parents thinking creatively

The pandemic has brought many challenges to parents. First, they had to grapple with helping their children adjust to distance learning. Now, they must juggle work and occupy their children without the help of the usual summer programming.

It’s easy to turn on the television or resort to iPads or phones, but many parents in the RCP area have turned to the outdoors for inspiration.

Aimee Rose Guilbault plans to go camping, while Angela Ibbotson says rollerskating and skateboarding appeal to her family. 

Maggie Glasgow says, “Once things clear up and things are less busy at work, [I’m] hoping to take them hiking in and out of the city. We’re hoping to hang out at the river a lot this summer, too (skipping rocks and splashing around are big hits with my two).”

Jana Hargarten, on the other hand, says her family enjoys biking. “Three to four bike trips per day and we’re discovering new bike trails all the time.”

Exploring the river valley is another way to occupy youth. Rachael Robertson says, “My kids love going down there. Also soccer, baseball, camping trips, bike rides, parks, and spray parks.”

Qi Creative, an organization that works with special needs children and their families, shares some excellent advice. According to the webpage, online and day camps are an option. “Some camps are offering daytime programs, according to governmental guidelines, but places are limited, and strict physical distancing is in place.”  

The organization advises enrolling children in online classes or looking into the resources of Backyard Camp, a free email newsletter with plenty of suggestions for activities depending on age. Other suggested activities include going on a picnic, organizing a drive-in movie, gardening, or temporarily cutting kids off from electronics. 

“Ban all electronic devices for a few days and let the kids climb trees, paddle in streams, read, write, laugh, dance, and play. Remember, it is okay for them to be bored, boredom is the first step on the road to creativity. So much pressure is put upon parents nowadays to fill each moment of the child’s day with structured activities, but a little old-fashioned fun (and boredom) didn’t do our ancestors any harm!” 

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I did much of the same thing when I was growing up on a farm. My siblings and I didn’t have extracurricular activities during the summer. Besides the responsibilities of my chores, I was left to my own devices when it came to occupying my days. There was plenty of fun to be found on a farm playing with my cousins and brothers. 

Perhaps the remainder of the summer can be an opportunity for children and youth to discover different ways to entertain themselves. After all, change can be good.

Featured Image: There are still plenty of things for kids to do this summer. | Pixabay